Horse Around With Kentucky Equine Properties
There’s no country in the world that’s as fond of horses as the United States. Of the roughly 59.3 million horses in the world, 10.26 million live right here in the U.S. What’s more, horses are protected by both the Horse Protection Act of 1970 as well as the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act — a bill that country music legend Willie Nelson helped pass. Needless to say, Americans of many trots of life love horses, especially in Kentucky.
Kentucky and Its Horses
Not only does Kentucky produce more horses than any other state in the country, but Lexington, Kentucky is often described as “The Horse Capital of the World” — which is fitting, given that the city hosts the National Horse Show every year. Of course, the Bluegrass State also hosts the Kentucky Derby among many other equine events like the Kentucky Three-Day Event, which is held at the renowned Kentucky Horse Park. Some of Kentucky’s high-end thoroughbreds can be worth as much as $75 million, but non-racing horses can be adopted for $400-$600 or roughly $2,000 with training. Moneycrashers.com estimates that the monthly costs of owning a horse to be in the $200-$325 range, so it’s not just a hobby for bored jet setters. So, what should Kentucky real estate agents know to best serve this herd of horse-loving clients?
Horses and Real Estate
According to a recent Realtor.com survey, almost 95% of pet-owning homebuyers reported that they thought about their pets’ needs when choosing which home to buy. Now, many of the respondents were dog owners, but if a client is passionate about their horses, then they’ll likely have some property attributes in mind during the buying process. Be mindful of the following features that equine lovers prioritize to best saddle up these stallions with the perfect home:
- Location: Kentucky’s bluegrass country is among some of the most sought-after equestrian property thanks to its rich soil and nutritious grass. Additionally, most horse-owning clients wouldn’t say neigh to a property that’s in close proximity to a local equine veterinarian, which could be a good starting point to hone in on the perfect listing.
- Acreage: If your client is planning on letting their horses graze, the University of Kentucky recommends a stocking rate of two to three acres per horse.
- Terrain: Generally speaking, Kentucky’s gently rolling hills are great for riding, but horses need a relatively flat surface upon which to stand. Horses have delicate tendons that can become overstressed if they spend too much time on a slope, so properties that offer a combination of terrain types might behoove your client.
- Shade/Shelter: Like any mammal, horses need a place where they can have shelter from the elements as well as keep cool and relax — so properties that offer some kind of barn will likely gallop to the top of your client’s wish list. Bear in mind that any stables or structures on the property should receive a safety inspection.
- Fencing: Fencing can get expensive — the materials for farm fencing alone range in price from $2-$20 per linear square foot. If a property has equestrian fencing that’s in good shape, it’ll be a huge plus for your horse-loving client.
- Parking/Storage: While it’s not an issue for most equestrian properties given their acreage, moving horses can require large trailers that the owner might want to keep on the property. Many equine owners also need a temperature-controlled space called a tack room to house expensive riding gear, so properties with a built-in tack room (or space to create a tack room) could have your clients jumping for joy.
- Zoning: Always double-check the property’s zoning classification. Unless zoned for agricultural use, it may be unlawful to own horses. Research the zoning classification of any listings that you find before showing them to your client to avoid any issues down the line.
As always, if you’re unsure what your client needs to support their horses, just ask! Sit down with your client to draw up their must-haves, then start looking for properties that fit the bill. To further serve this population, we recommend using all of the resources at your disposal. In Kentucky, there’s no shortage of people who are willing to talk about proper equestrian care. If you have a friend who’s an equestrian veterinarian, ask if you can pick their brain about how to best serve your equine-inclined clients. After all, each healthy horse generally receives a check-up at least twice per year, so vets see it all — including the properties.