Large indoor school…..heated tack room……covered horse walker….. We may all have our own list of ‘dream’ items when we are pondering over our next move, and quite often a rider’s criteria begins with the equestrian requirements rather than the people. It’s not uncommon to hear ‘as long as the horse is happy, we will forego on the living accommodation…!’
However, whilst the dreams of the indoor arena, solarium and views of the stable yard from the kitchen window may be best saved for a lottery win, when it comes to the really practical aspects of buying an equestrian property what should you be considering? We will look at some of the practical aspects of buying an equestrian property or land.
Firstly, if you are looking to graze horses, you will need land. Whilst the recommended stocking density for horses is 2 acres for the first horse, and one horse per acre thereafter (NIX), in reality to enable the resting of land particularly through the winter, these guidelines should be taken as a minimum, unless you are able to maintain a strict turnout regime or have a sacrifice paddock or turnout available.
Whilst on the subject of land, consider asking about drainage; are there any existing land drains and have there been problems with waterlogged land in the past? It is worth asking about the previous management and history, such as weed infestations so you can assess how much time and money you may need to spend improving the grassland.
Services – is water connected to the property via a mains supply, and how is this metered? Does your supply cross neighbouring land or vice versa? It is sensible to make appropriate enquiries with the local water authority if no water is connected to see where the nearest connection is and the cost.
Now to the riding – is the property situated in a good position for hacking? Or do you never hack and need access to an arena? Having a property well located for travelling to shows and training may mean you have to sacrifice on quiet country hacking so work out what is most important to you.
You may be delighted to learn that the property is next to a lovely bridleway, but check what other public rights of way are near, or crossing the property. A pony paddock with a well trodden dog walkers route through the middle might not be ideal.
Also check if there have been any grant schemes on the land previously – such as Stewardship – as you may have to adhere to some management restriction on grassland or hedgerows, for example, if the scheme has not expired.
Now looking at other facilities, such as a stable yard or arenas – it is important to check the planning status and whether planning had been applied for and consented. Some Councils may restrict the use, including the stables and manège, to private recreational use only so if you are proposing to rent out the yard commercially check the planning consent carefully.
It is important to ask as many practical questions as possible when you view the property to ensure you have a full understanding of how the property may be used and any existing factors that may influence your enjoyment and use of the property.
If you would like any advice on buying, or selling an Equestrian Property please contact the Sheldon Bosley Knight Equestrian Team on 01608 661666.