Question: Homes, hangars and horses

Reader Elaine Evans is looking for a little guidance. Post your comments below so everyone can learn.

We are having a problem with horses on one acre lots with homes and hangars. There is not much room for horses. A couple can have up to three horses. Any advice? Airparks with horses, how big are the lots?

10 replies on “Question: Homes, hangars and horses”

Greetings Elaine,

I do not (yet) reside at an airpark, but currently live on a horse farm as my wife Jessica is a professional Three Day Eventer. I can tell you as the one who is responsible for this aspect, pasture management is quite tricky. I live in NJ (the state animal is the horse) and as much as we love them here, I believe there is a law on the books requiring an acre per horse. (I can’t promise that is a law, it may be a rule of thumb used by most equestrians.) Currently we have five horses residing on our farm. Three ‘live out’ in the pastures utilizing a run in shed. Being out almost 24/7 really can take a beating on the pasture if not carefully managed. The other two horses spend about 14 hours a day outside and the other 10 in the barn or being ridden. We have a total of six acres allocated to turn out, and it is divided into four (1 1/2 acre) pastures. ROTATION is the key! If you are not resting a pasture (NO HORSES) for a period of time, it is virtually impossible to keep it healthy. The period of time varies with the time of year as the grass will come back quickly in the spring and fall, but will require more time in the dry summer. It is also important to rest the pasture without horses while fertilizer is applied and soaked in. The ability to fertilize and adjust the pH is even more important on horse pastures as they do considerable ‘damage’ with the urine and feces and also by the fact that they ‘rip’ the grass as they graze. This may sound silly, but studies have shown that a clean cut by a mower compared to a tear and rip from a horse grazing leaves the grass in two very different states. The ‘damage’ done by grazing requires much more energy/nutrients devoted to the grass to ‘heal’ from, as well as to repair the potential uprooting.

I guess what I am saying in summer, is that three horses on an acre shared with pavement, a house, garage, and hangar seems a bit much. A better option would be two horses or a horse and a donkey for company. But even more important would be having at least two pastures so that one can be rested; there is just no substitute for giving the earth a break. Good luck! And if I can be of any further assistance, don’t hesitate to write me at I’d love to assist in helping horses and planes living together in harmony, as that is what we look forward to ding one day!

Matthew Kiener

Lot size is a bit like sex…how do you use it. Having a house on stilts with horses grazing beneath…or a multi level garage with pastures above, etc.

But on a more sane level horses generally require more than 1 acre.

The lot sizes in the 96 lot Air Park we are currently building at Sagebrush Trails Estates range from 5.46 to 6.46 acres. Good Luck.

Thank you so much for your comments on horses and airparks mix. Our problem is one acre with a home, hanger and whatever pasture area with three horses. Can you imagine the flies and sanitation problems with 3 horses on the property, also? Neighbors have been very upset.

I have a few questions…such as do the neighbors clean up the horse manure, or drag the area? Also I have been out west a little bit and it doesn’t seem like tumble weeds would make a good dinner for horses, so they must be supplementing them with hay and grain? I agree that pasture rotation is important if you are using that as your main feed source, but if it is like a dry lot then rotating the pastures wouldn’t matter much…As far as one acre…we here in the city are accustomed to having horses in a 12×12 stall with a small (maybe) 20x20ish run out area, and this is perfectly acceptable. If you have any further questions feel free to ask me…I do a combo of small and large animals at the practice I work at.

I just thought about this…I noticed I don’t know where you live, and I assumed since I have been looking at some airparks in Arizona and California that have smaller lot sizes because of the larger population around them, and I thought this might be the case with your 1 acre lot size. But I still do strongly agree with rotating pastures if you are in an area of the country that allows you to do this. Some of the ones I have looked at in Arizona are just cactus and dirt, so you would have to supplement them with hay and grain. If however you are in Midwest or east coast area is a good philosophy. Hope this helps you!!

I am familiar with a situation like this where I live. Have you read the Covenants and Restrictions that you bought under, hopefully read, and agreed to when you bought? It sounds like you bought knowing horses were allowed. Most airparks are located in a rural areas where animals of all types are allowed, not just horses.

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