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Value to adding a ring

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  • Value to adding a ring

    I'm considering (read that as "want desperately to") put a regulation size dressage ring on my farm. There are two options:
    - Very close to the house, requiring minimal grading/clearing. Downside to this location is that the ring will essentially eat up all of the "back yard" of the house.
    - Down a hill, close to the pasture. This area is wooded right now, and would require significant clearing of trees, etc. It is also near a creek that I fear could make it buggy in the summer.

    The house is now separate from the horses, due to location and terrain, so a non-horse person could potentially find the house appealing. Adding a ring by the house would definitely change the property to appeal primarily to horse owners.

    So, my question is -- as a potential buyer of the farm, would you find a ring close to the house to be a plus or a minus?

  • #2
    As an equestrian buyer, I'd prefer the ring in sight of the house and wouldn't mind it close.
    As a regular buyer, I'd be aghasted that the backyard was a big oval of dirty sand.
    As a former Realtor, you're in a bit of a sticky wicket.
    If you're looking towards resale value, there are many more non-horse buyers out there than horse farm shoppers.
    Having a ring period helps horse folks make a decision to buy, especially if it's not their first horse property and they know the cost of footing. (ouch) Having it away from the house it's still a bonus having one. Lights make it an even bigger bonus because many horse folks work full time and want to ride during the week after work.
    However, the cost of clearing can be high if you're not able to do it yourself. There's dropping the trees, branching them, chipping the branches, cutting up or dragging off the logs. Then destumping, dumping the stumps and grading, grading, grading so you don't have stump holes and to get the right grade. Possibly drainage to be added. Then sub base, base and footing. So the location of the ring in the woods can be a lot higher than many people would guess.

    So it's either spend a small fortune for the ring in the woods, still have a ring for yourself and not lower property value to non-horse buyers while still keeping horse buyers happy for a ring.

    Or put the ring in the backyard and possibly upset the non-horsie buyers when you sell. Of course you coould always landscape the heck around the ring to dress it up since it'll be so visible.

    Is resale going to happen anytime soon? As in the next 5 years or so?
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!


    • #3
      Personally I would not want the ring near the house.

      Edited to add: I think if you don't plan on moving soon you should do what you'd want and can afford. If you're on the fence and it doesn't really matter either way to you I stand by I wouldn't want it near the house.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks to both of you -- and MistyBlue, a realtor's opinion is great to have! I think you've confirmed what I was feeling. I don't have any plans to sell, but am trying to make the best long term decision, as well as make sure that if something unexpected came along and I had to sell, I hadn't done something that would make that a disaster.

        The close to the house option would have been perpendicular to the pool, and I planned to put a pavilion/outdoor room between the two to mask the view of the ring and provide a viewing area. But, then I measured and saw how long the ring would be relative to the pool/house and it just seemed monstrous.

        I can do *some* of the clearing, but would definitely need to hire help to really get it cleared out. Your point about all the things that need to happen is definitely on target.

        So...... I think I know the right answer, but this may need to wait until I sell a few horses to fund the ring! Thanks again!


        • #5
          Arena by pool? I will move in. I can teach pool side. Hey, and maybe hubby will actually watch me ride!

          To non horse riders You could market it as a beach...or giant sandbox for the kids!

          of course I would be worried about dust from arena settling in pool...and would want arena well fenced off so horsey and I don't go for a swim...

          But realisticly, I would want the arena away from the house if I was property shopping.
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


          • #6
            I buy every house with resale in mind. It's so ingrained in me after 12 houses that I can't over-personalize anything. That said, a horse property is a whole other thing, because it's already cut your prospective buyer pool down since few people will ever see the value in your killer barn or well thought out fence placement.

            I think an arena next to the pool would be a big negative for most people, especially if you get much wind blowing toward your house and pool. Dust and dirt everywhere, and it will get everywhere, believe me. Even horse people might see the potential for dirt/sand blowing problems and look elsewhere.


            • #7
              Another realtor weighing in here. There's enough single-family home inventory out there for the foreseeable future that NO ONE is going to buy a "possible" horse farm unless they have horses or plans for a hobby farm. Adding a ring is a benefit unless you are hacking distance to a trail system. Close to the house IS preferable so that the rider can be seen from the house...picture falling off and your SO goes into the kitchen for a snack while watching the football game and glances out to see you down. Can't get that in the woods!


              • #8
                My facetious comment would be: You could market the ring as a zen rock garden with a few well-placed additions once you decide to sell. (and tout the benefit to not having all that lawn to keep mowed!)

                My more constructive comment: I'd suggest before you firmly decide one way or another to price out how much it would cost you to build the ring near the house, how much it would cost you to build it down in the woods (with all the clearing/grading/etc that needs to be done) and, if possible, have a chat with a realtor or three (or house appraiser) on their opinion about how much the house's value would change with a riding ring close to the house. If that lowered value, plus the cost of putting in the ring near the house is lower than the cost of putting in the ring down in the woods, I'd seriously consider doing it near the house. If higher, then do it down in the woods. (so to speak)
                The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                • #9
                  You said the ring site in the woods is down a hill. Have you thought about what the drainage is like? Sorry, it IS basic, but I once put a run-in at the base of a hill and will NEVER forget that lesson!!
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                  • #10
                    Could you do a nice grass ring by the house? Looks just like a lawn when you pull up the dressage boundaries, right?
                    The journey is the destination.


                    • #11
                      Oooh, good point! Our barn is down a hill and the drainage kind of sucks for some of the stalls when we really get a downpour (the idea is getting enough stone dust to raise the level of the barn's floor by several inches, then put mats on top).
                      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                      • #12
                        If you put the arena near the house, you will want to put a little extra into a watering system or fancier footing, or you will have a dust problem. Bad enough next to the house, but next to the pool?

                        Mine is fairly close to my house, and for a host of reasons it doesn't matter that much, but when it is dry, the car, truck and house windows do take a dustbath.
                        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                        Spay and neuter. Please.


                        • #13
                          Oh wait, ring after the pool? There ya go...beachside! Or if it's a horsie buyer...the pool becomes a liverpool.

                          I also like a ring within view of the house in case you do an unplanned lawn dart impression. Safety. But then there's ring dust kicking up onto windows and into the pool.

                          OP, where do you live? Desirability for resale depends a lot on your location. Where I live in CT we have tons of single family homes in inventory. Problem is we don't have many multi-acreage single family homes and CT is known for our "gentleman's farm" buyers. The Currier and Ives, Martha Stewart, B&B, Better Homes and Massive Gardens, Potential Vineyard buyers who see acreage as views and
                          "I own an estate" and a barn as an artist studio or guest house. So there are still more buyers for homes on acreage that don't have horses than that do. And we're a petty horse-heavy state. It's the whole Connecticut mentality though. We're weird. Other states probably aren't as weird.

                          I buy every house with resale in mind. It's so ingrained in me after 12 houses that I can't over-personalize anything. That said, a horse property is a whole other thing, because it's already cut your prospective buyer pool down since few people will ever see the value in your killer barn or well thought out fence placement.
                          I do the same thing. Just a year ago I started talking myself out of it a bit and started personalizing this home more than past homes. Still keeping resale value in mind even though I keep telling hubby I plan on being buried out back, LOL!

                          OP, if you're not planning on selling anytime in the near-ish future...then do what works best for your budget and convenience. Because 10-15-20 years down the road if you have to sell and want to broaden your buyer pool there are ways to cover a sand arena if it becomes necessary. Plus you never know what the market will be like that far down the road and it could be booming in your area then and the ring won't matter much. The years of use you get out of your ring will have justified the cost financially.
                          And I can understand the needing to sell horses to fund the ring. Going through that right now. I keep saying, "If I sold my two then that would cover one helluva nice ring!" But then I wouldn't have any horses to ride in the ring, LOL!
                          You jump in the saddle,
                          Hold onto the bridle!
                          Jump in the line!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CHT View Post
                            Arena by pool?
                            I have my arenas by our pool which is just to the side of our house with the arenas spanning the whole length beyond the back yard, pool and beyond. My house is built on a hill so the back yard slopes down to the "valley" where the arenas are. There are hills beyond the arenas which are pasture fields and hay fields which rise up to the forest on the horizon. My house has an elevated deck off the back which sits high so you can be out there with a glass of wine, watching the riders play around with their horses. I like it and wouldn't have it any other way. I like to be able to make sure everyone is okay and if they need any help or advice I don't have to go down there, I can still sit on my deck with my glass of wine giving out advice.

                            To be honest, a regular non-horse person can easily get rid of sand rings if they don't want them so if I was you I build for myself, not for the future buyer of your property.


                            • #15
                              And hey, if you need to get rid of the sand ring in the future...just sell the footing to someone with a dump truck (people will buy ring footing that's already been laid down. Ask me how i know. ) and use the funds to lay sod down. You've already got a nicely flat area which will appeal to people who like a nice lawn, if nothing else. And hey, already existing fencing of some sort (presumably) so it wouldn't be too expensive to close it in a bit more and make it dog-fencing. (I'd LOVE to have a yard I could turn my dog loose in)
                              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                              • #16
                                FWIW, two houses in our subdivision were up for sale. One for $550k had a nice 3 acre pasture and a detatched garage that could be turned into a 3 stall barn.
                                The other was $650K, 4 stall barn run in shed fenced and cross fenced with ring and inground pool.

                                Which took a year longer to sell?
                                I wasn't always a Smurf
                                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                                • #17
                                  Go backyard. I just built one down in the pasture. It takes an eighth of a mile of hose (at least) to water it. Let's just stop at 'the water pressure sucks'.
                                  "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


                                  • Original Poster

                                    interesting comments!

                                    I'm still laughing at the beach comments -- when I originally bought the propety I told the realtor I wanted acreage on the water. She had to stop choking from laughing at me and told me that I could only afford one or the other. Guess I got my way!!!

                                    Someone asked where I was located -- I'm south of Annapolis, MD, a bit further south than Davidsonville, which for those who know the area, is the horsiest area in Eastern Maryland. Lots of wonderful old family farms that are under conservation easements, so lots (relatively) of open land and a concentration of horse properties. Not nearly so fancy as Connecticut or Middleburg horse country, but fairly horsey. Lots of folks in this area can hack to trails, but alas, I cannot, so I'm having to trailer to rings in the area to ride. Makes every ride an extra 40 minutes or so, which is tough after a long work day.

                                    And someone mentioned converting the arena by the house to a dog yard if someone didn't want the ring -- coincidentally, its a dog yard that I want to convert to a ring!

                                    I have been noodling this forever, and I cannot believe I didn't think about drainage INTO the ring from the hill. Great point and I'm going to have to figure that one out. There is a very steep drop on two sides of the proposed wooded ring area -- Since its in the woods, I'm never snooping around out there after a rain, so I don't know how that drains.

                                    Cloverbarley, your set up sounds perfect, and somewhat similar, even to the point of shouting advice while drinking wine! (I'm really good at that, but with the wine, suspect the advice isn't so good)

                                    You guys have given great advice (drainage, dust, watering, lights, resale value, consult with a realtor, etc., etc.) and it seems you're split on whether close to the house is good or bad. Exactly what I needed from you all -- back to the noodling of the issue, with new questions to answer -- THANK YOU SO MUCH.


                                    • #19
                                      Several more thoughts to add into the mix:

                                      As a H/J person, I have no use for a dressage ring. It is too small for anything I want to do -- a waste of space to anyone but a dressage rider.

                                      If you want a dressage ring, I would make sure you put it in a place which has room to be turned into a jump ring. The minimum size for a jump ring is 125' x 175'. Ideally, you want more.

                                      Perhaps the land down the hill has the extra room? If so I would vote for that location.

                                      You do not say where you are from, but if you have any use for a grass dressage ring, I would go that way. If you put it next to the pool, it will make a great grass tennis court for some of your potential buyers.

                                      PS: I have put in several rings and have found that, if you want to do a ring which will truly make you happy, you are talking $35,000 - $50,000. Trying to do it for any less means you will be compromising on some important things.

                                      Then think if it will increase your farms property value by that much
                                      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                      Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by The Centaurian View Post
                                        Could you do a nice grass ring by the house? Looks just like a lawn when you pull up the dressage boundaries, right?

                                        All you need is some PVC pipe to mark corners and some letters on sticks and you're in business.

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