Update on Virginia Range Horses

NDA intends to keep the horses on the range and away from slaughter.

RFP for transferring ownership of the horses to a private animal advocacy group will be posted to the NDA Grant/RFP web site in mid January.

Groups will have six weeks to apply.

A selection committee representing various voices in the community will review the proposals.

Audio of Nevada Board of Agriculture meeting on 12/12/17 follows.  Discussion of VR horses begins at 4:15 and ends at 2:58:20.  Vote taken at 2:56:50.

Rural Water Systems – Wells

You probably have water under your property.  Technologies are available to help you find it but you might pay over $10,000 for the work.  Old-timers in the area may know where to drill based on their experience.

Another idea is to look at public records (driller’s reports) for nearby parcels.

Keep in mind that if you drill at the low spot on your property you will be pushing water uphill which means lower pressure the higher you go.  Not really an issue on ground that’s fairly level but if you live among rolling hills, where your corral and arena are 80 feet above the wellhead, you’ll lose about 35 psi by the time water gets to your horses.

No wonder it takes 10 minutes or more to fill a water bucket!

Conversely, if your wash rack is 80 feet lower than the wellhead, water may come out of the sprayer with so much force that it’s dangerous to your horse.

Water pressure typically ranges from 40 to 60 psi at the wellhead.  More about that in the next post.

Your driller will recommend an appropriate  casing.   Sometimes it’s PVC, as shown in the Intro.  The casing below is steel.


Your driller will also decide how far to go.  Usually 50 feet or more beyond the point where water is found.

He will install solid or perforated casing as needed, backfill the space around the casing with sand or gravel, and seal the uppermost portion of the bore with cement.

The bottom of the casing is usually left open, in case the well goes dry and you have to dig deeper.

Subsurface pressure may push water up the casing.  Suppose you hit ‘pay dirt’ at 400 feet but water inside the well is at 340 feet.  This is known as the static water level.

Cost to drill depends on several factors but you can start with $40 to $45 per foot.  If your well is 500 feet deep, you will pay at least $20,000.  This does not include the pump, controls, or anything else.

Rural Water Systems – Intro

You can’t have horses on your property without a reliable source of water.

Parcels large enough for horses are usually not connected to the public water system.

So you have to provide your own water.

You must be able to give your horse clean fresh water daily, hot or cold, rain or shine.


A rural water system will likely have these components:

  • Well
  • Pump
  • Pressure  switch
  • Tanks
  • Filters
  • Softener
  • Charcoal bed
  • UV unit
  • Power supply
  • Piping
  • Shed

Here’s what you might see in warmer climates (small risk of freezing temperatures for more than 8 to 12 hours).  Well, pressure tank & switch, power supply & piping exposed to the elements.

Other measures are required for colder climates, to be considered in subsequent posts.


Corral Design

Avoid 90 degree interior corners where a lower horse can be trapped by a higher horse.

Don’t put food and water where a lower horse can’t yield to a higher horse without getting kicked.

Install gates large enough for vehicle access (usually 12 ft).


The dynamics of a family unit are different from a group of randomly chosen horses.

If you place, say three unrelated horses in a corral (e.g., mare and two geldings), you will likely see more pushing and establishment of pecking order.  (Do not be fooled however, they will form a cohesive group.  Some call this ‘buddy sour.’  Use it to your advantage: Learn how to become his best buddy.)

If you adopt a family unit (mare and one or more foals) you may wonder about hierarchy: These guys will eat together on one pile of hay, no pushing.