Technically, any property that can keep a horse could be considered a horse property, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s ready for your horse as soon as you sign the closing papers. Something that says, “equine property” in the description could be anything from a backyard with a loafing shed to a full-blown equestrian facility with barns, stalls, and indoor arenas.

Before you consider purchasing a Colorado horse property for sale, you have to ask yourself a lot of questions about your goals, needs, and future plans. You and your buyer’s agent should discuss the following topics to narrow down your equestrian property search.

What is your equestrian discipline?

The equestrian world is vast and every discipline has different requirements that can build out your must-have features list.

  • If you practice dressage, you may want an indoor arena. A standard dressage arena is 20 meters by 60 meters (12,915 square feet).
  • A complete jumping area requires even more space: 100′ by 200′ (20,000 square feet).
  • For roping or sorting, you need an outdoor arena of at least 150’ by 250’ with pens and cattle chutes.

Of course, if you just want to raise and ride horses, an irrigated pasture with fences and an equipment shed may suit you just as well.

What type of infrastructure do you need?

Many horse properties for sale already have structures for livestock and equipment storage. Others, however, do not. Depending on how many horses you have, you might be able to get by with a single shed or you might need a few different, dedicated buildings for various purposes. You can either build or buy a horse property with existing: barns, covered hay storage, tack room, dry paddocks, equipment shed, or trailer storage.

Unlike existing buildings and structures, pens and stalls may or may not be included with an equine property. If pens and stalls can reasonably be moved, they are considered personal property of the seller. You might have to negotiate if you want these temporary structures to stay.

Where will you source your hay?

Knowing where you plan to source your hay will make a big difference in the ROI of your horse property. For example, you might pay more upfront for an irrigated pasture with covered hay storage, but it could pay for itself with the money you save from not having to buy hay elsewhere.

Covered hay storage keeps your hay safe from water and weather damage. If there’s not already a structure on the property for storing hay, you’re probably going to end up building one. Once again, don’t be fooled by a lower list price if you have to turn around and pay for building materials and labor.

Wants vs. Needs

When you buy a house, you usually make a list of wants and needs. For instance, you need three bedrooms, but you want a private balcony for the master bedroom. The same thought process applies to evaluating a horse property.

While a barn or a pen is essential to your ability to raise horses, other features are considered wants rather than needs. These are things that are nice to have but not necessary, and you could install or upgrade yourself once you purchase the property. Here’s a quick list of other features to consider:

  • Automatic waterers
  • Frost-free hydrants in close proximity to the pens
  • Electricity close to pens (for electric fencing or water heaters)
  • Wash bays
  • Tie-outs (places to safely leave your horses tied)
  • Heated tack room
  • Equipment and trailer storage (under roof is optimal)

How can you get the most out of your horse property?

At the end of the day, the most important thing with any horse property is that you have enough space for all of the essential functions, like turning around with a trailer, getting your tractor into the field, and, of course, riding your horses.

Perhaps the two most important questions to ask yourself about your future Colorado horse property are:

  • Is the property large enough to ride on, does it border public land for rides directly from the property?
  • Does it have great places to ride a short distance from the property?

If you have any more questions about buying or selling an equestrian property in Colorado, reach out to me at