The decision to downsize your horse farm is likely not one easily made but may become necessary due to age, infirmity, financial distress or simply burn out after a hectic life operating a horse farm. When the time comes to hang up the riding hat, or at least downsize or retire to a smaller holding, there are several ways to navigate the change.
The Stability Factor
If it is viable from a geographic and financial perspective leasing the main equestrian facility out to a reliable trainer or other equestrian professional may be an option. If your home is located a distance from the main barn building or can be easily separated geographically with its own entrance and division, you can easily lease out the facility and stay home.
This offers you the stability of not having to move your primary residence and leave friends/family behind and provides the advantage of being on hand to keep an eye on how your property is being used and maintained.
Always execute a detailed written contract with the lessee and take legal advice as to its terms, including insurance and property damage responsibilities, vacate/ termination/renewal options.
While your ownership of several lesson horses or farm equipment can continue and be leased out in addition to the property itself, consider the option of downsizing your herd of horsepower.
The leasing option may also present an opportunity for you to continue to keep your favorite horses at the barn as a boarder and use the facilities that you are used to enjoying. At worst it will provide a useful neighbor to help keep a vigilant eye on your home and horses when you are away if you choose to keep your horses or some of them at least, on your own patch.
Taking a few favorite horses ‘home’ with you might entail adding a small new barn closer to your home. Consider the ultimate convenience of a modular or prefabricated structure. No mess, no stress and almost ‘instant’ barn in the backyard designed to meet your own custom preferences or an off the lot purchase, is a great way to go.
Storage for hay, bedding and supplies and equipment you may need such as a UTV or mower will be required. A small run-in shed may suffice, or an additional stall or two or the inclusion of a loft may cover winter needs for storage of feed supplies.
In the design of the new barn, don’t forget to consider your future athletic abilities if you are hitting retirement or have an illness or debilitating disease that is likely to worsen over time. A loft may seem a fine idea now but climbing steps to throw hay down and the labor and effort it takes to convey hay to the loft area may not be easy or safe tasks for you to complete in the future.
From a fire and access safety perspective a separate shed or outbuilding with doors that can be secured is the perfect solution for storage of flammable products such as hay or gas powered engines.
Barn design considerations might also include the addition of Dutch doors to the exterior of each stall that can open into a dry lot or pasture run. If you plan to enjoy some vacation time now that you are relieved of the onerous tasks of running the busy farm and also are no longer managing staff to muck horses out but have to take care of all daily tasks yourself, you might better enjoy your horses knowing they have the freedom to come and go in the barn as they wish without the need for strict routines of turnout, mucking and feeding schedules.
This leasing option provides you an opportunity to experience a new lifestyle without making the full commitment to downsizing permanently and is useful if your personal situation that requires retiring from the operation of the facility is likely temporary.
Subdivide and Sell
Horse properties often include extensive acreage and are often ripe for development. If no deed restrictions currently exist, then subdividing the land and selling it off in lots is likely the most lucrative option when selling up. If there are specific areas of the land you wish to protect from development, you can add a deed restriction. For example, property adjacent to your existing home that you may want to keep free of future development or the addition of an easement to a wood lot or building.
If you prefer not to see the property developed and wish to have it remain an agricultural haven, consider issuing a land conservancy on the property. In some States these are government funded.
Of course, the property can be sold ‘as is’ for use for the purpose for which the facility was intended, horses! But be aware that while a deed restriction may lessen its sales price or curbside appeal, it is the only method to protect the land from further development. Legal counsel should be sought before any documents are drawn up and executed to ensure the language protects the property the way you intended.
For some folks the idea of living adjacent to their original horse farm is too much to bear and a full sell out and move is their preference. Regardless of which method you choose to dispose of the property, selling off the horses and farm equipment as separate concerns will always yield better revenue that including them carte blanche in the sale.
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About Horizon Structures: One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners. At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.
All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –
Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.
Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook. Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business. He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.
For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com
Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.
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Grand Prix Dressage