Your dream, for as long as you can remember, has been to put up your urban home for sale and move out into the country where you can own a horse or two. Now that your dream is coming true, reality is setting in. How much land, exactly do you need to own horses? Can you afford that much land? Is there another way? This article on acreage should help you figure out which properties to keep on your list of possibilities and which ones to cross off.
So what is an acre, anyway? When property is measured in acres, it is measured in parcels of 43,560 square feet. Acres are a very old system of measurement intended to represent what an ox could plow in a day. They are still used commonly in the United States but here in Canada, your real estate agent is much more likely to pitch you properties that are measured in hectares. A hectare is almost two and a half times larger than an acre and consists of 10,000 square meters.
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The important thing to note about a property of land which is given in acres or hectares is that hectares and acres have no specific shape. Most people think of them as squares, but there could be a one hectare property on a listing that is one meter wide and 10,000 meters long, which is useless for almost everything. Therefore its extremely important that you inspect your entire acreage to see what, if anything, it will be good for.
When it comes to owning horses, general opinion holds that you need one acre (or .4 hectares) of free space per horse. However, there are many variables that play into this occasion. For instance, one acre is the space needed to properly exercise a horse. If you plan on grazing it, the requirement is closer to 2 acres per horse. If you plan on buying feed for it, you can keep a horse on a smaller property as long as you have somewhere to take it to exercise.
Always check with your local zoning board before deciding how many horses you have room for. Each municipality has different rules, some homes in in certain areas might not be allowed to be more than 3 storys high. When it comes to acreage for horses, the rules are laid out because of the quality of local land. In a fertile place like central Ontario you might be able to get away with 1 acre per horse while in the dry parts of southern California you might need 3-5 acres to grow enough grass to feed a horse.