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blongtin

Can I get your opinions please??

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Ok...here it goes...this is going to be long. But advice from any of you would be great.

My wife loves horses, and she's always had one at her mom's place. Well it's gotten to the point where she cannot be there enough to spend time with her horse. The horses pretty much ends up being lawn ornaments. She is currently getting into endurance racing with someone that she met, and is using one of her friend's horse for the racing. I know that she wants one really bad, and this is something that I could get into with her. I don't have much experience other than going to a horse camp when I was maybe 12 yrs old. Well we're currenlty starting to build a house at our lake lot to live there full time. We have a 5 acre lot, but I don't think that we can have a horse at that location unless it's 300ft away from the lake, which limits any area for a horse.

Across the drive that we live on is about a 1.5-2 acre area that the MN DOT ownes. It's surrounded by a paved township road and a county highway that has alot of traffic. (The land is located almost across the hwy from a Saddle Club that's located in between Fergus Falls and Underwood by Wall Lake) It's a narrow plot of land, and about 65% of it is a hill that I would say is about a 30 degree slope. I figured from Google Earth that it's about 130 ft on one end, 800 ft long, and about 55 ft wide at the other end. The end that's 130ft wide is close to our lot and is nice and flat with some trees for shade. Currenlty it's just overgrown. My question is do any of you think this would be an alright area for having 2 horses? My wife thinks it might be enough area for them to mostly graze during the summer, and I was thinking of bringing them to our lot near the house during the winter so that they were closer, (a smaller area to roam) but easier for us to be able to feed them.

Do any of you think this would be something to persue with the MNDOT? I called the county asking who owned it and they said that the DOT does lease or sometimes sell land like that. It's useless land other than for a horse I would think. You cannot build a house or anything on this. I just want to be sure that I would be able to give a horse or two a good area to live.

We're contemplating this because we do not want to board a horse somewhere and pay someone to feed it because then we have to travel to see it. Rather than making payments to someone, we would rather pay to buy or lease land and make our own improvements (fence, etc) on it and care for them ourselves. I figure it would be good bonding rather than boarding a horse and only see it once in a while. Plus we can just take the 4 wheeler across the drive and see them.

Sorry for the long post, but I would like to get some advice from some experience people rather than going at this alone. If any of you would like to try to see an image from Google Earth to get a better idea I could work on posting a picture on this site. Thanks in advance for helping me out!!

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Try sending an email to Kent Barnard at Kent.Barnard@dot.state.mn.us -- it usually takes a couple days to get a response depending on how busy he is; however, I have found that he is very easy to work with and will point you in the right direction.

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1.5 to 2 acres isn't gonna last long for grazing during the summer. I don't know how much hay is going for in your neck of the woods but, it ain't gonna be cheap to keep two nags around. Belive me, I know.......LOL

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I've got a little over 2 acres for 2 horses. I had the local farm supply plant some good pasture grasses and it is finally starting to grow halfway decent. Prior to this, 1 acre was lawn and 1 was wooded. The 2 acres seems to do OK but I always keep hay around just in case. Plus my horses are older so I don't know if younger ones would eat it down more. Things to think about.....FENCING, what kind, do you have access to electricity if you go electric, you could use solar I guess but I don't know much about that. You said you had a busy road nearby. I was told that the owner is liable if livestock gets loose and causes an accident. Don't know if this is true or not. Worth checking into. SHELTER, especially in the winter you will want some kind of cover for the horses. WATER, got to have water access at all times. In winter you need to keep it from freezing. HAY STORAGE, need some place to store hay. Could be outside if it's covered. I use about 10-12 large squares/year. Costs about $800. Then there is grain. I need senior feed and that costs me about $1000/year. Then you have vet and farrier expenses. OK, I am rambling and probably telling yyou stuff you already know.

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1.5 - 2 acres will be a good area to board 2 horses but you will have to continuously feed hay to supplement the grass. The two horses will have that area mowed down in no time. You will need a small barn with a couple stable stalls especially for winter housing.

It will definitely cost some money for fencing, feed, and shelter but I agree that having the horses on your property will be beneficial for both you and your horses. You need to spend time with your horses for both of you to be partners. Even just spending 30 minutes a day with your horse "playing" with them makes a positive impression on your horse. They eventually look forward to having you come and spend time with them...

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Its worth a try but I doubt you'll be able to get access to that land.

Being only 130' then tapering down to 55' and bordered by a paved county rd and a busy hwy there is a safety issue there.

The setback of the fence from both roadways will reduce the usable area by almost half. I don't think a horse would be happy there because it won't be able to get away from the noise and movement of traffic. IMO, its not a place for a horse to thrive. Then there is the distance from your residence to this land. Not only is it convenient to have the horse close when it comes time to water and feed but you want them close to keep and eye on them. I wouldn't sleep at night knowing the horse is close to the hwy.

You do need to keep 300' from the lake but depending on the shape and zoning of your lot, it could be doable. This Saddle Club across the street you refer to, does it board horses? That would take care of having the horse close so you can spend more time with it. You might be able to work out a deal for a reduced boarding fees if your willing to help them out.

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Thanks for all of your thoughts. I have been doing a lot of thinking and have thought of all the things that we need to take care of before we make any moves on a horse...fencing, water, shelter, hay, etc... The Saddle Club does not board any horses so that wouldn't work.

I think we will shoot an email over to Kent B just to see what he thinks. Thanks for that contact info DuckDog.

We realize that it may not be the best area for them, but we just need to know if it would be good enough for them because we don't want to have to travel far in order to spend time with them every day. Below is a map of the area to give you guys a better idea. The area in blue is our property. The area in Green is the land owned by the MN DOT. Our other thought would be the area in red which we found out that our neighbor just bought from another neighbor that's moving. It would actually be the best location because there is actually an old cattle underpass to that property, dowfall is that it's too small of an area. My only other thought is some of the land circled in pink. It's a lower area of land so I would have to check to see how wet it gets, which I think it would be fine. It would get the horses away from the highway and possible a little more area. I would just have to convince the owner (who doesn't live there) to either sell or possible lease/rent the land to us. Which may be harder to acquire than land from the DOT. (As you can see there is a scale on the bottom of the pic, cut the number in half to get the right measurement. I double checked and it's wrong... 600ft would actually be 300ft)

What do you think? (To give you an idea...the area in red is .75 acres)

Location.jpg

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If I go by the scale at 300', your lot would be less then 5 acres and closer to 2 acres. The strip of land wouldn't be 800' but more like 400'.

If I use the scale at 600' then you have 450' from the water to the west property line. That gives you and area of 150'(east west) x 450'(north south)that could fit your needs. If you can give those distances that would help. I don't know what lies on the west side of your property, a home? If so that would make a difference.

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I apologize...it's kind of hard to see. It says 600' on the scale, but it says it in the middle of the scale. The whole scale is 600'...and at the half way point it 300'. that would be the correct measurement.

The west end of our lot is a heavily wooded area and a steep hill up to two houses. So it would be alright for boarding the horses in the winter time, but it wouldn't be enough room for them all year round.

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I would really hesitate using the red or green areas. Bordered by roads on all sides, the horses won't be comfortable and there's the liability risk should they get out onto a road and cause an accident. Yes, you will be liable.

The blue area looks better. It provides some grazing and some wooded area for shelter from wind in winter plus it's farther away from that main road.

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