Buying property suitable for horses is no small task. It is certainly not the typical home buying experience. There is so much to consider from what kind of property best meets the needs of your horses to what kind of home will best meet your wants and needs. Speaking from experience, the horses’ needs are typically the priority.
Working with an experienced Equestrian Advisor/Realtor will also help ensure your home search and purchase go as smoothly as possible. You can find one here.
The Property has Acreage: Is it Suitable for Horses?
Any Equestrian Advisor/Realtor will be the first to tell you that, just because a property has plentiful acreage does not mean it will be a suitable property for your horses. The best property will be flat to gently sloped with good drainage, open areas with grass for grazing, with few trees, and wet areas. Horses weigh 1000 to 1500 pounds on average, which puts a lot of weight on the ground. Therefore, horses can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
The priority is finding an Equestrian Property with useable land – meaning not acres of unusable gullies, steep edges, or too many bodies of water. More land doesn’t necessarily mean it is better, the useability is the priority.
Housing horses and livestock on your property can be done with ease with a few convenient amenities. It is important to consider these amenities as they add value to the Equestrian Property:
- Barn – Does it have an adequate number of stalls for your needs and the right size for your type of horse? Horse stalls can measure from 10 x 10 to 12 x 12 or even larger. Does it have the capability to increase the size of the stall to make foaling stalls? Are the stalls matted? Are there runouts (sacrifice paddocks) off the stalls?
- Hay Storage – What style is the barn? If it is a Monitor style barn, does it have a hayloft? How much hay can be stored in the hayloft? If there is no hayloft, is there adequate storage for hay elsewhere?
- Tack Room – Does the barn have a tack room? If so, is it insulated? It is important to be able to store tack, brushes, and other items in the tack room without them getting damp and moldy.
- Tack Area and/or Wash Bay – While one can do without this amenity it sure is a bonus to have it.
- Quality and Safe Fencing – Fencing can be quite costly (please watch for our future blog on fencing). It adds a lot of value to an Equestrian Property to have good quality and safe fencing. Equally important is how well it is laid out on the property. Is the property fenced and cross-fenced?
- Arena (Indoor and/or Outdoor) or Training Round Pen with good footing – It is a huge bonus to find a property with an arena, especially an indoor arena. Indoor arenas are getting increasingly more difficult to get approval to build and depending on the size can cost well over $100,000 to build. Outdoor arenas are great but have their challenges. It becomes difficult to manage the footing due to weather. Footing in the arena is something to really consider. Each discipline has its own preferences for footing type and depth. But any equestrian will agree that poor footing can cost you a lot – cause lameness in your horses resulting in expensive vet bills and not to mention the time to rehabilitate the horse from injury.
- Water source and location of water on the property. Are there ample spigots to the pastures/paddocks and arena?
- Electricity – Does the barn have electricity running to it?
Transitioning to an Equestrian Lifestyle is a big adjustment. Make sure you are taking your daily routine into consideration when looking at properties. Consider the layout of the Equestrian Property. Does it seem that your daily routine will be seamless i.e., bringing horses in and out from pasture/paddocks to the barn? Are there turnouts off the barn that make it easier on your daily routine? Where is the manure kept? Ultimately, as an Equestrian, you want to be able to leave your property and know that your horses will be safe and sound while you are away.
Barn(s) and Outbuildings Should be Inspected Too:
You have found your Equestrian Property. It will cost you extra, but it is important to have your inspector inspect the Barn(s) as well as the Outbuildings. Your horses are part of your family, and you want to make sure that they will be safe in their surroundings. It is important to have a professional evaluate the Barn and Outbuildings for structural issues, electrical issues, or other potential problems.
Do not assume that the property is an approved horse property just because the owners or prior owners have had horses on the property in the past. Part of the Inspection process will be to do a little research with local city, county, and/or HOA regulations for agriculture and livestock. Do not let this lack of research cut into your dreams of owning an Equestrian Property.
Let us help you make your dreams of owning an Equestrian Property a reality:
To be honest this is all just the tip of the iceberg when searching for an Equestrian Property. It helps to have someone working for you that has done this before. Let’s get you connected. It would be an honor to help you make your dreams a reality.
In the early 1900s, the Greenbank Farm in Greenbank was used to harvest trees and maintain a dairy herd. The main barn you see today dates back to 1904. By the 1940s the farm was sold to John Molz who began loganberry farming. By 1970 it was the largest Loganberry farm in the US. Later it was sold to Chateau Ste. Michelle who planned to sell the 522 acres for residential development. Luckily in 1997 the Port of Coupeville, Nature Conservatory, and Island County combined forces and purchased the Farm for public use.
Today, this picture-perfect farm features dog-friendly walking trails, demonstration gardens, solar power demonstrations, wetlands, wildlife, several shops, and art galleries. One of our favorites is the Whidbey Pie Cafe that brings tribute to the history of the farm with their loganberry pie among many other delicious choices.
Check out the rest of Whidbey’s beautiful destinations from this series here.