Monday, November 20, 2017 / by Meagan Henry
Shopping For Texas Horse Properties.
Sometimes working with horse owners can be very challenging. They can range from crusty old cowboys that see their horses as "employees" to wealthy folks who treat their equines like royalty. And their opinions go right along with the paradigm that they come from.
The Right Land For Horses
Just because you have some amount of land, it doesn't mean you have an "equestrian property" per se. Obviously, the more land, the better, at least in terms of grazing forage. But it makes a huge difference about what kind of land too. Is it rocky? Is the topography dangerous? Are there trees to shade your ponies? Just having some acreage in Central Texas doesn't qualify your property as a great place for a pony to take up residence. There are areas around Central Texas where acreage tracts are available, but with the limestone formations, the topsoil is often very thin, and so there's not much grass. Rock outcroppings are common in this area as well. With the rising popularity in keeping horses barefoot, sharp edges are dangerous. The wrong land could result in injury or unanticipated costs related to horse shoeing.
A Safe Environment For Horses
When shopping for a home for you and your horses, be sure to look at the quality of the fencing and all areas where your animals will have access. Barbed wire is not as good as welded pipe fencing for obvious reasons, but even with pipe, look at the welds. Are there sharp edges? What about the barn? If your horse is in a stall, are there sharp edges anywhere, especially close to where their feet will be? Is there exposed wood where they can crib (a form of chewing with their teeth)?
Consider Future Expenses
Years ago I bought a 20 acre tract that had a good combination of trees and deep soil pasture. I was THRILLED to find this property, because something that size rarely comes available. In fact, this one was not even on the market. I contacted the owner when I found it in the tax record, and then I bought it with big equine dreams. Then came the EXPENSES! A barn like the one I want will easily run $40-50k. (I don't have a barn yet). The first thing I did was have a fence built. There was some tree clearing involved in that, which ended up being $20,000... and I used t-posts and barbed wire, although the bottom two strands were smooth wire to protect legs and feet. The barbed wire is on top so they'll respect it and not lean on it. Had I done welded pipe fence, then I can only imagine what that would have cost. I also had to bring water into the pasture, buy the trough, and all that. The point here is this: If you can find a resale home that already has these kinds of improvements, you are likely to be well ahead of the game.
The Home on the Horse Property YOU Will Live in
It goes without saying that the home for sale must meet your needs and expectations. Still, I find that it can be a good trade-off to consider making changes to a home (updating bathrooms, or kitchen, etc) to "make it your own" if you don't have to pay for very expensive improvements such as a high quality barn or horse-safe fencing.
Proximity To Riding Areas
With fuel costs continually rising, it's good to be able to just saddle up and ride without having to load up in a trailer, or at least be able to visit a park without having to trailer too far. A great place to ride is this Williamson Country park.
Check out this new Russ Phillips Team listing that exemplifies some of these horse-friendly improvements.
I love horses, and I love horse properties. I find that they are good therapy, so be sure to take good care of you equine pals and give some extra thoughts before you buy! I'm always available for advice when it comes to buying or selling horse properties in Central Texas. Please don't hesitate to give me a call at 512-698-7877.