The stuff of a daughter’s dream … a horse. The family dog, cat, and fish alone will not fill the void. Neither will the little pony toys. Your family is ready to make that life changing decision to adopt a new member into the household. There is much to consider before making this big decision. Owning a horse means a strong commitment to the daily feeding and grooming, along with medical care. The environment they live in also needs to have regular care, the stables, paddocks, and pastures.
The size of your property dictates the number of horses you will be able to house. The average amount of property required is about 2.5 acres per horse, with 5 acres being enough to accommodate 2 horses. Steep mountainsides, swamps, or rocky land can be dangerous territory.
Access to a trail system is also something to take into consideration. The convenience of having trails accessible will make horse ownership easier. Having to trailer the horse in order to go for a ride can be cumbersome, especially from a rural road. Exercise is essential in both a happy and healthy horse. A guide to local trails can be accessed here at Read more here.
Irrigated pastures require sufficient water supply, although they will not typically supply all the nutritional needs of your horse. You will most likely have to supplement his diet with good hay. You want to avoid over-grazing, and leaving your pasture a dust bowl. Horses have natural grazing tendencies that you want to accommodate. You will want to avoid soil compaction if the horse is confined to a smaller area, this condition will not allow new grass to grow.
The land needs to be properly maintained to ensure that holes from digging or burrowing animals don’t become a hazard. The land must be properly irrigated to ensure that washouts don’t occur, creating further dangers. The pasture should also be free of toxic plants and trees. Neighbors should be discouraged from dumping lawn clippings or garden refuse in your pasture, and neighboring trees and bushes around your pasture should be inspected to ensure that he doesn’t munch on these toxic snacks.
Fencing is necessary for pastures and stables and must be safe for your horse. If horses are kept in stalls and small paddocks, they may become bored and many chew on wooden fences. You can choose a traditional post and rail method, although as the horses lean on the fences, they tend to sag. Wire mesh, diamond or no climb wires have advantages as the fence has spaces small enough that the horses cannot get their foot through, but they can keep predators out. If these are properly installed, they will require little maintenance. Then of course there is an electric fence, which can be attractive and affordable. A small electric voltage pulses through a ribbon or wire, however some horses learn to run through it and on rare occasion they can become entangled and suffer injury. For the most part they are a safe alternative. Home Depot is an excellent source of supplies for your pasture fencing. Read more here.
Does your horse need a manmade shelter? They provide shade and shelter from the elements. However, manmade shelters can be difficult to manage, they need to be constructed, cared for, and spacious enough to accommodate the horse. Surprisingly enough, many horses in a moderate climate, such as the Auburn area, are able to thrive outside with the natural shelter of trees. Horses rely on the natural variations in landscape and habitat in order to physiologically and behaviorally cope with environmental challenges. In the winter, their hair grows thicker for insulation and to guard against wetting. In the summer, they shed to ensure a lighter coat, more breathable, so they don’t overheat. The seek the shade of trees. In windy conditions they adopt a posture with hind ends to the wind and heads hung low. They learn to adapt to their environment. You can read more on this subject in Placer County’s horse ownership booklet. Read more here.
My name is Cynthia Clarkson and I have been selling ranch properties for over 25 years. I know how to help you achieve your dream of horse ownership. With my ranch experience, whether you just have question or just want to chat of the possibility of adding a new member to your family, please feel free to give me a call.