Can I Keep a Horse on my Property in Bedford?

(Originally published in Bedford Magazine November-December, 2016)

If there’s one sight that defines Bedford, it’s horses paddocked on green hillsides. With the Bedford Riding Lanes Association maintaining more than 150 miles of pristine bridle trails weaving through the woods of Bedford and Pound Ridge, we live in a veritable equestrian paradise. This is horse country.

Keeping horses on private property is easier in Bedford than in Pound Ridge, where restrictions are significantly stricter. Owning horses in Pound Ridge is permitted if you meet the criteria, but there are “very few that can,” according to the Buildings Department. The town code specifies that Pound Ridge residents can maintain stables for up to four horses in residential districts only if it stands more than 100 feet from streets, property lines, and regulated areas such as wetlands. There are similarly stringent regulations for manure storage.

In Bedford, you can own a horse as long as you have two acres of land, with one additional acre required for each additional horse up to ten horses. Beyond that, a special permit from the Planning Board is required. Stables and manure storage needs to be built more than 50 feet from property lines and 150 feet from nearby residences.

In Bedford, those keen on keeping horses need not notify the town — in Pound Ridge, you’ll have to go through the Buildings Department.