With prosperity In the United States continuing to swell, people of means keep searching for grander pastimes to pursue—in addition to golf, of course. For many, this leads to the joys of the bridle path. But maintaining a saddle horse and getting out to ride it can create complex challenges even for the truly adventurous and well to do.
Score another point for planned residential communities, where stables and staff can be part of the luxury infrastructure. Having this kind of support system for your thousand-pound pet makes the equestrian lifestyle far simpler to acquire, to access and subsequently enjoy, so we say go for it. Just make sure there is top-notch golf within the gates as well.
Brays Island Plantation
Sheldon, South Carolina
With no shortage of outdoor pursuits (golf, fishing, boating, hunting, shooting), Brays Island is perhaps the most horsey golf community in the Southeast. Its equestrian center is ringed with one hundred acres of paddocks and miles of wood fencing. The white-clapboard Plantation Barn is staffed with grooms and has thirty-six stalls. The club even stages the annual Red Coat Middleton Hunt to help preserve equestrian tradition. The golf course is by noted Florida architect Ron Garl. Homes are mostly in the Low Country style, including the bungalow pictured here, with its spectacular third-floor view of the marsh and over eight hundred square feet of porches. Visit braysisland.com. Bedrooms: Four; Baths: 4.5; Square Feet: 4,776; Price: $2.45 million.
Equestrian sports are anything but an add-on at Stock Farm, which was founded in the 1880s as a wealthy copper miner’s thoroughbred ranch. It’s once again the setting for long trail rides and attentive grooming and boarding; however, its residents do dismount now and then to play golf on a Tom Fazio course that glides along rumpled, spiny terrain. Those needing a break from the trails can visit the college town of Missoula, forty-five miles away. To set up housekeeping at Stock Farm, you can either purchase a lot and custom-build or buy into the furnished cabin program—the relatively low purchase price gets you full ownership and exclusive use ten weeks of the year. Visit stockfarm.com. Bedrooms: Four; Baths: 4.5; Square Feet: 3,500; Price: $1.75 million
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
With a yacht-filled bay spread out below it and the Gilded Age mansions of Newport just down the road, it’s only natural that Carnegie Abbey would have an equestrian amenity. The master plan calls for stables where members will be able to board their own horses, but for now the club has stalls for ten club-owned horses and ponies and a 100-by-200-foot outdoor ring with show-quality jumps. For casual rides, there are seven miles of trails woven through the property, including incursions into the club’s manorial Donald Steel golf course. Among the residence options are New England classics like the gabled five-bedroom home pictured above. Visit carnegienewport.com. Bedrooms: Five; Baths: Seven; Square Feet: 6,200; Price: $4 million