It goes without saying that almost every horse owner dreams of owning property where he or she can have their horses in residence.  Horse care is an ever preHorse Property in Bozeman MTsent need, and whether you board your horse currently at a higher end facility or a budget conscious free range facility with adequate water, pasture and shelter, nothing meets or surpasses the care you would give your own horses if you just had the right piece of property. 


For some, the thought of having a horse property is beyond comprehension.  Having more than ONE horse is beyond comprehension.  Then have two kids in activities, a spouse really likes riding the horse they have at a boarding facility, and though the kids are wanting their own horses, money is tight.  But the truth is, board in and of itself is a bank account stressor. For the love towards that wonderful beast and the thrill of the ride, you make ends meet and have that "partial" dream.

What if there WAS a way? What if you had one horse because that's ALL you can afford to board.  Think again fellow horse owner.  Dreams are dreams until you come up with a plan.  And a plan means you do research and see just what it would take to own that piece of property that would be necessary for two, three or four horses so everyone in the family can ride together.


Whatever your mortgage payment is now, you do have increased equity in your home due to rising values.  Getting rid of that board you pay for one horse may be your ticket to your dream, which is now a plan, if you can crunch the numbers right.  You also may be someone from another area with a horse at a facility right now and you think you'll have to buy "just a house" when you move to Bozeman continuing the horse boarding saga.  So let's explore the numbers.

 Gallatin County Horse Properties

High End Care Facility: We verified with a high end we-offer-it-all-almost facility just outside of the Bozeman city limits. We find full care, no stalls available except for horses with an injury or infirmity who need sick bay for a while.  This equestrian care provider does a marvelous job of taking care of your steed.  You have the option of your horse being pastured with other horses 24/7, in a field with ample loafing sheds and quality feed twice a day (Price: $300 per month) or being placed in a paddock that is about 30  X  40 with a loafing shed and quality feed (Price: $425 per month.) The paddock horses are turned out for a time every day, each horse being rotated in and out of a turnout area.  If you want that turnout, it's $1 a day or $30 a month.  If your horse needs grain and you provide the grain to the facility staff to give out at meal time, the charge is $1.50 per day, or $45 per month.  If the facility provides the grain, the price is $100 per month.  Graining twice a day almost doubles the charge. For the facility to worm, it's the price of the wormer plus $5.00 each worming. There is someone there 24/7, other people are around all the time and perhaps while checking on or riding their own horse, they notice something is not right with your horse.  Boom.  Immediate notification of the facility owner who will do whatever is appropriate right then and there.  This particular owner feels horses come first, not people. She does an ace job at her trade.  Oh, and if your horse needs to be blanketed due to extreme temperatures, like -18 degrees, she'll do it for $1 each time you request it.  (More likely this would be an ill or elderly horse, or one that has been shorn because he sweats when he competes, and it's easier to blanket regularly than have him catch a cold by freezing in sweat when he's done.)  Keeping the horse clipped allows him to dry out faster, but then there’s the need for a blanket.  The horses here in Montana, if you are an out-of-stater looking to buy, become acclimated very quickly and look like woolly mammoths in the depth of winter.  Two seasons in and your horse will not be thinking a blanket is a good thing. 


Also at this facility you have an indoor riding arena available to you, along with well-kept grounds.  I've seen the horses who are kept here and the facility owner does a bang up job of caring for each and every one of them.  She provides riding lessons of all varieties for a charge and is well respected by her peers and her students.  Outsiders can ride here in the arena as well for $15 per horse per day as long as they have their Coggins and shots.


Horse Properties in Gallatin County

Other Facility Options: Now let's explore a facility offering less amenities but incredible care as well.  There again are no stalls.  This place has open pasture, feeds high grade round bales with a bit of alfalfa, but also keeps square bales without alfalfa on hand if you have an easy keeper.  Forty acres of grazing is available during spring, summer and fall, and horses are again checked daily for injuries, suspicious behavior; such as lackluster appearance, etc.  Horses with shoes do not get to run with the herd and have their own turnout times by themselves, assuring other horse owners that if any kicking goes on between all the horses, nobody takes a shoe to the face or legs.  There are ample buildings to provide protection to your horse from hailstorms, heavy rain, driving wind or blistering sun. The owner of this facility will doctor your horse when it has small cuts or contacts the vet right away when bigger issues arise.  She won't talk to you first if colic is running rampant in your horse.  She also is an ace at her trade, has two employees assisting her in ranch management, and someone is generally there 24 hours a day.  Charge is $200 which includes feed.  She is a short horseback ride through the town of Manhattan (all four streets of it) to a trail that leads to a park with a creek and trails. 


Now let's look at what you pay now for your horse, subtract out your board from your budget and add that back into what you now can pay for your dream. A dream home that includes enough acreage for your horses.  Whoo!  Big step, big dream.  Is it feasible?  Let's look. 


General Rules and Considerations: The general rule is 1.5 acres for the first horse and 1 acre for every horse thereafter.  And no, you can't graze year round.  Your acreage has to rest periodically to get a new lease on life.  You’ll also have snow covering it a chunk of the time.  You’ll find mud in the spring keeps you from letting your horses out to tear it up. You'll need to partition your fields and rotate your horses from field to field periodically.  Hay supplementation is a must.  Average price for a ton of hay?  Well, ours is approximately $180 per ton and we set aside 12 tons per year for three horses.  If you have enough acreage, say 15 acres exclusively for growing hay, yes, you can find a farmer willing to hay your field for you for a split of approximately 60-40 or 70-30; i.e., you get either 40% or 30% of the baled product.  You may think that's theft; you are supplying the land, after all.  But I'm a hay farmer and that equipment the farmer is riding around in and the equipment he is towing can be the price of a yacht.  Then there is maintenance.  Last year our old baler took its last gasp in the middle of haying season and $20K later we were dropping the rest of our hay, baling and making it available for sale. 


Type of acreage and amenities to consider: You'll want to be focused on not purchasing acreage without checking for wetlands.  Horses can't be mucking around in mushy mud 24/7 or you'll be dealing with hoof problems.  You'll want to think about rattle snakes, though many of us ride into areas with rattlers.  You'll need hay storage, a round pen or a corral in a flat area, or you'll build one that has a run-in shelter or plenty of trees around for shade from the sun or protection from hail and wind. Then there is fencing; temporary, wood post with wire, T-post with caps and rollout electric fencing, hard-wired electric fencing to your power outlet, or solar panel operated electric fencing.  You'll also need to gear up with water troughs, grain buckets, hay nets (if you use them), and a place to secure your tack.  That's easy. Get a functioning horse trailer to be your tack room.  You'll want a trailer for trailering to the vet or trailering to the wide open country, events or riding lessons for the kids.  Think about where you will put your muck pile and how you’ll get it there. You'll want to look for water spigots on the property.  Where will you put your water trough when winter hits? Is there electricity nearby to run power to the water heater you'll need for the trough?  Will you need a plow for your truck to get in and out of your driveway in the winter?  Do you mind having a bit more of a drive to shop and go to work?  There are plenty of horse sitters out there who will care for your horses while you are on vacation.  There are even boarding facilities willing to care for your horses while you are gone.  Horses!  Now remember, more horses means more teeth floating, sheath cleaning and farrier work.  But I learned to trim my own and you can too. MSU offers a seasonal class. 

Bottom line, there are many considerations and I have not listed them all. So get out your pen and paper and make your reality list.  What does your boarding facility do for you that will fall upon your shoulders if you make your dream come true?  What funds will you need to set aside or build into your mortgage in order to make your property into a horse property?  

Maybe, just maybe by looking at this dream you realize you'd rather pay someone else to continue caring for your horse because your available time or your lifestyle just doesn't match up with owning this particular dream.  Then be fair to your horse and keep him or her at a facility where your horse(s) will get the right care.  Your horse will thank you for it and you can move on to that next big dream.  It takes a dream that you turn into a plan which can be your next big reality.

If you'd like assistance finding the right horse property, please call or email me! I'd love to assist you. 
Tamara Williams (406) 223-6823 or Email me at


Bozeman Horse Communities

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