There are a lot of beautiful things on this green earth, but few are as beautiful as that of the equestrian farm amongst a slew of rolling hills and valleys. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, a well-kept farm with lively horses grazing at their leisure can recharge anyone’s batteries and help them reconnect with life. Out of all the places across America, Virginia is perhaps the best place to own and operate a horse farm. Why? Because there are many events throughout the state every month, there is a large horse-owner community, and Virginia’s pastures are well known for keeping horses healthy and strong. If you’ve never owned a horse farm but are thinking about purchasing one in the near future, here are some things to consider before you jump all in.
Inspect the farmhouse, but also inspect the stable
If you’re considering purchasing a horse because a property you’re excited about has a horse stable on it, make sure the stable is actually still suited to house a horse. Many older farms in Virginia have stalls on them, but they haven’t been used for half a century. Granted, yours may still be maintained enough to use, but there’s a strong possibility it may just need to be demolished. If you know what you’re looking for, great, but otherwise take an inspector with you who is knowledgeable about farms.
Make sure there is a healthy source of water
Horses can drink up to ten gallons of water a day, so make sure that there is either a pond, a creek, or an automatic water dispenser. If none of these are available, then at the very least there should be a nearby water hydrant. Before you make a purchase, be sure to have the water tested, too. If you want a strong and healthy horse, your water must be 100% potable and clear of contaminants. Water can be treated, though, so don’t freak out if poor results come back.
Make sure you have enough acreage and fencing
The general rule of thumb is to have at least two acres for one horse, and then an additional acre for every horse after that. You also need to keep in mind that pastures need to rest for six weeks twice a year to maintain soil health. So the ideal farm will not only have enough acreage for your horse or horses, but will also be fenced off in such a way that you can rotate your horse between pastures while the land recovers.
Take your time on deciding which farm to purchase because you’re not just buying for yourself anymore! A good real estate agent can help you avoid common pitfalls, so be sure to find someone knowledgeable about agricultural properties and who, ideally, also has equine experience.
Owning a farm in Virginia is certainly a great joy! I know it well, as I have owned one for 20 years now. One thing that must be considered by anyone buying a farm here, is that “East of the blue ridge”, dog/dog hunters have the right to trespass on your farm to pickup a dog. they also have the right to turn dogs loose on any size parcel of land, and then watch them run through your horse fences and pastures. they can also hunt alongside your property lines, roadsides and inches from passing motorists. Not exactly a great place to live if you value your life. Until virginia’s governor and legislature put a 100 foot buffer between hunters and the highway, I’d strongly advise to stay our of Deer/dog counties. trust me, this is very good advice.