What Do I Need to Know About Horse Farms?

Whether they have 1 acre or 100 acres, horse farms all revolve around the barn. The barn really is the heart of the operation, even if it is a top of the line facility, with 50 stalls and its own race track. If you are thinking of buying a horse farm and renovating the barn, or buying land and building your own, it is a good idea to visit other owners' farms and take notes on what you like and don't like about their barns.

The Barn
The first thing you want to think about is how many horses you want to have. Are you thinking of boarding other horses or do you value your privacy? An existing barn, or plans for a new structure, should be one that could readily be expanded by you or somebody else in the future. The stall size is ideally 12 feet by 12 feet, so the horse can turn around and be comfortable. Rubber mats on the floor are easy on the horse's legs and easy to clean.
 Having exterior doors to stalls, as well as doors onto the aisle, is a good idea and makes turn out easier. The tack room needs to be large enough for your needs, and the wash rack should be on a concrete floor sloped for drainage. Interlocking rubber bricks are becoming popular. There should not be any sharp corners or edges in the barn; horses are easily injured. A smoke alarm is a must.

You will need to calculate how much storage area you will need for hay, and whether it will be stored in a hay loft or a separate building. Natural daylight and good ventilation are important in barns. Ensure there is plenty of space for summer time hot air to escape by installing a continuous ridge vent or cupolas on the roof.

The Site
Ideally there should be a lot of mature trees on the property for shading in the summer. The ground should slope downhill from the barn; it is much easier to push a cart full of manure downhill than uphill. The paddock (enclosed area) needs to be 50 feet by 50 feet to allow for exercise; older horses need less room.  Grass on the surface is easily damaged because of the weight of the horse. Cedar chips are comfortable for the horse, long lasting and don't get slippery when wet.

If the horse farm has a lot of acreage, the pasture land needs to be checked regularly for weed control, and wood fencing checked for splits and exposed nails. Those with a smaller pasture area can be parceled into sections to allow grass to grow back using portable electric hot tape fencing.

And whether your horse farm is going to have an indoor equestrian center or just an outdoor round pen, most knowledgeable horse owners say that you will need an acre and a half of total land per horse for a happy horse.