Lancaster County Resident Objects To Amish Keeping 2 Horses On Half-Acre Lots

It seems the most contentious issue with Amish moving into Lancaster County towns and subdivisions has to do with housing horses.

Amish have been seeking allowances to keep horses on smaller-than-normally-permitted properties.

Who among the Amish wants to live in a suburban or “in-town” home? These may be young families, or older retired couples, who have downsized from the farm, but still need to keep buggy horses.

Amishman Levi Stoltzfus tried in April to get the East Hempfield Township ordinance changed. He asked for an allowance of an additional horse per acre. Stoltzfus’ request was rejected, despite him arguing that “an only horse is a lonely horse.”

Now the township is considering a revision to allow two horses on a half acre property. Currently, just one horse is permitted per acre.

They would also permit them in residential/village zones, not just in the township’s “agricultural zone.” The change would entail “strict manure, odor and noise control measures.”

East Hempfield Township lies just west-northwest of Lancaster city. This is not traditionally a heavily Amish-settled area, as the bulk of the Amish live in the eastern side of the county. But recent years have seen Amish moving west in the county.

Lancaster County Townships

The ordinance does not explicitly mention the Amish. But it is understood that it would apply primarily to them (and I suppose, any of the county’s Old Order Mennonites who might consider moving into the area).

Objections

But a local resident has objected, alleging religious favoritism in a legal memorandum (via Lancaster Online):

Relaxing the ordinance would benefit “Amish persons at the expense of others” and “advance the practice of the Amish religion,” an attorney for resident Richard Szarko said in a memorandum to the township.

Furthermore:

In objecting to the proposed revisions, Szarko, of Shenck Road, cites road apples and increased congestion if neighborhoods are subject to regular horse traffic. His attorney’s memorandum further contends horses will be deprived of a field for grazing and “a quiet existence.”

Szarko’s attorney Virginia Morrison also argues that the proposed change “encourages Amish to populate the area in higher numbers” and “advances the practice of the Amish religion in the township, regardless of whether it is to the detriment of other non-religious residents.”

Arguing for the other side, an official sees horses as basically analagous to motor vehicles:

“This is about transportation, plain and simple” supervisor Tom Bennett said. “We don’t regulate the number of vehicles that someone owns, and in my view I don’t think we should be regulating the number of horses that an Amish person can utilize for transportation purposes.”

Many people want to be close to the Amish; some people move to Amish areas specifically for this reason. But not everyone is so fond of having them, or their horses and their leave-behinds, around.

To be frank, a cookie-cutter subdivision of half-acre lots filled with Amish residents is an amusing picture to imagine. But maybe that picture is closer to reality, at least in Lancaster County, than we might think. A vote on the ordinance could come as soon as August 21.

What do you think? Is two horses on a half-acre lot a reasonable rule? Would you like to have Amish horses in your neighborhood?

Photo credits: Lancaster Co. Township Map – USGenWeb Archives;

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    97 Comments

    1. Ronald Wallace

      Fairness

      I see no good reason why the Amish can not have the two horses ;As long as there is feed for the two and room to exercise some. Horses are a nice sight to watch and not loud. Feed is important to me.

      1. annie smith

        horses in Lancaster pa

        Im relocaing a sustainable farming business to Lancaster where I lived over thirty years ago. I was a night editor for the LJ and I got to know the photographer (name escapes me) and he was befriended by the Amish and as a result he captures some of the most fascinating photographs of the people. I later returned to an off the road part and got photos of corn stalks and tobacco barns and even a roadside market with two Amish girls. I have always cherished the Amish and their lifestyle. I moved out to Arizona and while I still worked in the news industry, I kept in pace with all that I loved in the country of Lancaster, Pa. and the great food. Now, returning, I find it harder for people like me to not just operate a clean, profitable farming business that can produce jobs but also put my soil formulas on the map.The problem is I have two horses and I want farm pets for my granddaughter. What is happening with farm animals being restricted because of PEOPLE and subdivisions? I can take my toys and go home for that matter. A. Smith

    2. Liz

      horses on small lot

      No, It is not fair to the animals as well as existing neighbors. Horses require grazing as well as manure care. The one horse per one acre should remain as law. If the property is not large enough, the owner should consider moving. Also, horses could have another, smaller animal as a companion.

      1. Patty Sherwood

        And yet...

        The “English” horse owners have horses that are stalled 24 hrs a day and “may” get some yard time and this is perfectly acceptable in our world. I can find you huge barns all over the US that have horses that are not out grazing…..So, in my opinion this reasoning just doesn’t fly.

        1. Robin

          Amish do not seem to be concerned about the welfare of their animals

          To the Amish, animals (as we’ve seen with the state of their Puppy Mills) perceive animals as truly beasts of burden, work animals, “things” of use.
          Just because the English keep their horses in stalls so often does not mean it is not abusing the animals. There are a lot of things our ancestors used to do with animals, and we have spiritually advanced enough not to do those things to animals.

        2. annie smith

          horses in Lancaster pa

          Seriously, out West, horses are fed hay and grain because there are no green fields of grass to graze on. People are also given the benefit of the doubt that they will feed and care for their horses. Most of the horses in Arizona other than up North, are penned or in “turned out” into fields. I was able to have 9 horses an acre, a lot, but people do it, especially those who take in unwanted horses. This is in addition to other farm animals. Who would think that cities and California, would be the ones that are more considerate of the rights of horse and pet owners. If you don’t like horses and farms…move! I’ve been gone from this area almost thirty years and I now have to focus on a large piece of land AWAY from people. AZS

        3. Horses and acreage

          Just because many horse farm owners have stalls for their horses, does not mean those horse farm owners care about their horses. In fact, horses, similarly to cows, are livestock; raised for profit. They are not considered to be living, sentient beings, with needs. A stall is nice to keep them out of the elements. That is not the only way to care for them. They need room to run as well as stand still!

      2. Horses in subdivision

        I agree. Amish are not known for taking good, compassionate care of their livestock. A 1/2 acre for two horses is ridiculous!

        1. Kiki

          Janice, is that based on personal observation or just a stereotype based on bias against the Amish and their misunderstood culture? Though there are very abusive non-Amish Americans, we don’t make the statement, “Americans aren’t known for their good care of their animals.” do we? That’s an unjustified, bigoted statement. Don’t be someone who fuels that kind of attitude.

          1. Ingrid Miller

            Well said!

            I completely agree, very well said!

            1. Marie Kennedy

              Horses on half acre

              I would rather hate to see this as horses need more space to roam and graze especially since a lot of Amish do not feed the best hay etc. to their animals. On the other hand if an Amish can keep horses in town on 1/2 acre then English should also be allowed to do this as well. I see this becoming a big mess -literally

            2. Horses and acreage

              Ingrid: Before you agree with someone about a comment someone makes, perhaps you should ask the commenter for clarification? I do have personal knowledge of how many Amish raise and care for their animals. I live in Amish country! Clearly, my standards for animal care are much higher than yours, which is why I do not have kumbaya feelings about the Amish. AS I said before, I do respect their right to their beliefs and their desire to live a lifestyle of their choice. By the same token, I firmly believe that one can tell the character of a people by the way they treat their animals. One may live a “simple” life and claim to be Christian, but, if one does not treat one’s animals as living, sentient beings, one is a hypocrite. In my opinion. By the way, this goes for non-Amish as well!

          2. Horses on limited acreage

            Kiki: Yes, it is based upon personal knowledge. I live in a state with a lot of Amish. I have lived in two different regions of this state, where Amish live. I have done business with several of those Amish families for different products. Because I am an animal lover, I always look to see if the animals on their farms are well treated. Too often they are not. The horses are frequently scrawny and dirty. They are tied up for hours in the sun, on hot days, without any water provided. The dogs are flea-infested and filthy and usually not spayed or neutered. The cats fare no better. I have seen puppies being sold outside Amish stores, in full sun, without water, panting from thirst and heat. When I have spoken with the store owners regarding the puppies, each time, I was rebuffed and essentially told to mind my own business. I could tell they were embarrassed and angry at the same time. There have been cases of puppy mills being busted and the owners arrested for animal abuse and neglect. So many people have this romantic vision of the Amish because of their lifestyle. Amish are not always nice to outsiders even though they willingly take their money. Amish are no different from the “English”! There some good ones, and some bad ones. I have become friends with a few different Amish families. I used to buy baskets from one woman, quilts from another, and baked goods from a third family. We always spent some time chatting about our respective lives. One time, I broached the subject of animal welfare with one of the women because she had a very sick cow on hand, and had tied her puppy to a tree. I begged her to call the vet and to allow the puppy to mingle with the family. She did promise to call the vet and did free the puppy. The following year, when I returned to her property to buy more baskets, I asked about the cow and puppy. She had given the cow away because she couldn’t afford the vet care, and had given away the puppy because he was too much of a handful. She had another puppy, also tied to a tree, did untie her upon my begging her to, but, did not want to have her spayed because she wanted to breed her to make money. Per usual, the pup was full of fleas. I offered to buy it some flea medicine. She refused because she wasn’t planning on allowing the pup indoors. I was disheartened by her plan and offered to buy the puppy from her. She refused. I’ve seen chickens for sale in cages so full with barely any standing room, let alone sitting space. Do non-Amish do the same? Of course they do! My point is, why allow anyone, Amish or “English”, more opportunity to mistreat animals? To me, because of the way so many Amish treat their animals, they are no different from non-Amish except in lifestyle. I respect their religious beliefs and choice of lifestyle. However, I do not have respect for the way they treat their animals. I no longer visit or do business with any of those families because I have moved to a different region. It is in this region that puppy mills have been busted.

          3. GlassHOUSE

            Judgement

            Well said Kiki

      3. Leslie Kendall

        I guarantee you’ve never had horses.

        1. Abraham

          Lessie Kendall

          Read Yoder
          Read Maureen
          Denise
          Liz
          PK
          Janise Reamer

          Several of these people are in the horse business; I am for more than 45 years. If you say horses are just standing around when in pasture, you don’t know horses. The best wellness for a horse is a pasture – free range to be free. Enough said. If you are a horse person [which I seriously doubt] I feel sorry for your horse!

          1. Leslie Kendall

            Yes, I am a horse person and I guarantee my horse is healthier than any that’s abandoned to a pasture and unused. And they DO TOO JUST STAND AROUND. If you’ve EVER seen one running, there was a predator after it. They have NO REASON to do anything but stand unless they’re threatened or asked to by a rider. These people who are so worried about a horse having a pasture….I’ll tell you what. LET’S MAKE A LAW that you can’t have a dog unless you have 5 acres for it to run around!!
            Oh, one more thing, let’s MAKE A LAW that anyone who uses a car has to park it 5 ACRES AWAY from their house.

            1. Caring for horses

              Kate: Caring for horses entails, proper-sized, clean stalls, with fresh hay. Proper food. Fresh air. Regular exercise, because, too little exercise can cause colic in a horse. Space to roam at will during the day. A good bath on a regular basis. Shoes cleaned and shod. Teeth cleaned. Saddle sores cared for. Some people love their animals in their own way, and do not subscribe to my definition of good horse care. They believe that if a horse isn’t jumping or running around all the time, it never does, or doesn’t need to. It is true that horses do not run around all the time. DO they enjoy doing so whenever they want to? Yes, they do. It’s common sense.

              1. Yoder in Ohio

                To Janice & Kate

                Good answer, Janice! I am going to go into a bit more detail just because I have time and think it’s worth elaborating on.

                Our horses are all kept in box stalls where they can turn around or move freely at will while stabled. All the stalls in our barn open directly to the barn yard except one. When horses need to be kept in the stall in nice weather (such as when the farrier is coming) we keep the sliding stall doors open in nice weather with a rubber coated chain across the doors so the horses can look out (on in) but not “escape.” In each stall there is a hay-manger with built in feed trough and a water pail. We feed the horses dry feed twice a day, using a mixture of grains and during the summer, a mixture without corn. Each stall also has a mineral block the horses can lick for salt & minerals. We clean out and refresh water twice a day. (Water gets yucky quickly from grain falling out of their mouths or wisps of hay.) Once a week or so, I scrub water buckets with soap, warm water, and a brush. (They can get a bit slimy otherwise.)

                Every morning and evening, I use a shavings-fork to pick out clumps of manure and I dump those on the manure pile, which is on a cement pad right behind the barn. Once a week or so, I’ll shovel out the damper spots and at least monthly, remove all the shavings and put fresh shavings in. We sweep our barn floor through the center aisle twice daily and pressure wash it several times a year as well as blowing down any cobwebs.

                Our horses can usually go in & out at will in nice weather. Our pasture is divided into four sections using nylon shocking fence. The horses can always access the main “yard” most of which is cemented, but every week or so we close the gate to the week-long-grazed patch and open a new patch of pasture. I then mow the long uneaten grass in the “old” patch and a few days later, walk over it with a backpack sprayer full of 24-D to spot spray any thistles, burdocks, etc. In the main barnyard is always a salt block and a water trough. Each patch of pasture has access to a shady spot, though some more than others.

                I don’t like to turn a horse out with a halter on unless it’s a break-away halter that will tear should the horse get it caught. During daylight in fly season, we put mesh fly-masks on the horses so the flies can’t settle on their faces. We also spray the horses with fly-spray in season. The spray isn’t 100% effective, but sure helps!

                In warm weather, the horses get less grooming unless we are using them. They like to roll around in the grass and that helps make for less grooming, though it can be a different story if they find a muddy patch they like after a rain! In the spring when they are shedding winter coats, they roll around a LOT. In cold weather, we put stable blankets or rugs on the horses. These are designed so the horse can be turned out to run in cold weather and still wear their blanket. We use two weights of blankets depending on the weather. In cold weather after working a horse, they need to be cooled down before they can be blanketed, so we use fleece cooling sheets, draping it over the entire horse from the ears to over the tail. After the horse is cooled, we remove the sheet and put the regular blanket on and fasten it. We then hang the fleece sheets up to dry and air and wash them periodically.

                Grooming is not just for appearances — it helps keep the horse healthy! We keep the manes trimmed just being the ears where the bridle sits. Grooming does make a horse look better, but also removes dirt, dried sweat, and dead or shed hair.In seasonal weather, we bathe them with warm water from an outside faucet just for this purpose. In warm weather when we arrive home with a sweaty horse, we rinse it off with the same warm water and because we use biothane harnesses, we rinse the harness off at the same time. Start at the feet and work up — that way you won’t chill the horse, which can be dangerous. The same for giving water to drink when heated — it’s better to let them cool down a bit first.

                Our horses get wormed quarterly, varying wormers so there will be no immunity. A farrier comes every 6 weeks to re-shoe our horses. Several times a week, I treat their hoofs with Corona hoof-oil to keep the hoofs soft like your fingernails. (Which also helps with shock absorption as they trot on paved roads.) We “paint” that gooey stuff on with a brush and take care to get plenty on the “frog,” the softer part on the inside of the bottom of the hoof.

                We buy the best hay we can afford and keep it stacked on wooden pallets so the barn cats can patrol under the hay. 🙂 We store feed in metal bins so rodents can’t get to it, though we recently added a wooden bin raised off the floor for more feed storage. We get fresh feed delivered every 3 weeks.

                We clean our harnesses most often just with warm soapy water, but a few times a year will wash them more thoroughly with a spray-on nylon soap and in-between such cleanings, might shine them up a bit with Armor-All. We replace sweat pads on the breast-straps and saddle yearly, more often if they start to crack. Harnesses may need adjusting as horses gain or lose weight.

                I’m sure I’m overlooking things, but that gives a little more insight in to horse ownership. They are a lot of work and upkeep isn’t cheap, but caring for our horses properly isn’t just a duty, it’s a pleasure to be rewarded with healthy horses who are sleek and shiny, bright-eyed, and eager to work and a joy to watch them turned out to grass as they make little leaps and race off across the pasture. Our horses are important to us! 🙂

          2. Leslie Kendall

            A horse that’s kept in a stall:
            * Has CONSTANT care and grooming for a healthier coat and skin.
            * Has a larger dry lot to be in to keep their hooves from getting a fungus and rotting from wet ground.
            * Is fed better feed and nutrients than a pasture can provide.
            * Is in an environment away from predators.
            * Doesn’t have flies and gnats all over them.
            * And if an issue does come up, they’re in a place where you’ll catch it sooner by eye or nostril secretions or coughing rather than waiting to see them drop down in the pasture.
            * And DO YOU KNOW that the “modern” way of keeping a horse has increased their mortality from 20 TO 30 YEARS?
            Yeah, put them in a pasture.

            1. Horses in stalls

              Keeping a horse in a stall might keep its coat shiny, but it won’t make the horse very happy! Horses roam by nature. They need space to move. Unless the owner is very strict about getting the horse(s) frequent exercise during the day, a horse kept in a stall will not be happy!

              1. Leslie Kendall

                A horse is kept in a stall because it IS being used. Think about having to keep your car 5 acres away from your house in a possibly muddy or snowy pasture. And if all you got from what I said was “a shiny coat”, I feel sorry for you. I also said modern care has increased their lifespan by 10 years!! I would invite you to search for a video where an organization found a wild sick mustang and took it to a ranch where it was KEPT IN A STALL. Constantly had human contact and a healthy diet. After many months, possibly years, they took it back to it’s herd. It ran off with the herd for a long time but just as they were packing up to leave, it came running back to “go home” with the humans. And I’d like to know how you ask a horse “if it’s happy”. Do you think a dog prefers human contact or to be left out in a back yard? You people who don’t have any experience with horses think you know what’s best but you’re just FLAT OUT WRONG.

                1. Rice Farms

                  Less than half acre lot!

                  Leslie, you are missing the point. No one is saying “just pasture” or “pasture in lieu of a barn/shed shelter”. BOTH are needed for a sound horse – no one should argue this point, as it’s fact. A horse needs shelter as well as space to gallop, canter, trot and roam free for several hours a week.

                  Here we turn out horses daily in rotation at least three/four times a week in appropriate weather conditions. We alternate between 20 to 25 horses three to four times a week. EVERYONE IN THE HORSE BUSINESS KNOWS this helps cut down on all sorts of health issues. How you could argue this fundamental necessity for overall equine wellness is a wonder. Do horse owners overlook this vital necessity? Sure, just like they neglect feed, and ignore overt health issues as well. We all know people who are harsh and treat their animals poorly. This type usually has a disregard for their neighbor as well.

                  However this topic was about two horses living in really less than 1/2 acre living conditions within an already developed neighborhood.

                  Quite plainly it’s wrong not to consider neighbors that live all around you – at least four neighbors in this artical would be highly effected. It violates their existing living conditions in many ways, and was not zoned for two horses. The horses that will live on less than this 1/2 acre lot are also to be considered.

                  The article is about an Amish family – that wants zoning changed to accomodate their horses – they obviously own a buggy – less land as there is an existing house sitting on the 1/2 acre already. They would then need a double shed at the very least – even less land. Do you see what I’m saying here? You are going to then ask these horses to pull the buggy and it’s passengers on hard pavement, then stand idle for the duration. Less than ideal conditoins for the horses, correct?

                  Less land to stock feed and hay. Less land for waste. How this zoning will pass in the Amish family’s favor would surprise most.

                  How can you possibly see this as being okay to both existing neighbor’s and horses invovled?

                2. HORSES AND ACREAGE

                  Kendall: Owning horses does not necessarily make one an expert on them. Just as putting them in stalls does not necessarily mean they are being given more or less than adequate care.

            2. Patty

              Stalled horses...

              Seriously? Our pampered horses have more health issues than every. Cikic, ulcers, tbey used to be unheard of, mental issues are rampant! For an amish horse to make a 30 mile trip pulling a buggy, I am pretty sure would be overjoyed to stand in a stall.

    3. Bee Hine

      Horses

      Would be nice for them. Where I live you have to have minimum 5 acres per horse . Ridiculous amount .

    4. Kiki

      Horses

      Yes! I’d LOVE to see Amish in southern Oregon, especially Klamath Co.! Perhaps more people would start using buggies! We could learn a lot from slowing down. I love the simpler life and in our area I’ve seen up to 5 horses on a small lot. As long as they’re well tended, I see no reason to prohibit the Amish from having 2 horses on 1/2 ac..Their horses are well-worked so, in reality, don’t need as much room as horses that are more decor than actually used daily for transport. The Amish transportation horse needs a nice area to rest but not a lot of space to move around, since it gets lots of exercise off the property. This sounds more like an issue based on prejudice towards being Amish, rather than actual care for horses.

      1. Would be neat to see Amish living as far out as Oregon. Here’s the story of one long-ago Oregon community, at McMinnville: https://bramanswanderings.com/2012/08/19/amish-in-oregon/

        Good point on the exercise of Amish horses. I do wonder how much this varies across communities and situations. Some settlements have more dependence on English drivers for transportation. Or if someone lives in town or nearby, they don’t necessarily need to hitch up to run errands – two legs or a scooter could suffice. But in general, point well taken – an Amish horse is probably getting a good bit more exercise than a “decor horse” (nice term).

        1. Kiki

          Thanks Erik, I do love all your articles! And thanks for the link about Amish in Oregon!
          Around here, horses are kept but I rarely see them ridden or used for work. The roads here aren’t made with thought about slow-moving vehicles at all; no shoulders! Just about a 2 ft wide space then a ditch! So dangerous, especially when drivers are going about 65 mph. People need to SLOW DOWN! Horses are just decor around here and, unfortunately, I don’t think much of the whining about the welfare of Amish animals has anything to do with the animals but is a dislike of the Amish and the way they interpret scripture. Sad. Keep up the great work Erik!

          1. Thanks Kiki! I think dislike of the Amish is behind it in some cases, but I would also have questions about practical things like what PJ raises above (manure disposal, etc). But I think the objections in this case sound in large measure (though certainly not completely) ideological.

            1. Kiki

              I agree, as the man’s arguments are tainted with ideological bias.

    5. Lisa

      Horses

      I see an opportunity for someone within the Amish or Mennonite community to purchase an area of land near by to house a stable and exercise yard for multiple horses to be housed, community style. Close enough for the residents to get to the stable by walking with ready access to their animals. The owner of the stable would work out cost details with the horse owners. This was done in the “wild West towns”. Maybe a compromise of this sort could work. Horse stables are not unpleasant to live near.

      1. Kiki

        Lisa has a great idea. Denise, I’ve seen huge fly traps that work well for that.

        1. Cynthia Bliss

          Huge Fly Traps

          What do you mean by huge fly traps?

          1. Kiki

            There’s a relatively new product for horse owners that is a fly trap about 2 ft long! Huge thing. I’ve been on properties with horses, many horses, and had no problems with flies biting me. Maybe because those owners keep things clean.

            1. Liz

              horses on small lot

              I own horses. Thus, I have experience in this area. One, what is the current zoning in that area? Two, I use a the 3 ft long fly strip has been around for at least 60 years, so it is not new. Three, I buy a salt block with that has fly repellent infused, so manure does not attract flies, mosquito, wasps, etc. Four, the neighbors free running dogs enjoyed chasing my horses, until I contacted the police. Five, unless permission is given by all the neighbors, especially in a sub division, it is a no go situation. Six, horses do make noise especially if they get out, and they will. Six, is there room set aside for storing hay bales, grain, etc. These attract mice and snakes, and other wildlife. Where will a trailer be stored? What about drainage? Leaching of the water into local drinking supply. A water trough that attract wild life? And, Seven, If this acreage allows horses, what denies someone from owning other “farm animals? pigs, chickens, llamas, emu. etc.

      2. I wonder how it would work cost-wise – the owner of such a business would need to justify the expense of the acreage that would be needed to keep those horses (eg, want to keep 10 horses for neighbors, you’d need 10 acres by the old rule, and acreage in Lancaster County costs big $$$). Unless of course a dedicated stable would not have to adhere to the one-horse-per-acre requirement. In any case, interesting idea…

      3. Sandra K

        Create an Amish Development

        In Georgetown, KY, there is a development that caters to horse owners. Each lot is 1/2 to 1 acre — maybe a bit less or a bit more. However, their horses are kept on a 10+ acre parcel with stable and barn. This seems like a really viable solution to the issue. Safety is better addressed, as presumably the entrances into/out of the property could have approaches that are appropriately eased into/off of the road. Yet horses are nearby homes. “Leave-behinds” within the community’s streets could be taken care of by each home’s owner. It may also make pick up for off-site work easier.

        We had 3 horses on 5 acres. Without careful pasture management, you end up with rutted, gullies, weed-infested barren fields. Even we’ll-maintained “improved” pastures that get adequate (but not too much) water require horses to rotate through the fields so they don’t get too worn down — and something very unsightly to view!

        I currently live in 1/2 an acre. Maybe a couple of mini-horses would do — but, realistically, not even one horse. Manure management, stiragevof hay and feed, and other necessities of horse care, let alone a buggy and room for the horse take up a LOT more space than you’d think. And it’s NOT fair to your neighbors— or the horse. Even if the horse has a goat for a companion!

        1. Interesting examples, Sandra. Thanks for your insights here. Sounds like you are skeptical on this proposal. It made me wonder if there are any examples of other townships where the 2 horse-per-1/2-acre rule is in place already, thereby offering examples of how Amish have managed it, or if this would be pushing the envelope to a new place.

        2. Leslie Kendall

          Not fair? You make me laugh. How fair is it to the horse owner to have such INTOLERANT neighbors?
          This country is a REPUBLIC, NOT a democracy. Which means live, let live, and mind your own business.

          1. Horses and limited acreage

            This country may not be a democracy, and you may believe in “Live and let live”, but, your freedom to live as you choose ends when it impedes upon my right to live as I choose. When I buy a property, I have the right to the peaceful enjoyment of that property. If someone moves in and disrupts my right to that peaceful enjoyment, they would be in the wrong. It’s about one respecting another’s right to live in peace; not about one’s right to disrupt that peace.

    6. Denise kovacs

      Need more space for horses

      The one point to consider is that in the summer or warmer months, they attract horse FLYS. Nasty big flys that do bite. I know because we are in a development, & our backyard (about a third of an acre) abuts up to a 3 acre lot which use to have 3 horses-one horse per acre. When I would spend any amount of time outside, I felt their nasty bite! I can’t imagine putting 1 let alone 2 horses on HALF ACRE lots. Please reconsider for the sake of everyone involved-including the horse.

    7. PJ

      That's a lot of poop

      Horse poop is safer than dog or cat poop from a disease perspective, but the average horse generates 50lbs. of poop a day, 9+ tons a year, per horse! It’s not immediately usable as compost either. Having 2 is going to require daily poop removal as I can’t think of any septic system that can handle that much waste. It shouldn’t be a matter of exercise as these are work/riding horses that would be getting used daily unlike dogs or cats that just lay around all day. Personally, I think a city council shouldn’t be telling anyone how many animals of any kind a home owner can have. If there are any legitimate concerns they should be addressed by state EPA and Public Safety departments.

    8. Angus

      Horses onn1/2 acre lot.

      I have been involved with horses for over 50 yrs..
      Not just as a horse owner but also compeating in the sport of Dressage at the international level, holding international titles. I am also a equine chiropractor as well as Dressage instructor..
      I can back my equine knowledge with a university degree in equine studies.
      My response is based on an awareness gained through an educated stance in equine understanding. Its not coming from an emotional standpoint nor any sort of favoritism toward any group nor individual …. its based on past and recient studies on equine health which also factors in human sanitary needs.
      My personal opinion of Szarko’s arguement is that it is weak ! Stick to facts Mr Szarko… they are on your side! …. get rid of your hate .
      His arguement sounds to be based on his own anger and bigotry toward the Amish…. his religious fragility and fear of the Amish religion growing , is fear based and seems to mostly reflects his intolerance toward what iwhat he personally has a problem with…… the Amish!.
      I truly believe that Mr Szarko will soon be attacking the use of the Amish language in his “cookie cutter “ neighborhood in which he lives… claiming that “this is America where ONLY English should be spoken
      Look to the reality of studies to prove your point Mr Szarko… they are all there … and on your side!!!
      Use facts Mr Szarko … not bigotry!
      So … at the end of this long winding road…. it is NOT a good idea at all to house two horses on a half acre…. sanitary conditions and odor are the first sign of this reality… even with daily cleaning there will be an odor….
      A 1/2 acre lot isize, in reality were designed as a neighborhood for people… not livestock!.
      Its not a pasture… its a backyard.!!
      Imagini if every resident wanted two horses!
      Youd have a community of stables.
      A place for flies to breed!
      A mess!
      This is not an issue of favoritism nor finatic fear that the Amish religion would spread and flurish…. this is a sanitary and a common sense issue.
      So NO… a 1/2 acre fo r two horses is not a good idea!
      Angus
      i

      1. Maureen

        Horses on 1/2 acre development lot

        Erik,

        I agree with Angus. I’ve been fortunate to be involved with horses my lifetime. In our county,[there are no Amish] a horse needs two acres, two horses require three acres in residential zoning. Despite this zoning, there are unhappy residents with legitimate gripes. Increase in flies and rodents along with odor are the main complaints [despite keeping the area clean]. Open feed containers and hay attract rodets, standing drinking water is a haven for mosquitoes – all necessary for the horse. A closed container is required for manure. We have a high population of deer and deer ticks [lymes disease]. All this is not right to impose on development style living. It’s inconsiderate to foister this way of life on one’s neighbor [s]. [Presently, in our community, they are issuing citations to home owners in developments on half acre lots who have recently purchased chickens and erected chicken coups in their backyards].

        And if the horse is a concern, they absolutely do get lonely – and all the more reason to have two and live in a non-developed part of town where zoning allows for horses and livestock.

        1. Abraham

          A horse on a Hal-Acre lot

          Yoder/Rice Farms/Reamer/Mauree/Angus are all on point and have obviously read the article and applied their experience with horses to this Amish America post. I think it was Angus that said the lot in question is “not a pasture” – correct. Rice Farms, Yoder, and Maureen gave requirements horses need and the ramifications presented to the surrounding neighbors. Janice Reamer is passionate and knows. All of these posts stressed the neighborhood was not designed for horses. But I think Maureen emphasised more than once it is wrong to change an existing neighborhood to accomodate horses that will impede detrimentally the lifestyle of the existing homeowners.

          The article is about horsses on small acre already existing lots – and Angus can’t go outside because of the flys – and that is a BIG BIG problem in summer months for just one horse. The wind blows and you will know livestock is there; no matter how clean the lot is. And yes, we here own 30 horses. And yes we also know a familyl who lives in a cookie cutter neighborhood whereby there is one horse on an acre that is shared by a house, garage, and small barn for the horse – that subsequently comes down to far less of an acre. Despite this homeowner being immaculate, neighbors are complaining — AND RIGHTFULLY SO! So here I state as a lover of horses and experience of a lifetime, no association with any religious group, I am NOT in favor of horses in a residential area – it is a blatant wrong, inconsiderate act to impose on these homeowners that have small lots. And a 1/2 acre is a small lot considering a house in the middle of it!

          1. Leslie Kendall

            Abraham

            Well, someone finally admitted the truth. It isn’t about the horse’s happiness, but your own. Because YOU are more important than your neighbor.
            So may I suggest that if the Amish community cares about their young people who are trying to survive in an economy that’s QUITE different than their parents/grandparents, they could buy a section of land, ask for the half acre horse zoning, and sub-divide it into 1/2 acre lots.
            My 2nd suggestion would be to find a town that isn’t so modernly ANAL.
            Because here’s my final word. I live IN THE CITY of Boise, Idaho. I have neighbors with horses, roosters, etc on one acre lots and NO ONE complains.

            1. Abraham

              Leslie Kendall on small space for horses

              Your post is a twist-and-shout off shoot of the article. THE HOUSING DEVELOPED IS ALREADY ESTABLISHED – and would effect existing residence. Not about the horses? Of course it is Leslie – two horses on a half acre [which is not really a half acre] is a terrible esistence for horses. Everyone said that over and over. It is not discrimination to the Amish or anyone else petitioning an existing, already developedd cookie cutter neighborhood that is plainly not designed to accomodate two horses.

              There is nothing to read into here Leslie, many posts have said this over and over. You keep somehow reading into people’s comments. It is not about discrimination about any group. Let me sday this again, it is inconsiderate and selfish to existing neighbors, and a thoughtless act to impose such a small space for two horses.

      2. Ky Girl

        I have to disagree !!

        Being from “horse country”, some of us has been around horses all our lives. It doesn’t take a degree or certificate, it takes common sense in caring for horses and their living arrangements. At one point I had 4 horses on a “ lot” roughly 40’x40’. Also on this lot was a small 4 stall barn. They could wander up the hillside , but mainly stayed in the lot during their daily turnouts. I never had problems with rats, that many flys or mosquitoes. Why ?? Because I have the same work ethics as the Amish. Heck, my neighbors said my lot was cleaner than most people’s homes.
        They were fat, sassy and happy with their grain and hay. All this is about is the Amish “slow paced” life, dang, those pedal pushers sure hate to have to slow down behind a buggy rushing to nowhere.

        1. Kiki

          My Girl is right, it’s just about hating the Amish.

          1. Maureen

            Hating The Amish

            Erik,

            I resent the comment a reader[s] made about, “it’s just about hating the Amish” another, “a need for speed”, another “discrimination”..

            The readers responding [for the most part] are addressing the horses and ramifications that occur when housing a horse[s] on a 1/2 acre in place housing development.

            When I return to work August 15, I will ask my Amish coworkers what they think of this article and how it relates to them personally, their families, and their horses. I can almost guarantee that their minds will not go to “hate” or “discrimination”; rather they most likely will center on land or the lack of.

            For me personally, this is not about hating anyone whatsoever. It is simply about doing right by my neighbor[s].

            1. Maureen I’d be curious to hear what your Amish coworkers have to say. I think that in these cases prejudice towards the Amish can often be a driver of complaints, but I definitely think there are practical concerns too. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be concerned about the knock-on effects of having two large agricultural animals brought into an environment which was not really designed with them in mind. That’s not saying it can’t be done, but I’d probably want more details if I were a next-door neighbor.

            2. Ky Girl

              Resentment ??

              Very true that the peaceful Amish does not have resentment, hate, non forgiveness, etc in their hearts. It’s the “Englishers” that harbor these feelings at some point. I have Amish friendships in Michigan that I have cherished for over 20 years, that I visit quite regularly. I also have family that lives in Morehead, Ky. As we sit and enjoy the clop clop of the horse pulling a buggy full of little children waving so sweetly, there are rude, careless people wanting to pass them that they rev their engines within inches of the buggy, or passing with loud 4-wheelers. Disgusting !!
              I personally have never seen a unhealthy, unkempt horse that the Amish own, but of course, it does happen, even in the “Englishers” world.

          2. Horses and acreage

            Kiki: No it’s not about hating the Amish. At least, not for everyone. I don’t hate them. I hate how so many of them disregard their animals’ welfare!

        2. Maureen

          Development housing and horses

          Erik,

          As per this article, area where the Amish want to keep horses is zoned 1/2 acre where existing homes built. The dwelling sits in the middle of the half acre, probably has a black top driveway, an attached garage, the standard bushes and trees, etc. Back yard is then less than a 1/4 of an acre where the horses would be kept. Then a paddock would be needed for the horse, feed, etc. making the space in the backyard very small. Some mentioned the daily manure and gallons of urine expelled; a dovered bin would be needed with a top, and still there would be odor! Pickup of manure might happened twice a week.

          Half acred develpments are not designed with horses in mind. To generalize and say that Amish would be cleaner and maintain their horse area any better than the English is wishful thinking. I would, however, not want anyone living next to me in a 1/2 acre zoned development to keep horses. Hay is stacked somewhere on the lot and attracts rodents along with everything else mentioned in my prior post. Zoning is done for reasons. It is not fair to the homeowners.

        3. Rice Farms

          Work Ethics

          There are people with the best work ethics, people with shameful work ethics. The Amish are people, and some have outstanding work ethics, other Amish do not. Any Amishmen would agree to this statement.
          Having horses on small acreage in an existing development is the topic, and it’s not feasible on many levels for both neighbor and horse. This article is not about you Ky Girl and your horse experiences [which are questionable]. Give yourself a pat on the back for your work ethics and what you think is right for your horses that most disagree with reading these posts. When you have horses voiding, ideally you’d have to run all day long and immediately pick up the manure before the rainbow flies settle on it, dispose of it asap and where would that would be on a half acre, do you know? And that goes for the urine as well – gallons of it! But of course you mush have a solution for these neighbors living in an all ready developed neighborhood, you know with your four horses who prefer to stay in a small lot! I’d hate to be our neighbor. – your horses too! And we haven’t even discussed the sitting drinking water, feed, and hay. When a black fly bites your kid, maybe you’ll see things more clearly. Oh yes, we forgot, you don’t get mosquitoes, rodents, flies, gnats — they bypass your place because of your work ethics. Hogwash here.

    9. Az gal

      Religious discrimination.

      Not allowing the horses is discrimination. Let the Amish have their horses!

      1. Ky Girl

        Strongly Agree !!

        The complainers are the ones that have a need for speed, I’ve seen so many rude people lay on their horns behind buggies hauling precious little children. Or zooming around them , making them look so childish.
        There is just something so peaceful and heartwarming to watch the Amish in their buggies or working the fields and homes.
        They sure have my admiration and respect !!

        1. Ingrid Miller

          Well said!

          Best comment of the day!

    10. Just a note, a reader emailed me that the photo I used is not showing half-acre lots – tbh I have no idea exactly how big those lots are (they just seemed on the small side, less than an acre), but the photo hopefully fulfills my purpose in helping us imagine the odd picture of a suburban neighborhood of Amish folks 🙂 Maybe we’ll see that sometime, and hat-tip to the reader for the attention to detail.

    11. Denise

      Horses are noisy?

      I live in Iowa in a small mobile home community. Every morning except Sunday we are awakened by the neighbor’s huge pick-up truck being started up at 6:25 a.m. I wish he had to have an extra acre for that.
      Give me the Amish any day with their horses. At least the neighing of the horses is a pleasant sound.
      Also, working in a veterinary clinic, I see lots of “English” who don’t brush long-haired pets resulting in hot spots, don’t treat for fleas/ticks resulting in anemia/Lyme disease, neglect medical care until it’s too late. Or have batches of puppies and then need to figure out a way to get rid of them. Seems to me if I had to rely on horses for transportation or to do my field work I’d take really good care of them…

      1. Horses and acreage

        You would think that if one needed a certain kind of transportation one would take good care of it. That isn’t always the case.

    12. Roland Perez

      Horses

      We lived in the the town of Norco, Ca and In that town you could have 10 horses per acre, but much of the town had 1/2 and acre which means you could own 5 horse on that lot. Yes, it was a bit more difficult taking care of the horses but it was completely manageable. Horses that are well kept for will have no problem on 1/2 an acre since they will get plenty of exercise just doing what they do on a regular basis. But if the Amish are not welcomed there,
      they just need to relocate to another area and then the areas of Lancaster will not have the revenue they are used to.

      http://www.norco.ca.us/business/zoning.asp

      1. Rob S

        subdivision not a farm

        If they are going to keep horses in a subdivision of 1/2 acre or 1 acre lots people cannot be allowed to pasture the horses there. The imagine the damage the weight of a horse on the grass. The nicely manicured lawns will become beaten down and muddy. Most people move into a subdivision because they want a neighborhood with nice homes and lawns not farms. That is what they saw when the moved in originally. If fact, many of these subdivision have deed restrictions against “farm anImals” and these deed restrictions are being blatantly ignored.

    13. J

      Modern Americans

      I’m more concerned about the increase in traffic, the speeding, the noise, the environment problems caused by these cookie cutter developments, and so on, than I am about a horse.

      The day is almost here when these non-Amish folk will visit Amish country, say how nice those people live. Quiet. Peaceful. Quaint….

      Then, as the non-Amish pull away in their car….they yell as they drive….GET OUT OF MY WAY!!! YOU SLOW ANNOYING HORSE AND BUGGY. I WANT TO GO TO THAT NEW CASINO AND GAMBLE. DRINK A BEER. SMOKE. EAT UNHEALTHY FOOD. THEN DRIVE DRUNK WHILE SPEEDING TO MY NEW CHEAPLY MADE, OVER PRICED HOUSE THAT WAS BUILT ON LAND THAT WAS ONCE A FARM.

      What makes this sad is that it’s true for so many and is already happening…and slowly getting worse.

      1. Kiki
      2. Ky Girl

        On Point !!

        Totally agree J !!

    14. Fritz Fulton

      The American Way

      Just put the matter on the ballot.
      We go to “Amish Country”once a
      week. We appreciate their contribution
      to America.

    15. Yoder in Ohio

      I’m Amish and we keep several horses on our 4 acre property. Ignoring all issues about it being prejudice, zoning, or anything else, I’d wonder about several things. So I’m just randomly tossing thoughts out here.

      Fly control — we have very few flies in our barn or pasture because of using fly spray, fly bait (in the barn), and huge fly ribbons. At a previous home where our barn was much closer to the house, we fed “feed through” fly pellets which makes it so eggs cannot hatch in the manure.

      Rodents — they seem to show up in any barn, but we keep our hay bales stacked on wooden pallets and our cats & dogs seem to keep the rodent population down. I can’t recall when I last saw a mouse or rat in the barn, BUT we sweep it twice a day, power-wash it a few times a year, and keep all feed in metal trash cans or bins and don’t have any clutter stacked around. It takes a lot of work to keep a barn from becoming a rodent sanctuary and a dog or cat or two!

      Manure — this is the big one!! I am picturing our manure pile at home. It’s on a concrete pad with concrete walls. We pick clumps of manure out of the shavings every morning & evening and toss it on the pile along with yard trash, so it’s like a big compost pile. I don’t see flies hovering over it, but we turn it over often and do have a few banty hens that pick through it, I assume eating any bugs. I cannot imagine what someone with a small lot would do with their manure — it piles up quickly! We can spread it on the garden or pasture, but we have LOTS of room.

      Pasture — I do see a few very small “lots” for horses to be turned out and to be honest I feel sorry for the horses kept on them. When we turn our horses out, they often go galloping and leaping about — harder to do in a little yard. We rotate our horses among four patches of pasture so they don’t overgraze, then mow whatever patch they have just come out of to keep the uneaten grass down. They obviously enjoy being turned onto a patch of fresh, lush grass and they know when they see me adjusting the bungee-cord gates in our electric fence lines that a fresh “salad bar” is opening up and show eagerness to get to it. 🙂 It’s hard for me to imagine keeping a horse any other way, yet it does seem to work even if it’s less than ideal. But still, seeing horses on a small lot with the grass eaten down to the roots and weeds sticking up here & there makes me pity the horses and appreciate my own acreage much more.

      So again I’m not touching prejudice or zoning but trying to look at ideas from a horse owner’s view and the horses’ view. I take care of our horses seriously.

      1. Excellent comment, Yoder, was hoping you’d jump in. Lot of good background details there applying to various questions that were raised in this thread.

        One question that I had – on the topic of whether horses get enough exercise via being driven – would you say Amish in your area use their horses frequently enough on the road that they would get sufficient exercise, without having a pasture to roam around in? I ask because, for instance, I know some business people primarily rely on hired drivers for their transportation needs (at least throughout the week with the exception of Sunday).

        1. Yoder in Ohio

          No, I don’t think horses get enough exercise without pasture to run in. A small yard is simply not enough in my opinion. In our area, not only do people make frequent use of drivers, many have bikes. The amount of roadwork our horses get depends on a lot of things. It’s Thursday today and we have not used our horses since Sunday and I doubt we will before Sat. evening, but some weeks we use them a lot more.

    16. Leslie Kendall

      Idaho Law

      In Boise,Idaho a person can have 2 horses on one acre and even in city limits. One horse is required to have a little over 14,000 sf and 2 horses @ 20,000 sf. I wanted one horse on a 1/2 acre and I found an exemption for it. It would’ve taken all the property except for the house and front yard but as long as you’re a member of FFA, which is only like $25/yr, you can have one. And there aren’t any “horse acreage” police. Which means if you fudge a bit on the sf, there would have to be a complaint filed for non-compliance and who’s going to come on your property and start measuring? And even if you’re found in non-compliance, you just have to fix it. The other stipulation is that you have to verbally agreed that the horse will be exercised off the property. I find it annoying that the people who make the laws AREN’T horse people. For one thing, if I’m going to exercise it off property and feed it in a stall, I DON’T NEED A PASTURE. And #2, have any of these non-horse people seen horses in a pasture? And what are they doing? THEY’RE JUST STANDING AROUND.

      1. Rice Farms

        Idaho Law

        Many of the people who wrote in here have horses, yet objected to the 1/2 acre lots.

        Consider horses that are out to pasture as experiencing a modicum of freedom – free to roam, free to graze, free to feel free – as in free range. It’s surely one of the healthiest things you can do for a horse.

        1. Leslie Kendall

          Okay, then I’m going to begin a campaign that no one can have a dog unless they’re on 5 acres.

          1. Horses and acreage

            Kendall: Stalls are not the answer to horses and their poop. Requiring that dog owners have a minimum of acreage is silly! What a dog wants more than anything, is a loving family and warm home, and daily walks for olfactory and visual stimulation! Don’t get me started on lazy dog owners! By the way, I live on 10 acres. My dog sticks close to home. She loves being outdoors so we allow her the freedom to go outside anytime she wants to roam the property. We have about three acres mowed, and she will sniff those three acres frequently during the day to ensure that no other animal has dared come onto her territory. We also walk her twice daily. Regardless of weather conditions. She would go crazy if we didn’t! But dogs don’t need acreage to be happy, as horses do.

        2. Leslie Kendall

          And please read my comment on the level of care a horse receives living in a stall/dry lot as opposed to a pasture

    17. Patty

      Amish horses

      For everyone tginkung these horses aren’t going to get enough exercise… Seriously they can turn a 30 mile trip pulling a loaded buggy!I am very active in the Amish community and the horse reacue world and you are wrong about animal abuse. 99%of the broken down horses sold at auction come from the English and do your research the English have a huge number of puppy mills with citations and horrible conditions. The problem is you have 5000 amish in a small cimmunity with 10 nad onea sooo everyone jumps on the bandwagin… Those 1000 English that treat there animals bad just get lost in the shear numbers and hey you read about animal abuse everyday, so people don’t take notice to the growing problem, until that one Amish that’s supppsed to be perfect, and they are not just like the rest of us. Shame on you for the hate against a minority…

      1. Leslie Kendall

        The other problem with these Pollyanna NON horse owners is that they don’t understand that if a horse IS BEING USED regularly, it doesn’t matter if a person has 1,000 acres, it’s going to be kept IN A STALL or small dry lot ANYWAY.

        1. Yoder in Ohio

          Exercise

          There is a point there — a horse owner who is riding or working their horse regularly is providing exercise. When we are not actually driving our horses, they are not being exercised and the amount we drive them is really variable. We used our horses a LOT the last week between weddings, church, visiting, and shopping, but can’t think of anything we’ll need them for this week. When not kept in the stall for a particular reason, ours can go in & out of their box stalls all day long. (During nice weather.) They go in & out a LOT and tend to prefer being inside during the warmest times of the day, so they are getting exercise on their own. Still, I love to see them “go nuts” when let out after being kept in for the day, such as keeping them inside for the farrier to shoe. The way they go leaping and galloping down the slope always makes me smile. 🙂

        2. Horses vs acreage

          Ms. Kendall,
          You sound dismissive of anyone showing concern for horses’ rights. Amish or non-Amish, Pollyanna or Claggart, this thread was mainly about horse care and acreage and. You presume that everyone stalling their horses is also exercising them. That is not true.

      2. Yoder in Ohio

        Thank-You, Patty!

        Thank you for sharing this, Patty! As an Amish man who strives to care for my animals to the best of my ability, I appreciate someone non-Amish pointing this out. If I say it, it just sounds like I am being defensive.

        I’m ashamed that there are Amish people who do less for their animals and I also see non-Amish-owned animals I feel sorry for.

        I might also point out that this is definitely something that can vary from area to area. Years ago we visited a small & very conservative community far away from here to meet a circle-letter friend. We came away from that visit feeling disgust at the poor condition of the horses we saw. It was a real eye-opener for me… So can we please stop applying blanket-terms and the idea that “all Amish” or “all English” or “all anyone” is guilty or blame-free?

      3. Patty

        I guess it depends on who owns the acreage. Some dog/horse owners are very conscientious regarding their care, others are not. It doesn’t matter whether they are Amish or not. The article was about the objection to some Amish families wanting to move into a subdivision and have horses on limited acreage. I objected to anyone wanting to have horses live on limited acreage. One commenter claimed that horses never move even though they are in open acreage. Apparently, if the horses aren’t running around all day long, that means they do not need the space to run around if they choose to. She also believes that everyone who leaves their horses in stalls every day, is exercising them every day. That is nonsense! There are good Amish, most are, and there are bad ones, just as there are good non-Amish and some very bad ones. This isn’t about that. It’s about imposing small spaces on horses. You and Ms. Kendall may not believe that horses need space to run if they choose, that is your right, but, it does not make you right! It may seem as though everyone is jumping on the bandwagon regarding the Amish, but, I don’t think they are. It’s about having care and compassion for one’s animals; Amish or otherwise.

        1. Leslie Kendall

          #1) Horses don’t need to be exercised every day.
          #2) The only time they run is to flee from something.
          It’s no different than the tied up dog someone thought was so cruel. The owner may have it tied up or penned up to keep it from bothering visitors. If not being played with or in a house with someone, a dog just lays around.
          ANIMALS DON’T RUN FOR NO REASON.
          You people that THINK you know animals are just too much to believe.

          1. Horses and acreage

            Ms. Kendall: Thank goodness I am not one of your horses or dogs! What a life for a horse that doesn’t have space to walk around, roll around on the ground, socialize with other horses, etc. or for a dog who is tied to a tree because its humans are too lazy to walk it or can’t be bothered to carve out time in their day to supervise the dog while it is outside! Dogs roam because they are bored. Tying a dog to a tree or stalling a horse shows a singular lack of understanding of animals’ physical and mental needs! To say that horses never move while in open space, is silly. They do. I’ve seen it. I used to live in horse country. I now live on 10 acres of forest land. I don’t have a horse, but, I do have a dog. It would never occur to me to tied her up while she was outside. Even with our acreage, we still walk her twice daily. She is allowed to play outside whenever she chooses. She doesn’t roam beyond our acres, but, she does “inspect” them at regular intervals. We have a tracker on her so we know where she is. It’s just common sense; would YOU enjoy being stalled or tied up?

          2. Yoder in Ohio

            Our horses must not have gotten the notice — they do run at times for no reason. Sometimes it’s for the sheer joy of it, especially if they’ve been inside for the day for whatever reason and are happy to be let out. I love to watch them go out on a nice day and make a few runs around before settling in to graze. For the record, we don’t turn them out when it’s muddy and in bitter winter weather we keep them in and rugged most of the time, but will still turn them out twice a day (weather permitting) for some exercise. Our horses know to come when called and opening the stall doors and calling them in usually does the trick. But 10 minutes on an ungrazed pasture or they’ll eat themselves to death?! I’ve been around horses all my life and that’s a new one! As I wrote earlier, we move our horses to a fresh patch of pasture once a week. I have never noticed any ill effect at all! Just my two-cents as a horse owner.

            1. Yoder and Notice

              Here at Rice Farms we have space and feel as you do resulting in happy horses. It’s common sense. Thanks for all your good reasoning here, sad others don’t see this clearly.

              1. Horses and acreage

                Thank you, Mr. Yoder. You clearly care about your animals. We need more humans who think as you do.

        2. Sandra K

          Correct!

          Completely agree.

          1. Sandra K

            Janice — Correct!

            Janice, I agree with you.

            Ms Kendall, I’ve had stalled horses in CA and barn & pastured horses in KY. Horses need room to stretch and roll and just be — things they canNOT do in a stall. Give horses a choice — stall 75% of the time or pasture 75% of the time and they will pick the pasture.

            1. Leslie Kendall

              Were you using the horses as your ONLY mode of transportation???
              I can’t even believe we’re having this conversation. I can imagine people today telling Gpa that he should keep his buggy horse in the pasture. He would’ve told them, “fine, smarty pants,I’ll call you to go out and catch the horse EVERY TIME I want to go to town. And I’m sure you won’t mind that it’s freezing and muddy out there.”
              I’ll ask again. Would ANY if you want to park your car a mile away from your house? These are working horses. Not some out-to-pasture nag that they bought for their kids to play with before they left home.
              And do you even know how long a horse can be put on an ungrazed pasture? Try 10 MINUTES per day, increasing it 5 MINUTES each day or they’ll eat themselves to death.
              If you don’t use a horse as your ONLY mode of transportation, would you please stop acting like you know anything about it?

              1. Horses vs acreage

                Ms. Kendall: You are being presumptuous. Just because I do not, or did not, personally own a horse, does not mean I did not grow up around horses and learn a few things. I rode, my sisters rode, one of my sisters owned a stable of Arabians with her then fiancé, my husband rode, his sister owned horses, still does. My children rode horses growing up. My daughter competed in gymkhanas. Horses were always part of our life. It’s all about valuing the animal. Gpa probably did not value his horse as a living, sentient being. If a horse runs off at the sound of his owner’s whistle, it is because that horse knows his owner does not feel any affection for him and is going to saddle him or attach a wagon to him. Are there horses who do not like being saddled and run off or puff out in order to prevent the saddle from being strapped on tightly? Of course! My sister has many stories of her horse and his cantankerousness. But, that should tell you just how horses feel about having to carry humans, or pull sleds, trailers, machinery, etc.

    18. Leslie Kendall

      # 1) Changing an ordinance is not “religious favoritism”. Zoning ordinances, by themselves, are unconstitutional, ie. YOU don’t have MORE of a right to the pursuit of happiness than your neighbor.
      # 2) An acre of land is plenty for two horses.
      Suggestion: Have the Amish community buy a 1/2 acre lot adjacent to the lot the young people are needing and tear one of the houses down.

    19. Leslie Kendall

      A heads-up if the Amish community decides to buy their own sub-division in any community. You also need to form an association of the one acre parcels to where all current and any future home buyers understand that they can never sub-divide their lot.

    20. Leslie Kendall

      Maybe what they should do is ask all the close neighbors to sign a petition if they wouldn’t have a problem with it. The couple would have that to take to court as back up and if the majority didn’t mind, then it could be granted. Any subsequent petitions would be allowed on the same basis. And if the majority don’t want to let you live how you need to, then you wouldn’t want them as neighbors anyway.

    21. Kate

      Caring for Horses

      This has turned into quite a debate! I don’t know much about horses even though I live in a heavily Amish populated area. I always assumed they just needed oats, hay, and water and cleaning up after. 🙂 I’d really like to know just what is involved in properly caring for a horse — just out of curiosity.

    22. Friend

      Wonderful n passionate thread. I have 0 expertise; but 2 horses on an 1/2 acre may work but is far from good for horse n community.