How Much Land Should You Buy for Horses?

Are you planning on becoming a horse owner and setting up your own stable? If you don’t have previous experience, you probably have a “million” questions. One of them is how much land does a horse need. That’s why our experts focused on that question and tried to provide an answer below. Here is what you need to know when choosing land for horses!

How Much Space Does a Horse Need?

You’ll find that experts have different opinions on the minimum acreage for a horse required on the owner’s property. It also depends on the regulations in your state or area.

Here is a generic calculation that you can use when determining the required land per horse:

Secure at least 1 ½ acres of open land per animal. If possible, go with two acres of space per horse you have. 

That sounds simple enough, but here is where it gets complicated. Different counties and states might have different statutes related to livestock and land requirements. That’s why requirements could vary depending on the region.

Here is an overview of how much land do you need for a horse in specific areas:

  • East – you should have two acres per a properly managed pasture.
  • South and Midwest – from two to ten acres for irrigated or properly managed pasture. That depends on the location, so check the local codes.
  • West – they require two to ten acres for the forage requirements of a properly managed or irrigated pasture in the majority of available locations. 

Here is another crucial calculation – a single acre is a space of 210 x 210 feet. That’s 43,560 square feet. However, the critical thing to note is these are the official statutes. You’ll find many owners keeping their horses in smaller lots. 

What Do the Experts Say?

The minimum required is a tenth of an acre per horse. They won’t have their needs met or feel comfortable on smaller land.

It’s interesting to note that the expert opinion varies. For example, the North Carolina State University experts issued a recommendation that you should use the following calculation to determine how many horses per acre of land to keep:

  1. Secure two acres for the first horse you acquire.
  2. Make sure you have an additional acre for each new horse added to the stable.

What to Do to Secure Optimal Nutritional Value for the Horses?

According to Laura Kenney from Rutgers University, you should have approximately 70% of vegetative cover. Alternatively, make sure that there is no more than a third of the bare ground on your land. As for other forage details, aim that it’s not filled with weeds and that the horses didn’t eat it to the grounds. It should ideally be eight to ten inches tall.

The turnout time can vary depending on your requirements or preference. Some recent analysis indicates that horses might eat more if they spend less time grazing. In other words, the time spent grazing won’t affect how much they eat.

While we are talking about the available room per horse, they don’t need space to run to maintain physical health. It’s more than enough that they have free movement space, although having more running room is welcome. 

If you have less space per horse, your management plan becomes more important. It’s crucial to ensure each animal has sufficient water and food. The odds are there won’t be enough grazing room for every horse, so make sure to compensate that with appropriate food choices. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to consult an expert. It’s better to ask the professionals than end up making wrong decisions and potentially compromising the physical and mental well-being of your animal.