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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    430

    Question 1.85 acres?

    DH and I are currently renting (and boarding) and were casually looking through house listings for sale online today and came across a house with a 2 stall shed row barn with separate small storage shed on 1.85 acres. Pictures look cute, but not informative enough (and of course there was an open house earlier today but we didn't find the listing until later!). For those who have horses at home- is 1.85 acres big enough? How do you manage it in terms of riding, turn-out, manure, etc.?

    If I were going to bring my horse home, I would need to have a ring big enough for flat work and at least some jumping (doesn't have to be a big course, but would like to fit at least 4-5 smallish fences). It looks like the land is partially clear but not fully- and I've read all the threads about how much of a nightmare clearing land is, so depending on that task I may just forget this idea all together.

    Thoughts from those who have a horse or 2 on small acreage? In a perfect world, I would be buying 10 acres but 10 acres anywhere near our current location would require an additional '0' to our annual income. And, I would be getting my horse a buddy (pony or mini maybe) so he would not be alone (I know some can be alone but my horse would not be happy at all- too social). TIA!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    Is the total property 1.85 acres? If so, there will be no "turnout", other than a small paddock attached to the stall. Or not. Your riding area, if any, will be small.

    1.85 acres with a house and a shed and not fully cleared - no way.

    If that was my only option, I'd want trails nearby, or be able to trailer on a very regular basis somewhere with a real riding area.

    You WILL be feeding hay year-round. Any grazing will be on a 1-2 hour/day basis, tops, that's it, or there won't be any in a few short weeks.

    You'd be so much better off if you could even find 4-5 acres. If the grass is good, and you manage things well with rotations, you can, technically, provide grazing for at least the Spring (maybe later Spring for you) to Fall-ish months. Even at that "large" an acreage, your horses would need to spend the Winter in a dry lot, or you won't have any grass come Spring.
    ______________________________
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2012
    Posts
    876

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    I don't think you could do it very well if you turned your horse out, unless you want a mud pit. Even another acre or two would make A HUGE difference.
    I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
    Posts
    7,846

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    Agree with what the others have said. 1.85 acres is too small. You need to be looking in the 5 acre range.
    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    430

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    Thanks for the replies so far. I understand what everyone has said and 4-5 acres would be incredible, but in this area it is hard to come by and way out of our budget. We're going to go look at the property, hopefully this week and see what it looks like in person. One thing that will be interesting is that it is currently raining quite heavy so if we can get there tomorrow, I can see how it does handling drainage. Please keep the info coming, I am listening!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2011
    Posts
    1,485

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    No way you will keep any grass pasture unless you do limited turnout on it. Plan on making some all weather paddocks with some sort of crushed stone as footing, or you will be knee deep in mud.

    Yes, it is doable, but plan on feeding just about 100% hay.

    Paddock Paradise would be a good resource also. Having a track type setup would make the area "larger" for the horses.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2012
    Posts
    54

    Default

    OP,

    I don't know if the acreage you are stating includes the house as well, or just the land that you would be having your horse in/on/around. I am actually looking for a house right now with land to be able to have my horse at home. Like you, I am looking at potentially purchasing a second horse in future to keep my buddy company.

    I highly suggest you look up your city and county ordinances. I have found that many cities and/or counties vary in regulations of land needed for livestock. For instance, one county states fence line must be 100 feet from road and neighboring property lines. Another county is much more lenient. Most of the counties where I live require at least 2 acres for a horse and then 1 acre per horse after. One county only required 1.5 acre and 1 acre per horse after. I would just get informed about the ordinances so you don't buy a house and then find out that it's not enough land. Because that would be devastating.

    I was always told the golden rule of buy "more land than you think you need." I am looking right now and believe me, it's hard, especially when you are on a budget. Drive around and see if anyone else around the area has horses, and if so, what size are their pastures? Is there an arena close by (if you have a trailer) you could ride/trailer your horse to?

    Good luck to you!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    430

    Default

    I forgot to mention- yes, I realize any pasture on this amount would be nearly non-existent. I'm OK with that- plenty of horses do fine living without pasture. Not ideal, but do-able. He gets hay year-round where he is now anyways, so that's not an issue. Mud would be a concern, so I'll be sure to look at what the footing is. From the picture, it looks sandy but I could be wrong.

    ETA- It's come up a couple times- the entire property is 1.85 acres including the house, barn, etc.
    Last edited by She's Pure Gold; Apr. 22, 2012 at 08:41 PM. Reason: clarification



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    1,300

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    That should be enough for paddocks for turnout and a small ring for 2-3 horses. Where I grew up we had 1 acre on which my dad built a small barn and a corral that I used as an arena for a couple of horses. We never had grass growing and didn't really expect to. It's nice if you can easily get to trails or a community arena. Good luck!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2003
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    3,493

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    Just bought my house on a 1.05 acre lot. House is very close to the road and we cleared the back and just built a 4 stall barn with shedrow barn on the side. I have a decent size ring and two 50' x 75' paddocks attached to the stalls. Friend me on FB and I will show you my set up. on Long Island, you're lucky to find 1 acre and most places are zoned for horse if you have a minimum of 1/2 acre.
    Kristen

    Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
    http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2012
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,438

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    Yes, doable but not with the ring. We are on about that-small house surrounded by a U shaped pasture-grass in front and dirt in back. And a big loafing shed (36 x 12) and a massive tarped stack of 20 tons of hay. And Mt Manure-which we give away each spring (not all but a lot). Neighbors have an arena and we can do a short (45 min) trail ride, otherwise we have to haul. The front pasture takes management (so does the dirt-both manure removal and discing) but they get several hours turn out April-Nov/Dec and seem to love it. It does take work but love having horses at HOME (yay! no boarding!!). Actually the whole property is pretty efficiently designed for horses. And we still have room for a small guest house, a sweat lodge and tool shed! We could have built a bigger barn with stalls but wanted one up ASAP and we put it up ourselves in about three weeks.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2011
    Location
    Waaaaay back Slaughter Holler
    Posts
    2,231

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    I live near Lancaster County, PA and am an equine specialist, who works with a lot of Amish, some who keep horses on very small acreage. Some are on as small as one acre lots. It can be done, but you have to make the most of your space.

    I would check with your local municipality to see what you are zoned to have. Don't assume that just because the shedrow is there that it is legal. More than one person has bought a property assuming it was legal to have horses because them was a barn or shed and found out otherwise!

    Be prepared to feed hay year round and that if you are to have turnout, it won't be for grazing or nutritional supplementation. Use stone dust to avoid mud and have an active plan for manure management, whether it be a dumpster to have it removed, composting, or another alternative. Have a fence that is not susceptable to chewing. Many horses will start to chew out of boredom or lack of fiber in their diet and will sometimes develop other vices as well.

    Plan to use your space wisely and efficiently. You'll need to have an area for hay storage, even if it is a stall on your shedrow.

    It can be done successfully but takes planning and work. I've had my own horses at home for 15 years after decades of boarding and would NEVER go back to boarding, even with all the work involved.

    Huge amounts of acreage for "pasture" are nice but not necessary. "Turnout" is more important to me- for exercise, stimulation, and the horse's health- both mentally and phsyically.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2005
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    best place so far
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    Go to South Florida (Wellington/ Loxahatchee) and tons of folks have "micro" farms! When I lived in Loxahatchee, Fl I had 1.86 acres and three horses. It is totally doable but you need good layout design. I had no "yard" as everything was taken up by paddocks and a riding arena. That was fine by me...no mowing!!

    It was a little different in Fl as they have sand, not dirt, so no mud and grass was a plenty (even on that small of acreage with three horses that always had acess to their paddock/ pastures). Also, my arena was leveled/ graded and then I grew turf grass so it served double duty for riding and turn out. Since it was only me riding I didn't have to worry about too much wear.

    My property was pretty much a rectangle with my house in the middle. The barn was directly west of the house with two attached paddocks/ pastures. The back of the house was the arena. The front & east of the house was another "L" shaped paddock.

    I must say it was perfect for me. Super easy to manage and take care of. We had manure pick up but mostly my neighbors took it for their gardens/ flowers. I kept a composting pile at the end of my driveway that they could come help themselves. My stalls all opened up directly to the paddocks so super easy to bring horses in/out. I was able to "trail ride" along the canals...which I did every once in a while but the alligators freaked me out.

    Where I live now in NC I have 12 acres (about 1/3 wooded). However, my horses live in a run-in with ~1 acre paddock that then opens up to larger grass pastures. I have done some serious gravel/ stone dust/ geotextile of the paddock areas to keep them mud free and it has worked well. If I didn't have the grass pastures the horses would be just fine...I would just have to feed more hay.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2010
    Posts
    2,369

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    I think you could do just fine with an acreage that size. However keep a few things in mind:

    Feeding hay year round-it will be much more expensive than letting your horses graze. Depending on the year, hay prices will vary, so you always need to have wiggle room in your budget. Hay in my area will range from $3-$12 for roughly the same size/quality bale depending on the year.
    ETA: let me clarify, good quality, established, "low maintenance" pasture is cheaper than feeding hay year round. If you seed/fertilize every year, hay might be cheaper.

    Mud-mud can actually be handled pretty easily! Have 1 or two paddocks with footing in them to turn out on during crappy weather/mud season. Bonus points if you add shelters, then your horses can live out part of the year which means reduced bedding costs. Actually if you wanted to get creative, you could probably attach your arena to these paddocks, to let your horses out in the arena to roam, but keep most of the mess from hay in the paddock area. It would mean picking the arena and dragging more often though.

    Small mesh hay nets and toys like the amazing graze (I think that is what its called) will be your friend on a small property like this. But yes, it most definitely can be done.
    Last edited by SAcres; Apr. 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM.
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    Whether haying year round is more than grazing I guess depends on the land and hay prices. Here, I can feed a 1000lb round bale a week for $45 and that feeds 4 horses (Winter). For the roughly 20 bales I go through, that's $900.

    I spend more than that on yearly over-seeding and fertilizing, and this past year I spent a lot more than that because I had someone no-till drill at $30/acre.

    However, that's pretty darn cheap hay, roughly $.04/lb, and I realize that's not always the case.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    12,902

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    That size wouldn't bother me for a horse or two. What is important is where on the property is the house? Can you create paddocks around it or will you be over the septic tank/lateral lines- or is the property on city water/sewer? Your riding ring could double as a larger turn out area and you might be able to create a grass paddock or two to use selectively. Sounds like you would need to have a manure management plan- a good composting system. Limestone screenings for sacrifice paddocks off the stalls make clean up a cinch!

    For sure examine how much more clearing of the land would be needed to make the property usable for you. It might mean removing a tree or two or something much more pricey, especially if you have to have it graded and leveled.

    Good luck!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2012
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    876

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    Quote Originally Posted by cutter99 View Post

    I would check with your local municipality to see what you are zoned to have. Don't assume that just because the shedrow is there that it is legal. More than one person has bought a property assuming it was legal to have horses because them was a barn or shed and found out otherwise!
    .
    Another very good point.

    In a neighboring town, they go by lbs/acre. you are allowed 500 lbs per acre. On the property you are considering.. you wouldn't be able to even have a 1000 lb horse, much less your horse and a pony.. so you really want to double check that.
    I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2001
    Location
    West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
    Posts
    15,934

    Cool

    In my subdivision, we're allowed one horse per acre. We have 1.99 acres, and IMO, two horses is pushing it - a lot. Can it be done? Yes. With an incredibly economical layout and lots of room for "sacrifice" areas, but no riding arena.

    Also, I've seen the micro-farms in Wellington that bluehof refers to. You couldn't pay me to keep horses like that. Of course, the farm size in Grand Prix Village and Appaloosa Trail is dictated by the land prices, which are astronomical, so it would follow that the farms are miniscule. Plus, during season, those folks that rent out stalls (yes, even tiny properties can have 10+ stall barns on them ) from property owners have the option of renting turnout paddocks and having stalls onsite at the showgrounds, just a short hack away. It's worth it, if you've a string that you don't want to keep in 10 x 10 tent stalls for three months, but for a permanent horsekeeping arrangement? As I said, you couldn't pay me enough to keep horses like that.

    JME.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,287

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    I personally wouldn't want to do it, but I think it's completely possible for you to make it work. Many homes are built on a 1/4 acre or less, so let's say the house and barn(s) occupy 1/2 acre. That leaves you with 1.36 acres, or about 59,000 square feet. If you have a 100X200 riding ring (generous, I know... but you can dream) that would subtract 20,000 square feet leaving you with 39,000 square feet (or a little less than an acre) for driveways, paddocks, etc.

    I bought a home with only 1 acre and I can still picture the layout and how easy it would have been to make it work for 1 horse. The backyard neighbors (with 14 acres) had horses and there were miles of trails right across the street. It was perfect! Until I found out the zoning required 1.1 acres per horse. WOW was I surprised, I had never heard of 1.1 acres per horse being a standard... everywhere around that town it was 1.0 acres per horse. I was bummed but let my fail be a lesson in checking zoning laws prior to purchasing!!!

    Oh, and I agree on the hay vs. pasture. I'm not sure I save a lot of money by having pasture. I love that the horses can graze all day and it seems so idyllic, but with mowing, harrowing, weed control, etc. I'm not sure hay isn't cheaper!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2001
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    West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldpony66 View Post
    Oh, and I agree on the hay vs. pasture. I'm not sure I save a lot of money by having pasture. I love that the horses can graze all day and it seems so idyllic, but with mowing, harrowing, weed control, etc. I'm not sure hay isn't cheaper!
    Hay is definitely cheaper, especially on the size acreage we're discussing here. There's no way you can have enough grass on a tiny acreage to support even one horse, so you'll have to buy hay anyway. But if you try to have pasture and feed hay, you're paying big money to maintain a miniscule amount of grass that must be supplemented for adequate roughage, and have the same related expenses (seed, fertilizer, fencing, etc, etc) that you'd have with a bigger piece of land.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



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