Home Is Where the Horse Is

Take a look at what it’s like to live in an equestrian community, and find out what challenges these equid-friendly neighborhoods face as nonhorsepeople move in.

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Home Is Where the Horse Is
Each mailbox in the author’s equestrian community used to feature a horsehead finial. Now, as new people without horses move into the neighborhood, there are fewer finials. | Photo: Pat Raia
When I relocated to Florida in 2012, I knew I wanted to live in an equestrian community. Not just because I would have the option of keeping my horse on my property but also because I looked forward to having neighbors who were equestrians, too. So I moved into a community of more than 200 homes with properties ranging from 2.5- to 5-acre parcels, where owners could ride their horses through residential streets and on common areas throughout the neighborhood. About a dozen horses resided in the neighborhood then, and every mailbox and street sign was topped with a horse head finial.

These days, the number of horses in the community has dwindled to fewer than a handful, most residents are not equestrians, and the horse heads have disappeared from the street signs. Increasingly, neighborhoods originally developed as equestrian communities are becoming more suburban, and horse owners there are challenged to find common ground with their nonequestrian neighbors.

Horse owners have gathered in communities throughout the U.S. since the 1960s, but the widespread development of equestrian communities began in the early 2000s. That’s when builders started dividing large land parcels into residential neighborhoods that included a litany of amenities ranging from riding trails to full-scale boarding barns to designated paddocks to training arenas and site-specific horse trainers. Most came to be located near urban areas to attract not only horse owners but also those interested in bucolic views and country-style living without being miles from the nearest city.

Among them was Three Runs Plantation, in Aiken, South Carolina. Established in 2006, the community includes miles of trails and a pair of areas for dressage and hunter/jumper riders

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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