Horse Questions Most Real Estate Agents Can’t Answer


We here at California Equestrian Properties know that there are countless things to consider when buying a horse property. Lots of horse questions. Especially in the equestrian niche of real estate, there are some detailed yet vital questions that most agents can’t coherently answer. With so much to consider, its always a relief to know that the person you’re working with has a well rounded knowledge of the subject at hand.


One of the most important foundations one needs to know when buying a horse property is the type of zoning the property is located in.  First off, what is zoning and how does it effect horse properties? Most horse properties and equestrian facilities are located in areas of the county called unincorporated areas. These areas are not regulated by the cities, but by the counties. In contrast with cities, the county deals with more agricultural and rural horse areas, thus they are more willing to allow for the establishment of horse properties.

Horsekeeping vs. Horse Stabling

In the county, all animal use designation areas have different regulations in accordance to the size and purpose of the property. Horsekeeping is defined by the San Diego County Zoning Ordinance as:

“The keeping of horses in a building or in an animal enclosure on premises where the horses are owned by the owners or the occupants of the premises, and where no horses are kept for commercial purposes. Horses allowed under Horsekeeping are an agricultural use.”

In the animal designation “L”, horsekeeping is permitted, meaning that one who has their horses and facilities specifically for private use may an “unlimited” amount of horses. This differs from Horse Stabling in terms of size and quantity. Because Horse Stabling is used for commercial purposes, they must be treated as such. The regulations rely solely on the amount of usable area the property has. Usable property is the amount of land that excludes any buildings or areas not deemed suitable for equine inhabitants, i.e. residences, driveways, landscaping, accessory structures, and places where there is active agriculture.  Once the amount of usable area is confirmed, there are restrictions and guidelines a horse owner must abide by. These include limits on the amount of horses per acre that a property owner may have. In almost all occasions, permits and verification are needed.


Once you find a property with “good bones”, it is time to see if that given property accommodates your riding needs. But how do you know if a property is a perfect fit for you and your equine companions? An important factor to consider is discipline. This can not be emphasized enough. Every style has its unique qualities and in turn come with different facilities and necessities. Hunter/Jumper riders need different sized rings than dressage riders, western riders may need bigger arenas and extra equipment, trail riders may not care so much for the ring as they do the trail accessibility, etc. All these factors funnel into the central influence that is the discipline. It must be ensured that the property can provide you with the accommodations you need to maintain your equestrian facility.

At California Equestrian Properties we try our best to provide you with our expertise and well rounded understanding of not only the business side of real estate, but the equestrian side as well. We know how crucial it is that you find the perfect facility that is tailored to your riding needs.

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