My situation is that I will only be at my current job for a max of 2.5 years, then my SO & I plan to find jobs together (he's done with a residency at the same time). So I don't want to buy property, knowing that it is VERY likely I won't be staying in this area. However, as gathered by other recent threads, boarding horses sucks. I have 3 at 2 different barns and I'd like to bring them all "home". So I'm weighing the options of leasing horse property in the meantime. Nothing big, essentially "backyard" care.
I have a lot of other factors to consider that aren't horse-related, but I'm just curious as to experiences of others and whether I should even bother looking into it further, or if finding a decent place will be next to impossible and fraught with stress, like finding an adequate boarding barn. I'm ok with my set-up at this moment, and could potentially handle it for another few years. But I'd really like all my boys home with me.
And where would I even begin looking for places?
Depending on where you are located it could be a long hard search (mine took me almost a decade and I actually started when my former equestrian center was first listed for sale) or a walk in the park. It sure seems more difficult to find horse properties (small farms) to lease on the west coast, I say that because I see classifieds in the breed and discipline newspapers for east coast equestrian facilities a lot more than out onthe west coast. Don't know about Southwest, maybe it's better in Nev, Utah, NM, Ariz.
Also: you aren't likely on the West coast near any significant employment centers to find anything that has an arena, covered or not. Everything is just so expensive and so much acreages have gone under the developers' bulldozers.
My suggestion is to network,network, network. Not only should you be in constant touch with professional property management companies (none I've found yet that have a clue about horses or horsekeeping so you will need to give their learning curve many boosts) stating exactly in so many words what you are looking for and then be prepared to compromise on those things you can or are willing to change likely at your own expense. Even realtors who have horses (more of those out there than prop mgrs) may know of someone who has wanted to sell but might agree to long-term lease to be able to keep their property until the recession is over (if ever....). Be prepared for hefty deposits and sometimes extensive demands on you as prospective tenant such as for comprehensive insurance and maintenance issues. Third networking suggestion is to post ads, paid if necessary, in local equestrian club newsletters or e-newsletters - that way the word gets around, somebody might know somebody who would know of a place. Flyers on BBs at feed stores, large animal vet clinics, tack shops, can be helpful.
I had few non-negotiables and those were: NO barbed wire ANYWHERE, my small senior dog is an in-the-house dog (and I managed that with $$ upfront), and-important if you're dealing directly with the owner-a landlord who wasn't "chemically entertaining" him/herself. My landlord actually found me because I had put an ad in our Church's newsletter, of all things (great landlord, he even agreed to redo the barn wiring and put it in conduit).
I have leased my farm for 10 years now and despite having to haul out for any "real" riding (other than moseying around the 26 acres riding bareback, that is) I know how very lucky I am to have this rare dry (mostly) level well-fenced property with a lovely old restored barn. I do worry that this very desirable property will end up on the market when the recession is over and property values climb again, and I'll be back to square one. Yikes!
Surrealism: once an art form. Now indistinguishable from daily life. (Forgot who said that.)
I'm in the Chicago area. So I have a feeling it will be a long and difficult search, as Theresanappfurthat said. I work downtown, so even from the far west suburbs it's a 1.5 hour commute. That's what I'm trying to figure out a balance to; commuting 2+ hours each way, & keep my horses at home, or a lesser commute and just suck it up for a few years. So if it's going to be a huge PITA to find a place, then that will probably nix the idea for me.
With your communte, your time with the horses may not be riding at all if you are the main caretaker. By the time you get to the pasture, you will have time to feed, hay water and go back home, get up, go to work...
Maybe you can share a pasture with another person and co-op the care. The land in Chicago's suburbs is expensive so finding affordable pasture will be harder but not impossible. Run an ad on Craigslist, put up ads in feed stores, find local hay suppliers and ask them. Contact local equine vets, farriers, just let everyone know what you are interested in. Good luck and enjoy your horses!