Farms are the backbone of the agricultural and food sector, and each type caters to different animal needs. According to statistics, the total number of farms stood at over two million in the US in 2021. For example, consider horse farms; they take up less land than other livestock farms and are suitable for small-scale farmers.
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Horses not only provide companionship and emotional support, but they are also relatively easy to care for. They are helpful for agricultural work, recreation, transportation, and much more. If you’ve discovered that keeping horses can be a valuable asset, keep reading as we look at how to start a horse farm.
Have a Strong Vision
Horse farming is an agricultural investment that requires some thought beforehand to make the entire process worthwhile. Writing down your vision and evaluating it is recommended because it enables you to think about what you want and expect from your equestrian property. Are you interested in starting a riding facility, breeding, or rearing studs for horse racing? When you establish a solid plan, proceeding with the planning stage is easier.
Find the Right Land
To find land quickly and easily, you should research and talk to people regarding available land or farms for sale in your surrounding area. Get in touch with the people in your community and ask if they know anyone looking to sell. Don’t hesitate to go to community events, small business seminars, and local feed stores, to find individuals you can talk to about making a purchase.
It would also help if you focused on obtaining an area large enough for your farm. The size depends on your horses’ requirements and the amount you can afford. Still, you’ll need enough space for them to run around and separate those that aren’t breeding at specific times or don’t get along.
Additionally, ensuring that you have a sufficient and quality supply of clean water is essential. Good water sources include dams, ponds, creeks, and the like, without algae growth in the warmer months. It’s ideal if you have several water sources, such as a well and a pond.
Horse rearing can’t be carried out effectively unless you possess considerable expertise, whether dealing with horse breeding or designing the facilities. Firstly, you should hire a real estate agent possessing agricultural land sale experience. Farmland is a specialized real estate niche, and a professional’s input and help will take you a long way in finding the right property.
If you’re establishing the horse farm from scratch, you’ll have to hire an experienced architect to build horse barns, stalls, and other structures. Most of these experts are horse owners themselves and have their own farms.
Some of the most crucial aspects in the planning phase of any farm construction site include:
- Feasibility study: The site designer or architect must analyze your site to decide whether it can be used as a horse form. Factors such as irrigation and water rights, soil conditions, property lines, and zoning regulations are considered for the study. Information regarding these details can be found in local codes and ordinances and at the city, county, or township records offices.
- Site programming: Before you delve into designing your farm, you must evaluate the site according to your horse farming goals. You’ll have to consider everything from basics like water, shelter, and fencing to other amenities such as paddocks, heating, and a riding arena.
- Site planning: All the elements from the site programming are included when your architect sketches the horse facility using a bird’s-eye view.
Set a Budget
Once you design a plan and verify that the project is viable, you can determine a budget for the entire project. Schedule a meeting with your general contractor and architect to jot down reasonable figures for the horse facility.
When you decide upon a number, you should add an extra 10% since it’s common for costs to go up when the project is being carried out. A set budget will prevent you from overspending and enable you to focus on what’s important.
Start with Construction
To manage the cash flow, you can phase out the project depending on your budget. Ensure that you work with a contractor well-versed in building horse facilities rather than all sorts of other project.
Your contractor should leave enough space for the horses in the paddocks or pastures and provide safe fences that help prevent injuries. The buildings you construct should have a plan for manure, feed, and hay storage, include a composting and riding area, and incorporate a horse trailer space. You can contact a horse barn builder online for your convenience such as Atlantic Outdoors to discuss your vision and obtain the latest designs and styles.
Stock All the Supplies
Caring for and handling horses requires a variety of supplies. You’ll need to purchase a halter, a lead rope, and grooming gear for each horse. If some of the horses will be used for riding, you’ll also have to invest in a bridle, girth, saddle, saddle pad, and reins. Buy tubs or buckets for water and food.
In addition to looking after your horses, you have to maintain all the farm areas and buildings. This means you need equipment such as a shovel, spade, and rake for cleaning the pasture, paddock, and all the other areas where the horses spend their time.
The next step entails finding out which breeds are selling well in the market. You can look into breeding competitive, laid-back, or gaited horses depending on what your customers want in a horse. Rather than relying on your existing knowledge, seek information thoroughly on the current market. Determine any issues you might encounter when caring for a particular horse breed, which traits a horse type is renowned for, and who is currently selling good stock.
Building a horse farm from scratch offers more freedom regarding acreage, design, layout, facilities, and many other factors. It can seem like a challenging and time-consuming task to achieve, but you can make your dream of owning a horse facility come to life if you follow an effective plan. Starting and running a successful horse farm depends on various aspects and can be highly profitable. If you’re unsure where to start, read through the tips above.