You’ve bought your perfect horse farm in Virginia, but now want to get away for an afternoon and do some trail riding. You’re lucky, Virginia is one of the best states to trail ride in due to its natural beauty and number of places to trail ride throughout the state. So, get your gear together, pack a light picnic, stay hydrated, and go out and have some fun! Continue reading
It might be surprising to you, but Virginia ranks number twelve in the nation for their equine population. Virginia has a rich and vibrant history of horse farms and Thoroughbreds as we know it were first introduced in the state to the rest of the nation. With about 215,000 equines in Virginia, the most popular breed you’ll find is the Quarter Horse, but it’s followed closely by the racing favorite, the Thoroughbreds.
Equine History in Virginia
I briefly mentioned above, but the first thoroughbred, a 21-year British successful racehorse was imported to Virginia in 1730. After this first horse came through, many, many more followed in the years to come. From there the thoroughbred lines in the nation start to flourish with new blood coming in here and there. Fabulous horses are commonplace at the time as the number of historical figures that own them grow their farms larger. However, one of the most well-known horses to come out of Virginia is the world renown Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner with his famously large heart which may have come in handy for racing.
Born and Bred 100%, Virginian Horse Breeds
Yes, there are two breeds that hail out of Virginia!
With a little under 100 registered, the small, gaited riding horse called the Virginian Highlander reminds people of a large pony. This breed is known for its stability, stamina, and temperament. This horse is perfect for inexperienced riders especially for the small ones, for its gentle nature and smooth gate. The horse is attractive, friendly, and powerful.
The second and more famous Virginian horse breed is the Chincoteague Pony which draws crowds to the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague. While much is unknown of their breeding as the date of their arrival is not known as well as what type of horses they came from. While they are rounded-bellied, short and stocky they are still genetically considered horses as their stature is due to the scarcity of resources available to them historically. While there is an annual Pony Penning, during the year the herds are managed by the Fire Company on Chincoteague as they are still wild.
The Future in Virginia Horse Farms
Virginia still has a lush landscape of horse owners and equine enthusiasts. Horse races are still commonplace throughout the spring and summer in Virginia. Races range from Charlottesville’s bi-annual steeplechase, called the Foxfield Races held in April and October, to the newly returned this summer, Thoroughbred racing at Colonial Downs.
While few are work animals, horses offer a popular retreat into the wilderness that surrounds the Blue Ridge Mountains, if you find the right area to trail ride. With over half the horse population is ridden for pleasure, it’s easy to see why they are so popular in the region. Investing in the upkeep of horses, while expensive can offer such a getaway from everyday life. Virginia has come a long way with regards to its horses, and the breeds available, it’s going to be interesting to see what’s next for the large, hardworking, beautiful animals.
With your equine friends in mind, its very important to choose a property that meets their,-and your needs. There are two main factors to consider when selecting the property for you; the land and the facilities.
Within these categories, the things to consider are:
- Property location
- Property size
- Land quality- Soil and Water
- Riding Opportunities
- Existing buildings and fencing
When looking at a property your horses can call home, you should get a feel not only the land your purchasing but the surrounding area. Spend a few nights in the area to get a better idea than just a day-trip. You will get a much better picture of what the area has to offer.
How many horses will you have on the property? Typical guidelines are at least one acre per horse. While bigger is almost always better, something to consider is the upkeep and time management for larger spaces is something to be aware of. While this can be sectioned off to keep necessary maintenance low, a plan for the size and number of horses should be considered when purchasing a property.
Quality pastures require quality soil to create ideal areas for horses to thrive. You won’t be growing any crops, but the type of soil greatly influences the type of grass that will be naturally growing.
Dirt-Organic soils are ideal for growing grass but can be subject to damage during heavy rainfalls- which is a problem if the area is full of buildings and structures. It’s best to put pastures in these organic soil areas.
Rocky- If the soil has some gravel and rocks in it, it can be an ideal spot to put buildings to keep mud and runoff from flooding the areas out. They can be utilized for riding, but are not ideal for grazing.
It is likely that there will be a variety of soil types, which can fill different uses for your horse farm. You may want to consider contacting the Natural Resource Conservation Service for input and advice on what to plan particular areas for.
Water- In addition to the soils, you should make note of every water feature the property has. Not just for the quality of water, but as well as to check to make sure county laws don’t prohibit you from making any changes or modifications to them.
While it may seem obvious, you should take a minute to appreciate not only your own property for scenic riding but the neighboring area as well. Does my land or adjacent land have trails, rivers, fields to be taken advantage of? Is there a community of other horses in the area?
It can make a big difference to your well being, and your equine friends well being if neighbors also have horses. Having a community that understands the needs of their own horses, as well as yours is a wonderful additional benefit that can be gained in some horse communities.
Even if neighbors do not have horses, hopefully they appreciate the beauty and majesty or our equine friends. This may impact how much off-property riding you end doing.
Existing Buildings and Fencing
Take an inventory of the existing buildings, pens, and structures. Consider how many horses you will have, and how much space existing items may satisfy your needs. Ask yourself the following:
-Do I need extra stalls?
-Are the footing and flooring appropriate for my horses?
-Is there an arena?
-Is there a round pen?
-Is the existing fencing adequate and in good condition?
-how far apart are the buildings?
All of these things should be considered when purchasing a property for your horses, and if they are lacking should be planned for in addition to the purchase price of the property.
Because it’s easy to do, don’t forget to enjoy the experience.
Exploring and searching for that magical place to call home can be a challenging and time-consuming process, but always enjoy the ride!.
Owning a horse farm in Virginia can be very rewarding than at the same time daunting. Most horse farms in Virginia available for sale have been around for centuries. Which can mean some buildings on the property may be outdated or not fit to use. When looking at horse farms in Virginia, here are a few things to consider. Continue reading
You FINALLY own a beautiful horse farm that you have dreamed about since you were a little kid. You have even purchased a few horses to add to those pastures! As spring approaches, now is the time to think about turning pastureland into rotational grazing on your horse farm. Continue reading
You finally purchased that epic piece of property you have been eyeing for quite some time and now want to add a couple horses you have been wanting since you can remember. You have enjoyed riding in the past but this will be your first time owning your own horse. Continue reading
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