Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Allison Price
What is the standard number of acres per horse? This is a common question that I receive a lot. Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward.
Google will show you that horses need 2 acres to be stabled. This is 2 acres for the first horse, and 2 acres for each subsequent horse. Horses are usually kept on smaller acreages every day.
There are many factors to consider when determining how much land each horse should be allowed to roam, whether you’re looking to purchase a farm or bring home more horses.
Are your horses indoors or outdoors? You should expect some wear on the pastures if you intend to keep your horses outdoors. Also, aim for more acres per horse.
You will need to manage smaller acreages more carefully. This means you will need to move horses around, keep them indoors when it is wet, and regularly seed the fields.
Keep in mind that seeding pastures is best done late winter/early printemps. This can prove costly as it can take many years for the grass to establish, especially if horses are involved.
Woodchips are used by many farm owners to keep the ground around their gates and fences from becoming muddy. However, bedding from dirty stalls is also an option and can be much cheaper.
I have owned horses in Maryland, Florida, Wisconsin. The location of your pasture can make a big difference in the results you can expect.
Both Maryland and Wisconsin have grass that provides nutrition to their livestock. However, these areas receive a lot of precipitation.
You will need to make sure your horses are kept in small paddocks. There will be a lot of mud, regardless of how you turn out. You will need to supplement your horses’ grazing with hay and grain.
South Florida has a unique way of keeping horses. Because the soil is sandy, it is common for more than 10 horses to be kept on 5 acre. The grass is mainly entertainment and not much else.
Florida also gets a lot of rainfall each year, but the pastures aren’t affected as much. Remember that hay is expensive in Florida because it isn’t very often grown there.
Florida is a good place for those who are easy-going, but it can be expensive if you have a warmblood 17+hh like me.
Talking of easy keepers, there are many breeds that can gain weight by simply looking at grass. These horses are my friends.
Also, I recognize that every breed has outliers. Your decision will be influenced by the age of each horse. Horses who are easy to keep tend to thrive on smaller acreage.
This includes quarter horses, ponies and draft breeds.
Thoroughbreds – you knew it was coming – and older horses are not usually included in the easy keepers list.
Large farms are expensive and require extensive upkeep. Horse care for smaller properties can be as difficult.
You can save a lot of time by keeping horses in large pastures so they don’t need to be stubbed, overgrazed, or fed.
Outbuildings, weeds and fences will need to be maintained, but horses will not require this level of care.
This is an excellent option for horses with gastrointestinal problems and those who work full-time.
Horses who are turned out on a smaller area and are often stalled will need more attention and management.
First, determine what your budget can support when purchasing a property. USDA loans offer better rates for many farm buyers.
It is important to calculate the costs of hay, grain and bedding as well as seeding and general maintenance.
You might have already guessed that smaller areas may be more expensive on the front end. However, the cost of maintaining the property can quickly escalate due to the wear and tear horses put on it.
In general, 2 acres is the minimum amount of land that you can keep horses. This is both for practical and zoning reasons.
Consider the dimensions and orientation of your barn, house, or other outbuildings. Some properties may be more usable than others.5 Ways to Keep the Pests out of Your Stable
A 3-acre lot that is well-designed may be easier to manage than a 10-acre one.
The horse’s acreage is determined individually.
Reach out to local equestrians for more information about the area and any issues that may arise.
It is worth speaking with realtors who are familiar with agricultural or equestrian properties if you’re looking to purchase.
Buyers are often frustrated when realtors show them acres on the side of a mountain.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!