You would have thought that buying horse property is just like purchasing any other real estate, but the reality is different. Purchasing equestrian real estate is unlike purchasing any other type of real estate and you have to keep in mind various factors that will ultimately determine your final decision.

Here are the twelve most important things to know before buying your next horse ranch.

1. Location, Accessibility, & Acreage

The location, accessibility, and acreage are the first three things you should determine. The location of your equestrian real estate should be in close proximity to riding schools, local vets, feed and tack stores, training facilities, and so on.

The accessibility of your horse ranch is crucial for bringing in vets and food supplies and getting around quickly in emergencies. The navigation around your territory should also be easy so that you can swiftly get from the barn to the riding arenas, for example.

At least one and a half acres is required for one horse with every new horse needing an additional acre. However, most horse owners search for acreage according to two to five acres parcels. It’s all up to you, but the more the better.

2. Pastures, Soils, & Natural Habitat

The next step is determining whether there are enough pastures so that you can manage them according to the rotational grazing system, checking the soils, and examining natural habitat.

There are 12 soil types in whole. The ideal soils are said to be the sandy, loamy, organic soils. These will impact the quality of grasses for pasture growth. You will have to allow your pastures to rest for six weeks at least twice a year, so keep that in mind too.

And finally, examine the natural habitat. You must make sure that there are no toxic plants or weeds around (such as Stinkwort or Ragwort) as these may harm your horses if they eat them accidentally.

3. Slope Stability & Riding Opportunities

Unfortunately, not every horse ranch offers enough riding opportunities. If your acreage does not have enough space, you will probably have to find a nearby arena.

Similarly, an ideal slope percentage should not be more than fifteen percent. Gently rolling or flat topography will allow you to control the water runoff.

4. Water Supply, Natural Water Features, & Waterways

To continue on the topic of collecting water, let’s talk about waterways, water supply, and natural water features.

Check the maps that show where natural water is located in order to then check the water rights protecting them. You must also examine the waterways to see if they are lined with proper material that will prevent erosion and divert water from vulnerable areas. One horse drinks approximately 5-10 gallons of water per day, so make sure that your horses get enough water.

5. Well, Septic System, & Drainage

Some horse properties have wells and septic systems which can be both a blessing and yet another headache. If yours has any of these, inspect them, request the seller pump out the septic tank, and ensure that the leach field is not under the pastures.

Proper drainage is also crucial. Inadequate drainage can lead to the land being muddy which brings a bunch of other problems your horses will suffer from. To prevent this, visit the estate after a rainstorm and see where the water accumulates. You can also install a berm, a ditch, or a drain line.

6. Zoning & Expansion Potential

When buying your equestrian real estate, make sure that you understand the local zoning laws. If you are purchasing it abroad, you can hire a consultant or translate the documents yourself by using such online localization services as The Word Point, where professionals will review the documents and provide you with a high-quality translation. Likewise, if you are planning to expand your acreage in the future, be sure to examine the neighboring territories and see if you are satisfied with them.

7. Structural Safety

The safety of your structures should be a priority. Examine every building separately to see if there are any problems with them. Some smaller issues such as broken stalls or fences can be replaced, but beware of sagging foundations as these are virtually unfixable.

8. Stable or Barn

There are two situations you can get in with this: either there is a barn or a stable, or there isn’t. If there is one, it should have space for storing hay and equipment as well as providing enough space for all your horses.

If there is no barn, you can build one. First, however, you will have to go through the county permitting process. You can then plan out the barn yourself or hire someone to do it. If you are an enthusiast who wants to do it himself, make use of such software as PlanGrid or others to create a blueprint to follow while constructing.

9. Tack Room

Just like the stables, a tack room must also follow some basic requirements:

It must be secure and dry.

It must be located in a convenient place.

It should be able to store food, saddles, bridles, blankets, and other equipment.

It should have adequate lighting and storage conditions.

10. Shade & Shelter

This is important especially in the case when you don’t have a barn or stable. There must be a run-in shed in the paddock areas for shade, intense winds, or rain. Moreover, you must remember that caring for your horses in winter is different than in summer and will require extra caution and additional conveniences if you are located in a region with a colder climate.

11. Storage & Parking

Just like your horses need enough space for riding, your iron horses need enough space for parking and storage. These include trailers, manure spreaders, tractors, and arena maintenance equipment among others. All of them should be stored in good conditions in order not to break or wear out too fast.

12. Riding Arenas & Fencing

Riding arenas require an adequate base first and foremost. Then, you should pay attention to drainage and proper footing. These are crucial for the arena to last longer and for your horses to be ridden in good conditions.

As mentioned above, broken fences can be fixed, but if your horse ranch comes with suitable fencing, it instantly adds value to the property. Good fencing ensures safety, durability, and visibility.


To sum up, once you know what your priorities are and what aims you have set yourself, it shouldn’t be too hard to choose the right equestrian property for you. Remember on which riding discipline you are accommodating and base your other answers off of that. And then, choose the right horse ranch!

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