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Is a third of an acre enough?

(20 Posts)
FannyPriceless Sat 28-May-11 14:26:02

We have made an offer on a house, and have an opportunity to buy the adjacent field as well. It is slightly more than one third of an acre.

Now, I always understood you need about an acre per nag, so is it worth bothering with this or not?

Initially we would only want a very small lead rein pony for daughter (2.5) but eventually I would like a safe hack of my own again too.

The neighbours on each side are both building new stable blocks and each have 10 acres, but currently only two horses so I imagine there is scope for leasing some additional grazing / stabling. There is also a riding/livery stable directly across the lane from the paddock so there are few options there.
Would you buy the land?

DH's big question is - could we then sell on the property in the future as house plus paddock? Obviously this would greatly increase the value, but I think at one third of an acre you can't really call it a pony paddock. Or can you?

Sorry for rambling. My questions really are:
- Is 1/3 acre going to be enough for anything?
- Can this be called a pony paddock when we eventually come to sell the house?

Many thanks.

QuietTiger Sat 28-May-11 14:46:14

I would say that for something as small as a shetland that exists on fresh air and no grazing, 1/3 acre is probably just about do-able. For anything more, probably not.

Greenstocking Sat 28-May-11 14:56:30

I wouldn't think for a minute you could get away with calling it a pony paddock. Even a shettie would have that churned up and non grazeable within a week in winter, not to mention where you would actually ride.
Your best bet is to ask the ten acre neighbours if you can do livery with them or rent or buy an acre or two from them.
I don't consider an acre enough TBH, not for grazing and riding.

Booboostoo Sat 28-May-11 14:58:56

I don't think a third of an acre would be of any use to horse owners, but it might increase the value of the house for people who might want a large vegetable garden or orchard. If you are mainly interested in the increase in value for the house the best thing to do is ask the advice of local estate agents. If you mainly want an equestrian property either resign yourself to livery with this house or look for another house.

FannyPriceless Sat 28-May-11 15:03:38

Hmm, I suspected as much. I guess we may have to look at this as buying the land simply to preserve our own green outlook, rather than anything actually useful equestrian-wise.

Any other ideas / comments?

AlpinePony Sat 28-May-11 16:20:36

I would buy. Shettie would need restricted grazing anyway.

Butkin Sat 28-May-11 18:40:29

We have 7 1/2 acres for 1 horse and 3 ponies and can only manage it by a) having one away at livery for the summer and b) strip grazing carefully.

I would suggest that anything less than an acre can't be called an equine property and in reality you are better working on 2 acres per horse.

FannyPriceless Sat 28-May-11 21:16:52

Butkin - 2 acres? Golly. So basically this would just be a large garden then?

Greenstocking Sat 28-May-11 22:00:05

Butkin - I agree. We have 6 for one horse, three ponies and I wouldn't go any less.

In the winter a small paddock will be churned to mud and in the summer you'll have no grazing.

A friend of mine has an acre and her horse spends all winter at a livery yard..

Butkin Sat 28-May-11 22:07:02

I think the general rule of thumb is a minimum 1 1/2 acres for first horse and 1/2 acre for each horse after this. I think you could only do this with good maintenance and stabling in Winter.

Sorry to say that I think 1/3 acre is a decent garden although you could keep a Shetland on it in the Summer.

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Sat 28-May-11 23:00:24

cripes! my friend has 10 smallish ponies and 1 horse on four acres!! the record is 16, with seven being shetlands. they all sleep in at night, and after 10 years it could do with a good fertilise and a rest, but it does support them. just

Pixel Sun 29-May-11 00:54:50

To be fair I think you have to take the land in to account too so there can be no hard and fast rule. Is it chalk/clay/well drained/on a hill/in a dip/prone to flooding from a river/old pasture/new pasture. Lots of things can make a difference to how many horses a field can support. For instance, I've read that if you are putting horses on land that has previously been used for cattle (and seeded and fertilised accordingly) which happens often now that farmers are forced to diversify, then an acre per horse can be too much. The grass can be dangerously rich, especially for those prone to laminitis as it was meant for fattening cattle and producing rich milk, not grazing horses.

It is possible to keep ponies in small paddocks, but a lot more work. You have to be scrupulous about keeping it clean and take steps to avoid it turning into a bog at the first sign of rain. Plus of course you have to accept that you will need to spend a lot more on hay. I've seen it work well when people put the effort in but it isn't the easy option.

Mirage Sun 29-May-11 12:32:17

I wouldn't buy it and assume it could be turned into garden if unable to support ponies grazing.Councils are very strict about turning agricultural land into domestic if not careful,you could end up with a bit of land too small for livestock,but unable to use it for anything else.I'd ring the planning dept and enquire what their policy is before going any further.

ManateeEquineOhara Mon 30-May-11 08:08:31

The mare is on about half of an acre atm with another mare of similar size. Both are the type to live on thin air but their really is nothing in this paddock to the extent that I am giving her feeds. They have only been in their a short while to reduce it to nothing. So it could work as a summer paddock but for a couple of months at most I would imagine.

FannyPriceless Mon 30-May-11 09:54:01

Yes, my current thinking is maybe occassional use as a summer paddock, with the main grazing elsewhere, e.g. at the neighbours.

Backinthebox Mon 30-May-11 15:09:07

You can be very inventive with a 1/3 acre, but you couldn't call it a pony paddock or keep a pony and horse on it without putting some fairly extensive plans into action. However, I love a good plan, so here's what I'd do.

Buy the land - they've stopped making it, and it's always a good buy. Then get DIYing. Is it a flat, rectangular paddock?

You could split it in 2 and put a permanent yard with, say, 2 stables, a tack room and an open-front hay store on one half and have the other as a little turn out pen. If you make sure the ground is well maintained it should stand up to some heavy use. I put down hardcore with hole-y rubber mats in my winter paddock, and then let grass grow through it. I just did the area up by the gate where the horses stand in winter, begging to be allowed back in eating hay and where the water trough is, and it has coped really well. That was with 2 horses and a pony attempting to trash it too.

Alternatively, you could split it into 2 and get a little field shelter on skids, and tow that from one half to the next when you move halves so that you can rest one half, and this way would require no planning permission.

You are never going to be able to keep a horse and pony in the conventional sense on that little ground, but it's a hell of a lot more than we used to keep our ponies on when I was little. You'll get lots of people telling you it can't be done, but it can, you just need to be ingenious and put in a bit more work. If you are happy to exercise your horse most days and feed hay when everyone else's is getting grass, the little bit of land will give you somewhere to keep them and a bit of leg-stretch space for them.

Option 3 would be to buy the land, plant some fruit trees and get some chickens, and rent a place at the livery across the road.

But buy the land! My neighbour wanted to buy about a quarter of an acre from us, and a local chartered surveyor said that even used as just a buffer strip from our land it would increase the value of his property by about £35k. (This is not what we offered to sell it at, btw!) You could always convince OH by getting a valuation report done on the value of the house without the land, and one with the land - if the bit of land costs less than the increase in value you are onto a winner whatever you do with it.

Backinthebox Mon 30-May-11 15:11:41

PS my Shitland could live on the bit of grass that grows under the toddler cage cum horse desensitiser trampoline that lives in my yard. By all accounts she has been wearing it like a tortoise wears it's shell all week!

FannyPriceless Sat 04-Jun-11 21:36:48

<makes a booking with Boxy's Equine Land Management Ltd>grin

bitofthisandthat Sat 04-Jun-11 21:45:27

Plus you have to take into account that ponies dont like being alone as they are herd animals, so you would probably need to have some equine company for it. Or a llama!

Mirage Sat 04-Jun-11 21:46:14

Actually after talking to a friend today,I'd buy it.A little 7 acre plot next to him sold for £72k recently.He says when he sells up he is going to parcel it all up in tiny lots-it seems to be worth more that way.

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