Almost everyone who owns a horse would probably love to be able to keep their horse on their own property. The dream of being able to spend the evenings after work riding one’s horse on the trail and being able to take care of them every day is actually quite accessible for many horse owners. However, no matter where you look for horse property there are some important things about permits to keep in mind before and after buying an equestrian property.
First, before considering buying any property in any location where you might want to keep your horse, be sure to check with the zoning department to ensure that horses are allowed. Don’t rely on the fact that the last owners had horses because the past owners may have had special permits, or the property may have changed zoning but the owners had a permit to keep their horses until they left the property (they were grandfathered in). It’s not unheard of for people to have horses on a property that’s not zoned for them only because the code enforcement of the area has not noticed. Don’t rely on the fact that the property once had horses or still has horses on it while you are looking at it, check. This can save a lot of heartache in the future.
Once you’re sure the property is zoned for horses, be sure to investigate how many horses can be legally kept on the property. Many areas have laws governing the minimum amount of land that each animal must have, and these regulations can vary widely, so checking with the planning or zoning departments before buying is important as well. Typically most rural or agriculturally zoned property will allow one horse per 0.5 acre, but that’s not a hard and fast rule and some areas require a minimum of two acres of land in a parcel before horses can be kept on it, so doing your research is extremely important.
If you’ve done your research and discovered that the property is zoned for horses and there’s enough room for the number of horses you’d like to keep, go one step further to prevent zoning problems and ensure that there is a good plan in place on the property to keep flies under control. Flies are the number one annoyance to neighbors which gets horse property owners in trouble with their neighbors, so if there is not a manure management system on the property, be sure that you can design and implement one right away after taking ownership. There are even special consultants who can help equestrian property owners handle odor and fly problems.