What do I really need in this search for a farm? I need at least four acres of pasture. An acre for each horse I have. Of course,plenty of people put ten horses on five acres, but the rule of thumb is an acre a horse. That way, the pastures stay nice and grassy and don’t get eaten down too quickly and the horses have room to gallop. So I need at least four acres.
I also need a house (and laugh if you want- I found a beautiful farm I was prepared to live in one of the horse stalls to have. The Boyfriend had to talk me down). It doesn’t have to be a huge house, but we’ll have four dogs and six cats (at least four of the cats will be indoor/outdoor, though). So we need room to move. And room for all of Boyfriend’s fishing stuff and gun collection, and my books and horse stuff. We might even need a separate room each. Plus the bedroom. And a living room. Boyfriend also wants a nice kitchen, because unlike myself, he can cook without burning the whole damn house down.
A garage. If there isn’t a barn on the property, the garage will be turned into a barn. If there is a barn, Boyfriend will be ecstatic to have a place to park his beloved sports car.
So. Really only three necessities. Land for the horses. A house for us. And a place for the horses to get inside in inclement weather.
YOU WOULD THINK THIS WOULD BE EASIER TO FIND.
Boyfriend mentioned the other day that I might be getting greedy. (Not that he isn’t.)
Because in all the searching I do, I tend to gravitate to twenty acres. I really want twenty acres. I really want an arena and a place to trail ride and some open space to run on. I really want an ACTUAL FREAKING FARM. I even found one! (Actually, I’ve found two within our price range, but since the first was the aforementioned houseless wonder, we won’t count it.) It’s wonderful. Two barns on twenty five acres with a house and an indoor arena and a quarter mile track! It used to be an old racehorse training facility and I want it so badly I can taste it.
The problem is that it needs a lot of work. This is a farm that hasn’t been functioning in ten plus years. And it isn’t just that everything needs to be cleaned or lightly repaired, either (although some things do need to be repaired). It’s the simple fact that the upkeep for a twenty five acre farm… isn’t exactly easy. There’s this saying that a well maintained barn can run itself… straight downhill. Meaning that to keep a well maintained barn well maintained, you need to do a lot of maintenance. And while I’ve always had the dream of opening up a Thoroughbred rescue, realistically it shouldn’t be a goal. Rescues need volunteers and grants and money and insurance and sponsorship for vet care and money. A lot of money. Each of my horses cost roughly two hundred dollars a month- in a good month, where no one has injured them self or knocked over fenceposts or gotten sick. Two hundred is their bare minimum for food, hay, hoof care, medicine, and supplements. Now, understand that my horses (except for Destiny the draft) all need special care. Kahlua gets medicine every evening because she used to have a neurological disorder called EPM. Lucky gets medicine every night because she was abused before I rescued her and has so many problems that to list them would take an entire novel. Lucky, Kahlua, and Romeo all get supplements for their hooves and joint supplements (Kahli and Rome because they’re working and Luck because she has had arthritis since she was three years old) and alfalfa hay to help digestion and fix/prevent more ulcers. Their care sort of goes above and beyond what an easy keeper would need, but in the world of ex-racehorses, this is just getting started on what they need to thrive.
All in all, just the idea of opening up a rescue right now makes me tired. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Which is when I ask myself, do I need twenty acres? Or do I just want a cross country course and a track? The answer is the second one.
I tell myself that using the extra fifteen acres to make hay would be useful because then I wouldn’t have to buy hay! But to buy the equipment to cut and bale hay is a boatload of money and to actually make money, or even just break even, I would need around sixty acres of premium grass to make into hay. So that’s off the list.
Onto what Boyfriend wants.
And a fenced backyard in which we can put The Dog From Hell (aka Angel the Border Collie) when she needs to run off some steam.
He also really really wants a garage, which means that I would need a barn for the kids.
So we’ve almost compromised. We’re looking for five plus acres with a barn, a decent house, a deck, and at least a backyard where we could put in an Angel fence, if there isn’t one there already.
The problem is our price range. It’s low. We’re just starting out, and our price range is loooooow.
In this price range of looooooow, and fulfilling these five needs, we’ve found a farm we can afford that I don’t completely like (see Perfect- A Search as well as Perfect- A Failure), a farm I like more (but still don’t love) that we can’t afford, and the farm that we can afford and I love, but is already under contract with a buyer.
At this rate, I’m ready to just quit. I’ll give in and get anything that’ll get my horses in my backyard before Halloween.