Buying an Equestrian Property?



Getting ready to purchase an equestrian property is an exciting time. There are some considerations you should anticipate prior to making and offer. Whether you are a serious competitor, back yard owner, or want to run your own equestrian business here are 3 major areas to consider before writing an offer or starting the search.
To provide insight we are joined by Shannon Gilmore from Washington Fine Properties. “With over 16 years in real estate she takes an individualized approach to each transaction, tailored to her clients’ unique needs and specifications.” Shannon furthermore provides her clients extensive knowledge of equestrian properties as she lives locally with her horses.  Some equestrian properties can be found here

Size /Acreage 

• How much acreage do you need? Ideally 2 acres per horse, although horses are kept successfully on small acreage all the time. *NOTE if buying less then 5 acres check with your local Cooperative Extension / County to be certain you can have horses and review any requirements like a farm plan.
• Does the county zoning allow for the keeping of horses? Do not assume because horses are there now that it is allowed or grandfathered.
• What condition are the fields in? Is there an adequate number of paddocks? Does property allow for rotation or a sacrifice area?
• Is there any benefit that allows for a tax break such as land use or conservation easement and can you continue the activity? Ex. Haying the fields, boarding.
• Does the property suit your discipline and desires? Can you add a ring? Indoor? Or is there available ride out?
• Is the property accessible for trailers, deliveries, and parking?
• Consider Proximity to the home. Can you see the horses from the home? How close do you want to be to the barn?
• Water Source; well or town? Automatic waterers or frost-free hydrant and troughs? Is water accessible to all paddocks? If troughs, can you get a cord to them to heat them in winter?
• Who will do the mowing, weed whacking and with what? Where will you keep it?

Barn/ Stable

• What type of barn is best for your purpose? Center Aisle, Shed Row, Courtyard?
• Does it have hot /cold water? A wash rack? A tack room? Electricity? Enough storage for Hay/Shavings, tools, tractor? Outdoor lighting?
• What is the quality of the stalls? I once had to rehang stall doors and try to find stall guards and it was not fun. Look at the stalls carefully what are the sizes? Are there automatic waterers? Hay racks? Feeders? Windows that open? Stall Gates? Fans or places for fans?
• Here is a big one- Do the stalls have mats?
• Do you have a sheltered area/overhang for the horses or run in sheds? What type of access to the barn do the horses have? Can they go in and out from their stalls or do you have to turn out and bring in?
• What is the drainage like? Are there areas washed out? Will the barn flood in a heavy rain? Gutters/rain barrels? Does the wash rack have a working drain?
• If running a business- is there room for parking? A heated and cooled office space?
• Is there a toilet in the barn? Some people love a washer/dryer too.
• How accessible is it for the vet/farrier and deliveries? Not fun to put a winters worth of hay away because the delivery guy cannot get to the loft. (I know)
• Is there cell service? internet access?
• Another big one; Does the farm currently employ anyone, and do they want to stay on? Barn help, mowing etc. (always request a list of local providers, service people)

I also love to coordinate with local suppliers and one who has helped in the summer heat with new breezy stall guards is

Horse Property at an Equestrian property in Loudoun County

Horses grazing in Loudoun County Field


• What is the condition of the fencing? What type of posts ½ round, full round? Are the posts holding up? Are the boards maintained?
• Do you have enough fenced area and paddocks?
• Types of fencing, vinyl, 3 board, 4 board, no climb wire, electric.
• Cost of fencing? In our market area fencing runs between $8-12 per linear foot depending on type and another $2 per foot to paint it black. There are some programs available to protect the water shed if you have ponds or creeks so be sure to check on that.
• Are the gates in working condition and can you open and close them? Do you have a way to keep your horses off the road should one get out, such as a gated entrance?
• Do you need a riding ring? Is that fenced or open? What are your needs based on what you like to do?


Owning a horse property can be a wonderful experience. Everyone’s needs are different so consider what you want, what you can live with, and maybe what you will add later. I currently live with my 3 horses Bella, Nikki, and Blue in Philomont Virginia where I sell residential property and yes, horse farms aka equestrian properties . How can I help you ?

Shannon Gilmore and Equestrian Property

Shannon Gilmore with her horses at a Loudoun County Farm