Do horse farms and airparks mix?

A Living With Your Plane subscriber is trying to get approval from the town to establish a residential airpark.

One question and concern voiced by the commission is the fear of airplane noise on a nearby horse farm, particularly on breeding operations.

You can help this individual with the city authorities by providing answers to the following questions:

  1. Does you airpark have horse facilities either within the or within 1000 feet of the runway?
  2. Are these horses pastured or stabled? (or both?)
  3. Are any of these horse farmers breeders by profession?
  4. Is anyone a veteranian who would volunteer to write a letter to our Town Planning Commission about the dangers of horses near airparks?

Your immediate response to these questions will be of great assistance. You can submit your response by commenting below.

23 replies on “Do horse farms and airparks mix?”

At our airpark (Skydive Houston) we have a road parallel to the runway. On the other side of the road are pastured horses (less than 200 feet). They don’t even look up. Neither do the cows. They are on the most used downwind side. We have a twin otter flying on the weekends.
There aren’t horses at the end of the runway though.

I’m actually looking for an airpark home that supports both horses and airplanes. My passion is flying and my wife’s is horses. I have found several airparks that allow both, including BarVK in Sanger, Texas; La Cholla Air Park in Tucson, Arizona; Pecan Plantation in Granbury, Texas and Lake Riverside Estates in Anza, California. Most of these have 2 plus acre lots with both hangars and horses allowed. We have found that an airplane droning along on takeoff is easy for the horses to get used to and much less of a nuisance to the horses than a passing mtorcycle, barking dog etc.

First, our airpark is one of a very few that is both equine and aviation friendly and I am a enthusiast of both. It is my experience that horses do not even notice the type of aircraft typical of GA so I think this is a non-problem.

Moreover, when we lived in Oregon we were directly under the flight path for the Blue Angels during the annual Hillsboro air show and the only time we saw horses so much as lift their heads to F16 flying low overhead…sometimes on after-burner…was the first year they were there. Even with the passage of 12 months, the next air show was a non-event for them.

Horses are very selective in their recognition of danger. Really loud matters (at least the first time!) but “stuff in the sky” does not appear to meet their criteria for “preditor”.

I agree with comments above. Our private airport (39OK)consists of 33 lots (2-21/2a) along both sides of the runway. We own two lots. Our house and hangar are on one and the my wife’s two Arabian pets live on the other. Airplanes and parachutes do not bother them at all. Sometimes they even like to stand on the runway side and watch.

Here at the Rockcliffe airport in Ottawa, Canada there is a stable for the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) horses. They are a pride for the country and they stand at less than 1000 feet from the end of runway 27. I am a member of the flying club and I never heard any comments about the horses.

The airpark I have a lot on is surrounded by a 25,000 acre ranch and is located in Southern New Mexico (NM08) Solo Ranch has minimal restrictions on livestock. Sec 12 of the deed restrictions state that livestock, poultry or pets can be maintained on the property as long as it is for domestic use only. No commercial activities. However, there is one kind of livestock, swine, which is totally prohibited.

I’ve seen an airpark in the Southeast Phoenix area, Peagasus Airpark, that has a lot of horse corrals around it. I don’t know what their by-laws or restrictions are by I bet they could shed even more light on this subject.

Here in Texas, with cows and horses right up to the fence of most public airports, I don’t know that there would be any other restriction other than they must at all costs, be kept from entering the runway and operations areas of the airport. Most fencelines according to TxDot funding requirements, must be at least 250 feet from the centerline of the runway.

Less Than a thousand feet from the end of the paved runway is a pasture with horses. They don’t even look up.
The rancher is a breeder and and is fond of airplanes.

Five horses reside about 1000 feet from the runway (but not in the approach area). We own one since 10 years. During the day they pasture and at night they are in the stable.

We have no jet turbine traffic (although a Blue Angel was spotted once making a low pass to take a look), but we do have heavy glider-towing traffic especially on weekends (maybe 20-30 operations). The horses have never reacted to aircraft taking off and landing. Although the pilots servicing the horses always look up, the horses never do. I have observed more agitation in the horses when our dog passes by (he is a bit too friendly).

The horse stable is an integral part of our airpark (Lake Aero Estates -C98- Indiana). There are also non-aviation oriented horse owners living in our airport subdivision. They are very particular about how the horses are kept. But they have never once complained about the proximity of the airport or airplanes.

Horses seem to be very keen as to their sense of danger. It would seem, that they have realized in short order that what little aircraft noise does float by them is not associated with any danger, and is a normal part of their environment.

I own a private airport on a working cattle ranch. None of my horses, burros, or goats have been bothered by plane activity in the last 20 years. A passing helicopter gets their attention more than anything.

Our neighborhood, with runway access, at Roche Harbor (WA09)is called Bridle Trails Estates. My next-door neighbor pastures his two horses within a couple hundred feet of the East end of the runway. They are oblivious to the aircraft.

My airport is privately owned for public use; it is not an airpark. The runway is 3800 x 60, so we don’t get 135 traffic.

But there are horses all over this county, in town, out of town, even in suburban side lots. We have two airports, five miles apart; the other airport has commercial service from three carriers.

Alongside our airport, at the middle of the runway, is a corral with perhaps a dozen horses. A row of hangars stands between the taxiway and the horses, but they don’t seem to notice airplanes, and the owners don’t complain.

We live on a municipal (city/county) airport & there is a Dr. who raises horses across the fence to the West. Also cows in a pasture across the fence to the East. Neither show any signs of concern over airplanes. The colts run & play regardless of any airplane activity.

We have raised and breed horses for years, as far as any problems with distractions or interfearance from low flying aircraft, when the mare is in heat and the stud is available, nothing is going to stop the process…


I am based at FD38 “Wellington Aero Club” in Wellington south Florida. We are a 3000′ grass strip with 250 homes. The village of Wellington is an equestrian community. It is the home of Palm Beach Polo and the winter equestrian festival which moved here from it’s long term home at Madison square gardens in NYC. There are also may show jumping and dressage events here all year. Many of the farms in town are the winter quarters for many northern horses and their trainers and owners. Properties of this type in this area sell well into the 10s of millions of dollars.

All this is happening off the departure end of our 15 runway. Our largest twin here is a Cessna 421 and there is a caravan here as well. In addition to them there are I’m guessing 50 or so singles based here. On any given day we are very active and the weekend are almost nonstop flying.

Never in my knowledge have we received a complaint from any of the property owners in this area. The horse folks near us would be very capable of causing us grief if they wanted to . Do you have any idea of the financial resources it takes to field a polo team?

We also have one property on site which has a small barn and paddock which is sometimes rented to horse show folks during the season.

Horses and planes are a fine mix with just a little courtesy on both sides.

John Resch

I reside in the Frontier Airpark located in Lake Stevens, WA. I am the owner of three horses and no plane. My horses are free choice, meaning they are both stabled and pastured. I am not a professional breeder, I mostly trail ride in the surrounding areas as well as a leisure ride thru the airpark from time to time. My horses are not bothered by the noise at all. In fact, a small group of pilots seem to be bothered by the horses. There was a short adjustment period for the horses to get used to seeing the planes, but with the patients of some of my neighboring pilots, it is a non issue now. I will also add that the planes are non existent to the horses while in flight, the horses seem completely oblivious to it. It is when the plane is taxiing that it becomes an issue much like ATV’s or loud diesel engines. I think it’s wonderful to enjoy my hobby in my own backyard so I think it’s important for others to be able to do the same. I make an attempt to coexist and put forth extra effort in training to ensure everyone’s safety because I feel it is worth it. Horses and planes can easily get along with some communication and compromise from both “sides”.

I live in Lake Geneva Aire Estates, Lake Geneva, WI. 2400 ft paved 04/22. There are two pilots here who have horses. One is at the 04 end and his horses are stabled and (small) pastured on his property. Not a breeder, but one foal about 2 years ago on purpose. Totally healthy. He has 3 now. The other is about runway midpoint and 800 feet east of the runway. He flew a Zlin that he ran up at his hangar 75 feet from the stable (noisy) and now flies a 180 HP Swift (noisy) that he runs up in the same spot. In the past we’ve had two other pilots, since moved, that had a total of 6 horses between them. We have had everything from B36TC’s to C310’s to C206’s to Cubs to homebuit RV’s to C172’s to Eagles to Pitts’s and on and on. The horses just don’t seem to care.

Our airport in Maryland (Haysfield Airpark)is surrounded by horse pasture on the west end.(they stick their head through the fence to eat grass on the taxiway) We have had 50 single engine airplanes based here along with 80 horses boarded in the pasture for 25 years. Airplanes take off regularly over the horses, they seldom even look up. Airplanes do their run up with horses grazing 100′ away with no disturbance. We fly powered parachutes 75′ over their head with no problem.

Thank you for your comments. We have a dispute going here in Paulden, AZ about the noise of airplanes ( all light) and the horses. The air strip has been used since WWII and the new settlers are complaining. I used to ride horseback at El Toro, CA and the F4’s and later F-16’s would take off right over our heads on the Marine base. The horses never looked up. However, the same settlers have ATV’s and motorcycles running down the runway and they are more annoying than any planes. It’s all in your perspective.

Big South Fork Airpark in Oneida, TN caters to both aviation and equestrian enthusiasts. Not only do they offer a 5,500 ft. runway with 4 instrument approaches, 21 “T” hangars that are 41.5′ wide, 36′ long and 12′ high and 3 executive hangars that are 60′ wide, 55′ long and 16′ high, and an on-site maintenance facility there is also an upscale stable, riding trials connecting the airpark, and access to over 180 miles of trails in the Big South Fork NRRA. Airpark Equestrian Stables offers horse boarding, riding lessons, events for kids, and much more. If you are interested in a community that offers equal advantages for aviation and equestrian enthusiasts, Big South Fork Airpark is a must see.

Pretty nice article and questions. I own a horse farm in Texas and this article and your responces guys really help me.

Comments are closed.