Before you start planning out your horse barn, it’s important to make sure that the property you will be building on has enough acreage to successfully support the barn’s daily operations. When housing horses, how much land is too little, and how much is just enough? Consider these points before building your barn.
Look into Zoning Laws
Before starting your planning, look into the restrictions of your local zoning laws. Zoning laws differ greatly, so it’s important to fully understand the laws governing your area. For instance, some zoning laws specify a minimum amount of acreage per horse, while others designate that the property must have 10 acres for the first horse, than an additional acre for each subsequent horse. There may be additional stipulations regarding minimum distance between horse pastures or manure piles and your property line, too.
Even if your property meets the specifications of your zoning laws, carefully consider how much space your horses will need to be healthy and comfortable. The general rule of thumb for minimum acreage per horse is 1 acre of pasture per horse. Remember, too, that the space your barn is on will be in addition to that pasture acreage. If you want to keep your pastures in good condition by rotating their use, then additional acreage will be necessary.
Calculate Additional Space Needs
The barn and pastures are not the only space that you’ll need for your facilities. If you plan on installing a riding arena, you will need significant space. Standard arenas begin at 100 x 200 feet, while competition jumping arenas can be as large as 660 x 660 feet.
Think carefully about the other features that a functioning horse facility needs. At the very minimum you will need a manure management system, access roads, space for vehicle storage, and a parking area by your barn. These all add up to significant space demands.
Think About Usable Space
Lastly, remember that just because your property consists of a certain number of acres doesn’t mean that you will be able to use all of that space. Geographical issues like low-lying land, rocky land, hills, streams, and other issues can pose a problem to construction and may limit the land’s practical use.
When deciding whether a particular property is large enough to support a barn and horses, it is best to create a map of the property. Factor in which areas of the property will be unusable, and diagram out how you can use the resulting space. Building a barn on small acreage can absolutely be done, but detailed planning is key to your project’s success.