How to Shop for Arizona Horse Property

Shopping for horse property requires some special consideration.  In addition to lot size, topography, access to water or trails, you must also consider if horses are allowed on the parcel!

         Every  couple of years, we hear a horror story of how some unsuspecting buyer inadvertently purchased a property that will not allow horses, or, allows fewer than the buyer intended to keep. 

Ouch!  That'll put a hitch in yer git up, so here's how to avoid the problem!  There are two items you'll need to consider before you sign on the dotted line 16-50 times (the not so fun part). 

         And then there are those who have "odder fodder" in their barns and pens. Unfortunately, the local laws aren't always current with the latest in animal husbandry trends, so rules for exotics aren't always clear cut.   When in doubt, it seems best to always defer to calling your menagerie  "pets".  The explanation as to why is an in-person conversation...!   

        Read up on the municipality rules where the property is located.  If it is not within city limits, county regulations govern.  If the property is located within city limits, then city zoning regulations trump county rules. 

     City rules can be more or less restrictive than county rules, depending on the nature of the community.   Many of our local communities are animal friendly, and, most have special provisions/exemptions for youth agricultural projects.   Now, since we know you don't want to read through six or eight 400 page zoning regulation books, below, we have gathered some of the local county/city rules for your convenience. 

     Once you know the property falls within the city or county guidelines, you must then check for deed restrictions.  This is where most people get caught.  Because an HOA or an individual owner can make rules which further restrict the usage of the property , copies of the deed restrictions MUST be carefully read. 

    In otherwords, you ARE the king of the castle when you own land, and you can make rules for your kingdom as you see fit, so long as those rules do not conflict with federal, state, or municipal law.

      Example. Owner has 50 acres and is extremely allergic to cats.   Should he or she decide to sell some of their land, they may add a deed restriction that states cats may never be kept on the land by subsequent owners. 

Deed restrictions are forever- they "run with the land."  If any subsequent owner should keep cats on that deed restricted parcel, they can be sued, and forced to comply with the restriction as written.  Any horse enthusiast should be sure to check these very important documents!

     If all of this sounds a little befuddling, rest assured, Options & Opportunities gladly assists buyers in the location of suitable horse property throughout Northern Arizona and Valley of the Sun markets.  Contact our office today for an initial consulation and to review our employment agreements.

If the property is governed by Yavapai County

Once you find out the zoning designation of the property, you can easily figure out whether or not horses are allowed. 

      Say you have a 2 acre property in with R1L-70 zoning. That stands for Residential (R), single family (1), homes {(L)-means no manufactured homes} and, 70 means that the lot must be a minimum of 70,000 sq ft. ( note:  Not only do you need to know the acreage, you need to know exactly how many sq. ft. the parcel contains.  By reading the chart below, we see that we can have 4 horses on the parcel in question.

R1L (L means no manufactured homes allowed):

Parcel Size                                                                          # of Horses/Farm Animals Allowed

  •      0 to 1.6 Acres                           (0-69,999 square feet)                              0
  •      1.6 Acres                                  (70,000 square feet)                                 3
  •      2 Acres                                     (87,120 square feet)                                 4


R1 (No "L", manufactured homes allowed):

Parcel Size                                                                          # of Horses/Farm Animals Allowed

  •      0 to .8 Acre                               (34,999 square feet)                                0
  •      0.8 to 1.0 Acre                           (43,560 square feet)                                1
  •      1.0 to 1.49 Acre                         (54,500 square feet)                                2
  •      1.5 to 1.99 Acre                         (65,300 square feet)                                3
  •      2.0+                                         (87,120 square feet)                                 4


RCU-RS-P1-C1-C2-C3   Same as R-1

M1-M2   No Restrictions

Sedona Arizona Horse Property

The City of Sedona has pretty straightforward rules regarding horses and farm animals.  It is the CCR's you need to carefully comb through!

The noncommercial keeping of farm animals, except swine and chickens, for the convenience and pleasure of the lot owner or occupant,is  subject to the following conditions.

a. A minimum of 1 acre is required for the maintenance of animals.

b. No more than 3 animals may be maintained on the first acre and up to 1 additional animal for each additional 1/2 acre;

c. No such animal shall be kept closer than 100 feet to a residence occupied by other persons;

d. The keeping of all animals shall be subject to the regulation and conditions of the County Health Department and Animal Control Division.

Access the entire City of Sedona planning & zoning codes here.

Camp Verde is a farms friendly community and has some of the clearest and complete laws/rules.  Simply caluate the number of points the property would have, according to the chart below, and then multiply that by your desired number of critters.

Animal Points Allowed Per Acre

One-half acre through one acre:                            24  POINTS

One acre plus: Each additional contiguous ¼ acre allows for the increase of 6 points                       

       SPECIES (or associated types)                                             POINTS

  •         Alpacas:                                                                                  3 POINTS
  •         Emus:                                                                                     3 POINTS
  •         Pygmy goats:                                                                          3 POINTS
  •         Sheep, Goats:                                                                         4 POINTS
  •         Llamas:                                                                                   6 POINTS
  •         Miniature horses, Ponies and Sicilian donkeys:                           6 POINTS
  •         Ostriches:                                                                               6 POINTS
  •         Cattle:                                                                                  12 POINTS
  •         Domestic deer:                                                                      12 POINTS   
  •         Horses, Mules, and Donkeys:                                                  12 POINTS


2.         Prohibited Livestock: Swine are prohibited within residential zones.

3.         Exceptions:

a.        Young nursing animals are not counted.

b.         Fowl (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and peacocks), Rabbits, and Guinea pigs which are cared for by the property owner or occupant are limited by management, husbandry, fly and odor situations, not by numbers.

c.           Swine may only be raised on property of an acre or more under the  following conditions:

  1. 1 pet or butcher pig per parcel.
  2. Additional Swine, breeding or reproduction stock requires a (UP) in accordance to Section 108 I.
  3. All pens containing swine must meet the setback requirements for the zoning district.
  4. Additional 4-H or FFA swine will require a Temporary Youth Organization Use Permit as defined in 5.d below. 

 4.           Use Permit: A use permit is required for any of the following:

                    a.   Any Commercial Livestock Activity that exceeds allowed animal points and defined as raising livestock for sale for pecuniary gain and selling more than one litter, or more than ten animals in one year, other than horses and cattle.

  1. Any livestock Breeding Activity as defined as an ongoing breeding project that involves two or more reproducing adults, other than horses or cattle. (Swine breeding is addressed in paragraph 3.c).

5.         Temporary Youth Organization Use Permit: The Community Development Director may issue a temporary use permit allowing the following livestock using reasonable discretion:

  1. Supervised youth livestock market project of one market animal conducted on property less than ½ acre, or for one swine on less than 1 acre, for a period specified by a start and stop date not to exceed 10 month in duration.

1)      One additional market swine project will be allowed with each additional ½ acre, not to exceed 5 per parcel.

  1. Swine will be restricted to one market swine project per Youth Organization member.