Building a Horse Property From the Ground Up

Here’s how to design your dream equestrian setup–in this case, on a small acreage.

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Building a Horse Property From the Ground Up
Designing and building a horse property is a big project. | Photo Credit: Courtesy Ascent Architecture & Interiors

Here’s how to design your dream equestrian setup—in this case, on small acreage

Eight years ago, I dreamed of buying a small piece of country acreage and moving my horses home. I had grown up with horses in my backyard, and after riding at stables and boarding for nearly 10 years, I wanted nothing more than to wake up at 6 a.m., wander out in my pajamas to feed my horses, and stand—cup of coffee in hand—watching them munch hay. I’m not kidding.

So, during the height of the real estate market boom in Central Oregon, I convinced my husband, Seth, to sell our nearly new house on a tiny subdivision lot and buy a run-down ’70s rambler on 2.25 acres in a neighborhood backing 20,000 acres of horse-accessible public lands.

After the purchase, we had the acreage for our two horses and a ramshackle shed large enough to store hay and tack; what we didn’t have included a barn, shelters, or horse-safe fencing. Fortunately, my husband is handy, and I’m not known for sitting still long (which is conducive to tackling major projects). Plus, Seth is a licensed architect, which means he knows about permitting, designing a safe and code-compliant barn, hiring contractors, and planning for the space a truck and trailer needs to turn around (which is a lot more than you might think)

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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