I have seen and worked on many, many horse properties, some very efficient and others a continual waste of time. Money doesn’t seem to be the problem, the safety and efficiency of horse properties seems to be based on the horse sense of the person who set them up.
Some of the properties I have worked on have been very beautiful, picturesque and an artist’s dream. I have known owners who have spent millions of dollars on horse facilities that are not safe or efficient. Other horse properties have been built on a budget and although they may not be the most glamorous, they are safe and efficient.
These are just seven of the more common areas that can be improved on with just a little bit of planning prior to commencement of setting up a horse property.
1. Riding Preparation
For instance, how long does it take you to prepare for riding? Is all your gear in one place, close to where your horse is prepared for riding? Then is it safe to mount near where you saddle or do you need to lead or open and close a few gates before you start to ride?
If the facilities for this single task are badly set up they could be costing you an extra ten minutes each time you ride. If you ride two horses each day six times a week that is two hours each week you are wasting.
2. After Riding
What happens when you finish riding? Is there a sand roll nearby where your horse can relax after the ride? Can you hose/ wash them near to where they are unsaddled? Does this area have somewhere to tie the horse and a solid base or does it turn to mud if you use continually?
Check that you horse facility is well set up so this task is not costing you an excessive amount of time.
3. Riding Arena
A safe place to ride is essential.
Is there at least one riding area that has a solid fence and non-slip surface that is suitable for a fresh horse? This is ideal for a learner rider and a young horse to work in and even an experienced rider will prefer this type of riding area if their horse is fresh or unknown.
4. Riding In Open Areas
Are there riding areas away from where horses live? Sometimes if there is limited space, a cross-country course may be set up in a large open area where horse’s normally live.
If you do ride in areas where horses live, can they quickly and easily go into a different area while horses are being ridden in their living spaces to keep you and your horse safe?
5. Main Feed Barn
Where is the main feed barn situated? Is there easy access to feed and hay delivery? Is it situated close to where the horses are being fed or do feeds need to be carried some distance to the horses?
If you horse facility is not well set up, a wrongly placed feed barn could cost you a lot of time and labour.
Safety around horses is essential, remember they are herd animals.
Do you have laneways between all your horse paddocks/ fields/ pastures? It takes an experienced horse person to safely lead a horse through a group of horses and it is not ideal.
Do all horses have easy access to water? While there is an initial cost to set up the watering system, it could cost more in the long run if wasted water and the time it takes if manual watering systems are used.
There are many other facilities required to set up a horse property correctly with safety and efficiency in mind.
However these are the top seven that people seem to get wrong when setting up a horse property.
Glenys Cox has developed a wealth of knowledge about horses, spending the last forty years working in the horse industry. During this time she specialised in the training of students to prepare them to work in the horse industry.
While teaching at University and Government Accredited Educational Institutions she used her experience working in the International horse industry to develop equine courses that combine the right balance of theoretical and practical components.
Now the Director at Online Horse College she is in regular contact with her students from around the world who enjoy her friendly ‘hands on’ approach while they are studying for their International horse industry qualifications.