Finding that perfect horse farm you’ve always wanted can seem a little overwhelming. With countless aspects to consider, from the type of fencing to the kind of weather an area receives, where do you start?
Begin your search with a list of all the features you would like your dream property to include. Everything from the size of your barn to the amount of trees you want on your property. By determining the details you would like to have, this gives you a starting point on where to look.
Location and Property Size
Location is one of the most important aspects to consider because where your farm is situated can affect everything. Tour different areas first in order to see the types of rural activities going on and to also get a sense of what living there would be like. It is very important to learn what the area has to offer not only your property but your animals as well. Source out where the local veterinary clinics are, feed stores, and tack shops, are they close enough to your prospective property or will you have to drive a great distance to get supplies.
Some other factors to consider in location are: how the property is zoned, where the property lines are and what are the setbacks from the neighbours. If you are contemplating building any new structures or fencing these are very important factors. The local township office should be able to help you with these questions.
When it comes to property size, bigger is not necessarily always better. In fact, many horses can be kept on land as small as an acre or two. However, the smaller the acreage the more you must maintain and manage it in order to prevent a major mud and manure mess. It is recommended to have at least one acre per horse to provide them with the most nutrients and appropriate paddocks. How many horses you would like to keep on your property will be a big deciding factor on the size of farm you should be purchasing.
Soils, Water and Vegetation
When hunting for a new horse property, a key aspect you should be looking for is good natural features. Soil type is critical however is mostly overlooked. Being a horse farm owner, you want to provide your animals with a quality paddock with rich grass that will continuously grow for them to graze. Even though you are not growing crops, grass is just as important for your equine friends. Loamy and organic soils are best for pasture growth and managing your horses. Having the appropriate soil in the right places can make maintaining your horses and paddocks significantly easier in the long run.
Low lying areas that could cause pooling for rain water can be managed with soil stabilization products. Look at any area that you think will have high traffic, gates, barn doors, etc. and put together a plan to manage these issues should they arise.
Do the paddocks have an outdoor water source, or is there room to put one in? Horses need to have constant access to good clean water so thinking about how to you will water them both outside and inside the barn is something to keep in mind. If you are looking at water bowls or heated elements you will have to find out if the barn has electricity or if not will it be easy to have it installed.
After you have thoroughly examined the fields, existing structures and buildings should be inspected. This includes fencing, sheds, and other buildings. You want to make sure these structures are what you are looking for at your new facility and more importantly, can withstand the use you have intended for them.
When determining whether to make modifications or not, consider if:
- Existing structures are in good shape; are the buildings structurally sound and are the corners solid
- Is there road access to the barn or will a laneway have to be added
- Inspect existing stalls for sturdiness and safety, or if stalls need to be replaced or added keep in mind what kind of stalls would work for your facility and budget
- Fences are free of rough edges and damages that could injure a horse
- Is the existing fencing going to work for your needs or does it need to be replaced or upgraded
- Are buildings large enough to accommodate the number of stalls you will need and do they have high enough ceilings
- Is the flooring and footing appropriate, do you need rubber mats or tiles in the aisle ways or stalls
Overall, the more thoroughly you scope out a property, the more satisfied you will be. Putting in the extra time and effort to guarantee your new farm is exactly what you are looking for will make the transition that much easier. With these tips in mind, you are well on your way to finding your perfect horse farm.