Breeding horses in the countryside

On November 10, the study and advisory agency DLV, in collaboration with Paardenpunt Vlaanderen, presented an informative webinar on the topic: “Horse Breeding in Rural Areas”. The webinar was also a selection of topics that will be covered in various informational evenings and an additional webinar this winter.

sGabions are often found in the agricultural landscape, both professionally and as a hobby. This includes the challenge that horse breeding is a strong economic branch in Flanders, which supplies breeding products on a world class level. However, obtaining a permit for the facilities needed to raise horses in rural areas is still difficult. In other words: You shouldn’t start without solid support from professionals who know the subject and who advise you on how best to deal with it all.

A foreign region or a specific region?

Building a stable, building an indoor and/or outdoor rushing yard, company house etc. Numerous questions arise if you want to start with horses, or if you want to keep them at home as pets. The most important question at the beginning of setting up a horse farm is whether it is for a foreign region or region. In other words: is this professional or unprofessional? Finding your way through the possibilities you may or may not have as a horse owner in a rural area is not easy. The conclusion was first and foremost that there are and will continue to be horse breeding opportunities in Flanders, but it is best to approach your venture properly.

The last of the three information moments from DLV in collaboration with PaardenPunt Vlaanderen will take place on Wednesday 7 December at the equestrian center Ruiterlijk Genoegen, De Hoogt 40 at 2360 Oud-Turnhout. An additional webinar, which Landbouwleven readers will certainly be interested in, will take place on December 13, 2022 at 7:30 pm. Its theme is “giving an empty farm a new destination like this is not allowed”. Information about this webinar via, where you can also register. This digital information session takes you straight to the gist of what is possible and allowed for horses at home in Flanders. Do not forget: if you did not make it to Oud-Turnhout and if you chose the webinar on December 13, there is a great chance that you will be asked questions.

Topics discussed in Oud-Turnhout

First of all, at this moment of information in Oud-Turnhout, the obvious differences between a specific region and a foreign horse farm will be discussed. Both descriptions often create barriers that discourage and even discourage horse owners. Information about this guarantees clarity. The possibilities of keeping horses as a hobby, secondary occupation, recreational or primary occupation are clearly explained.

The current vision of cities, municipalities, county and advisory bodies based on concrete examples of the approach in different types of equine profiles is also discussed. The impact of nitrogen capture is not missing from the agenda, just as an environmental permit and its attendant obligations are. So perfect sandwich… expertly served!

Answer some specific questions

After a November 10 webinar presented by Carlos Callins, Landbouwleven asked some concrete questions. We received expert answers from counselor/lawyer Paulien Tanghe of DLV.

When we asked if you could simply install the horses on the farm you buy, Ms. Tanguy replied: “There are a number of things that are very important today: the farm job that a non-farmer inhabits should be changed to a non-farm job. That means that a family that lives on a farm is a farmer Previous You must ask for a job change, on the one hand for the house: from the company house to a residential house, and on the other hand for outbuildings: from a barn / stable to an outbuilding.
A change of job is essential and should be arranged before an application for construction, renovation or remodeling is submitted.”

We then also asked how flexible the term “ex-farmer” would be if a family had purchased the farm from a farmer who had long gone out of business, but was still living there at the time of the sale. In the example we gave, a horse and pony could be installed in the existing buildings and no renovations were made. DLV’s answer to this was as follows:

The permitted function of buildings determines whether a change of function is necessary. If the buildings are set up as a “construction cattle pen” and a “company house builder,” a job change must be requested, even if the farming activity stopped years ago.

A retired farmer is still seen as a farmer, even if he is living a happy old age on his former farm. However, once a new person has purchased the farm or received it as a gift, a job change must be requested, preferably before people start living on the farm.

The permitted function is determined by the known permits of the buildings. If there are no known permits, the job that was known in 1984 matters. After all, this was a reference year for job changes.”

Patricia Bourguignon

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