If you are new to horse ownership, you may be wondering if it’s time to move your beloved steed from a rented stall to their very own home. The answer to that question really depends on how much you know about caring for horses and how much work you’re willing to put into the process. Whether you’re looking for a few acres with a small barn or a grand equestrian estate, keep reading for more information on what to look for and tips on how to keep yourself safe when searching during a global health crisis.

Safety During the Pandemic

A concern near and dear to everyone’s hearts in the climate we live in is safety. Unfortunately, many potential buyers are choosing to forgo viewing properties at this time because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you are intent on making a purchase now, you can use real estate brokerage services, like Redfin, which offers virtual showings and 3D walkthroughs via smartphones or through their app. This means that an agent would utilize technology to give you a full, live tour without you ever having to leave home.

The Land Matters

You may have a vision of rolling hills and unlimited woodland in your head, but be cautious. Steep slopes and dense vegetation can be more than just a pain in the hooves for your horse. Much more than a gradual slope and your animal may experience excessive strain on their ligaments, joints, and tendons. And tree branches have an uncanny ability to find their way into a horse’s eye, causing discomfort and, possibly, and problematic infection. You also want to make sure that you have an adequate water source; if that means a well, it should be productive enough to continually keep a 150-gallon trough full.

Barn Style

If you’re planning to buy an existing property, you also want to pay close attention to the type of barn already on the property. Depending on where your land is located, you may be best off with a wooden structure, which is easier to insulate. Another consideration for building material is sound. Metal buildings, which are popular and come in many different designs, are easy to care for, but they are also loud — particularly during thunderstorms. When you plan to build, Practical Horseman asserts that higher quality is better, and you may keep overall costs down by putting more into your building in the very beginning. To save money on the building process, you’ll need as flat of a surface as possible.

Storage Space

You can think of your horse barn as your animal’s home, but you also need a separate space to store your equestrian gear and your horse feed. Inman.com notes that your tack room must be protected from the elements along with pests, such as mice. What’s more, your feed room should be likewise secure and climate-controlled.

Perimeter Check

Few things are more important when buying a property for horses than the fence that surrounds it. When looking at properties, spend time inspecting at the perimeter. You’ll want to ensure that the existing fence is visible to horses and in good shape. Stable Management explains that there are many different types of fencing materials, and they range from affordable and high maintenance to exponentially expensive but mostly hands-off once installed. If the fence is in bad shape, try to negotiate a lower price. Something else you’ll need to make sure of is that all amenities advertised actually belong to the land. For example, if your farm boasts “miles of unencumbered trails,” make sure those are on the property and not part of a connecting estate.

Buying an equestrian property is different than simply buying a single-family home. While this is not meant to be a fully comprehensive guide, it can serve to remind you that you are buying a home for your equine and not just for your own needs. So, remember to stay safe and ensure the property is ready for every member of your family.

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