Thinking About the Future

Last week we talked about designing pastures. Too much stress cannot be placed on taking the time to think out your pasture design. Taking the time to place gates where they are easily accessible and will reduce erosion can save a lot of headache later on. Those of us who have bought bare ground know the temptation to just get everything up as soon as possible, but you should think things through before you start to put in the foundation and dig post holes.

You can only construct what you can afford. But as Ben Franklin said “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”  When considering what type of pasture fence you should try to install whatever will last the longest with the lowest amount of maintenance. Now fence is maintenance free but by having well installed fence of the highest quality you can avoid high repair bills down the line.

Generally it is best to paint or stain a board fence to help delay the wood from rotting and lining a board fence with a discreet electric wire or tape will keep those horses inclined to chew away from your fence and not only delay replacement costs but also cut down on vet bills.

One aspect that people frequently forget when designing a property is that at some point you may want to sell it and while you might find cover wire high tensile fence the most economical and attractive to keep your horses in one place a potential buyer may not. One of the best examples of forward thinking I ever saw was a large and beautiful Morgan training barn in Napa, California. The shell of the building and all the interior divided space (stall, tack room, feed rooms etc.) had been designed to allow what appeared to be solidly built and attractive interior walls to be removed so that the large remaining open space could be converted into a winery.

I am not saying that you need to design your barn so it can be made over into a boutique but it is good to think about how you can make it attractive to as many other types of users as possible. If you don’t think you need to leave aisles between your pasture or stream buffers as you install your fence, think long and hard about it. It may be worth it in the long run and give you more flexibility when you sell that gelding that gets along with everyone and replace him with a cranky mare who doesn’t want any one near her.

In the end it is your place and you can build what you want but it is always good to think before you put in anything permanent. And of course, if you buy an already constructed property you have to work with what you have, while seeing ways in which you can make minor changes.

Next week we’ll talk about a new concept for people with limited acreage – the track paddock.

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Shelly Ingram

I am a third generation horsewoman; My father operated a 50 horse boarding and training facility in northern California, where he specialized in re-training spoiled horses. I was his demonstration rider and general assistant in all aspects of running the ranch. I went on to work for several major show and race horse trainers, eventually opening my own barn where I focused on Junior and Amateur riders. I have trained numerous champion horses and riders on all levels and in variety of disciplines. I have also worked as a journalist and have more than a decade of experience in land use planning.

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