So you have enough land on your property for a horse. You’re considering keeping a horse at home on this land, but you’re not sure exactly how to prepare your property or keep your backyard horse-friendly.
Well, you’re not the first person to be in this place. Keeping your horse at home can be wonderful. You’ll be able to ride whenever you want! However, it’s important to remind yourself of the other implications that come along with having a horse in the backyard:
Are you really ready for this commitment?
Is your land really ready for a new resident?
Here are some helpful tips for prepping a good home for your horse.
The first issue you’ll need to address is whether or not you truly have enough land on your
property to comfortably home a horse long-term. Don’t just take your best guess on this. The common way to think this through is by offering an acre of grazing per horse you have.
Even still, this doesn’t consider things like the size of the horse or the quality of the grazing land.
These animals always do better psychologically and physically when they have room to turn around, walk, run, and play during the day. So keep that in mind as you’re coming up with the homing logistics. The barn they stay in should be roomy.
At a bare minimum, you’ll need to fence the turnout area. And you need to fence it appropriately. Barbed wire is for cattle, not horses. Large, heavy-duty fences with large openings can cause one of these animals to get their head stuck. Instead, you want to use wooden post and rail fencing or hot tape to fence them into their turnout area.
While you’re fencing things in, you’ll want to consider any other wildlife that might be around the area already. If you have rabbits, deer, or raccoons that frequent your backyard, you might want to consider deer fences like those of deerfencing.com. These will keep out other grazers and intruders that may startle or surprise the horse.
Now, you’ll want to get a true assessment of the grazing quality you offer. Do you even have enough grass back there for a horse? If you don’t, you’ll want to act before the horse comes.
If you need more grass, you should start by planting a mix of grass and legumes. Be sure you are purchasing a mix that is specially made for horses, as cattle mix is a lot different. Give it enough time to sprout and grow lush before the horse arrives.
What sort of shelter are you planning to create for them? A run-in shed is an easy option to give them shelter in their pasture. You can choose to build your own or buy it pre-built. You could also construct a full barn with stalls if you plan to get more than one.
Water and Food
Of course, your horse will need a steady routine of food and water. Horses drink about 8-10 gallons per day, so make sure your setup will allow them enough access each day. The best (and often cheapest) option is placing a stock tank in the back of the pasture so that you can run a hose right up to it. This way, you do not have to refill constantly or buy an expensive option.
You’ll also need to construct a feed room with grains and hay. You shouldn’t keep these within
the horse barn, as it’s highly flammable.
What’s the Verdict?
Do the above tips and tricks seem doable? Or are you totally overwhelmed by the idea of keeping a horse in the backyard? You should consider it all before you confirm you’re bringing a horse back home.