Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thinking of equestrian communities?

At Rolex a few years ago Bob and I stopped at a booth at the trade fair -- a guy selling spots in an equestrian community. As Bob spoke enthusiastically about the prospect of land in Aiken South Carolina, I read the brochure and noted that land started at $700,0000. That's land, not an actual house.

But it's a great idea, no? People who love horses sharing the costs of the land to ride on and the facilities? I read up on it. It turns out that this is one of the fastest-growing amenity-based communities in the U.S. Equestrian communities come in all forms: some are marketed to the elite affluent, and others are much more modestly priced. Lara Fackrell wrote her master's thesis on it, and here are a few facts from her findings...

  • In 2002, only about 10% of the residents of equestrian communities actually owned horses! Now the numbers of actual horse owners is rising.
  • Boarding facilities are generally independently operated (board isn't included). Board rates for facilities with central boarding is pretty much the "going rate" for the area.
  • Between 2002-2008, the number of equestrian communities rose by at least 183% -- now there are over 250 communities in the states
  • There are two types: those with central boarding and the "estate type" where the owner keeps the horse on his/her own plot.
  • Most stables operate as public facilities (in part because community members don't fill the stalls)
  • Some communities are not developer-owned. In a number of cases, a private owner with a big horse farm decides to subdivide and share their facility with the new homeowners. See Sarah's Way for an example of this type of community.
  • The O'Connors of eventing fame have lent their name to a 'branded' community called The Oaks. Other communities boast that they have big name trainers at their facility. These marketing techniques have been very successful.

Equestrian communities directory

Equestrian communities: design features and development process

Five secrets to finding the equestrian community of your dreams
from Horseman's Yankee Pedlar

Nine best horse communities from Horseback Magazine (cool interface!), page 26

Charlottesville firm designs horse-oriented communities

Equestrian services Newsletters

Equestrian communities from Best Guide Retirement Communities

Don't horse around with the equestrian community model

Along for the ride: or not
from the New York Times

Equestrian communities for retirement from

Dont horse around with the equestrian community model
from Deadline Newsroom (blog)

What you should know about horse communities

Horse communities

Horse community
from Wikipedia


  1. Interesting concept. I know there are such places around here, but I've never really looked into them. I guess it solves a lot of zoning disputes and has the potential to protect large areas of land if properly developed to have space for horses. But, the donwside are some of the prices. Why is there always the presumption that horse owners must have tons of money to spend on "other stuff?"

    I get the feeling that if a lot of the people who moved in intitially didn't own horses, that the appeal of rural living might have been the key.

  2. That has always sounded like fun. I'm waaaay too young to even think about buying a house, though having my horse on my own plot (something other than a boarding stable would be nice for a change) with my own clinic down the way would be awesome.

    The place I got Greta from was something like an equestrian community. It was a huge plot owned by a vet and she let out acreage to people who wanted to build their own stable and house, etc. Most of the land was good coastal hay too. Really cool!

  3. I love this concept! I am currently renting a carriage house on a small (25 acre, 5 horse) farm and I just love waking up to see horses outside my window and love that the other two tenants here are also horsewomen. So easy to be instant friends when you can talk horses. Someday, maybe I'll upgrade to a fancy-shmancy equestrian retreat. Tucker can hob nob with the best of them. :)

  4. I love this idea. I wonder if there are any communities like that here in the Northwest? When the time is right it would be a great opportunity

  5. We are in Southeast Alabama, and horse communities are just beginning to pop up around here. We have our horses right here with us and I can't imagine it any other way (it's wonderful :o)

  6. Sadly most of the gated horse communities around my area (Nor Cal) have had their hay day and are now SO drastically changed that you can hardly have a horse there! Many non-horsey neighbors moved in and complained about the flies, and after time HOA rules have made it just about impossible to have horses on your parcel (even though its 5 acres)! Plus with less horse oriented people pushing their agenda, things like trail maintenance haven't made the priority list for years! Its such a shame! I guess nothing lasts forever!


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