Retirement Equestrian Communities - Revisited

In 2011, in Off Topic, there was a lively thread about Equestrian Communities across the U.S. Most of the responses to the posts included large properties in communities that were equestrian oriented - but only vaguely touched on retirement communities where more economical properties involving lower maintenance but including community barns situated closer to town might be located.

A user named Plumcreek wrote:

“My ultimate Planned Equestrian Community concept would include: an outer area of 5 - 10 acre lots for people who want to do their own thing, an inner area of zero lot line homes, with totally private patios,for people who want low maintenance, but want to walk out their door over to the central boarding barn with multiple barn wings, private tack closets and many groom areas so you can find compatible barn mates and stay away from any barn drama. Nice indoor and multiple outdoor rings that the acreage lot owners can ride over and use also. A well-paid and benefited resident barn manager who will stay for a career, but no resident trainers - you can bring in trainer of choice for lessons. The final element is the assisted living home with a patio overlooking the outdoor rings and turnouts”

I found such a facility in Walnut Creek, CA - but it was about $200K over my price range, coming in at $525,000 for a 1400 sq. ft, 2BR/2BA townhome located off thousands of acres of open space and 1/2 block from the community barn, tennis courts, pool all within the association - providing full-care facilities at 1/3 the normal full-board costs; and only 5 minutes from over 35 miles of bicycling paths; 10 minutes from a trendy downtown area; and a 30 minute BART ride (high speed rail system) from Downtown San Francisco and world-class entertainment.

I’m thinking that Walnut Creek probably doesn’t have exclusive rights to such an idea - and there must be some other lower cost of living area where a similar Homeowner’s association with subsidized equestrian facilities exists within spitting distance of great trails and a trendy town.

But where?

Has anyone out there heard of such a place?


I think Plumcreek is an architect, so what she said is from a position to know.

I think that the problem with such is that those that can afford to move to such communities generally have their own setup already and hang onto it until the end, so the demographics those would depend on are rather restricted.

I expect, as expensive as all is getting compared with people’s income today, such communities, if geared for the medium income consumers, may be more of a go than they would have been in the past.

There is a group in TX building those kind of communities, you may want to check with them:

bluely, I am familiar with that property, not aware of any townhouses/zero lot housing intended for it.

Here is the intended lot plots

bluely, I am familiar with that property, not aware of any townhouses/zero lot housing intended for it.

Here is the intended lot plots[/QUOTE]

Yes, that was the one I know about and was mentioning as one such kind of ideas, not exactly what the OP had in mind, maybe.

Thank you for the correct link.:slight_smile:

There is an architect up here planning such a place for his own retirement.
There is nothing concrete yet, but from previous discussions this is fraught with difficulties. In most gaited communities, young, healthy couples move in, they retire, one partner dies, and eventually there are townhouses with mostly single, older, ageing women (statistically.) These women stay there until it is time to move to their final abode, where there is nursing, care, etc.

I would be all over such an idea, with horsey facilities, but so often the design is over the top in expenses. I’d love a place where we could keep the communal pony for our grandchildren to ride, where the rules are not too stringent or petty, and where the care would allow us to age in place as simply as possible, near transportation, and yet with a country feel…the husbands who have come off acreage need somewhere to potter around in a workshop and do the male bonding thing…loneliness and lack of compatability are big difficulties for older people. Paid staff to do the manual work…

In Tryon, NC, (very horsey and lots of retirees) there is a development like what you describe called Derbyshire
Only a few 5-10 acre farms on the edges and I believe those sold out, but plenty of “cottage lots” (IIRC 1/2 acre and up) within the community. No townhomes at this point. Derbyshire is on one community trail system and a very short hack to another, plus only a few miles from the under-development White Oak Equestrian Center (being developed by the Wellington people).

The White Oak EC is also planning residential but that may be a couple years down the road. Maybe Mark Bellisimo will chime in here and let us know :wink:

PS No big city like SF nearby, but Asheville is about 40 minutes away and considered very trendy!

One concept that could be more affordable is co-housing:

a model from Denmark brought to the US. To my knowledge, there are no equestrian communities using this model at this time. The idea is smaller homes centered around a large home where the community can gather for meals if they choose, store lawn mower (etc) which can be shared, and provide guest rooms when family visits a member.

It provides privacy and community. In the article below, Darlinton writes about discovering her retired father’s difficulties living in Florida’s The Villages, “That was when I realized, it’s about the community, not the neighborhood.”
And it is about the community - like a horse herd providing support for its elders.

It seems to me by utilizing tiny homes, cottages, and zero lot line homes, that an affordable intentional community could be built. Those who wanted their horses on their own land could have small barns or run-ins. Those who wanted larger homes could have them, but those who were “cottage-content” and needed affordability could find it as well. The important element would be community.

Recently a colleague died suddenly, leaving her three cats and a dog to find homes. The dog has been placed, the cats are still in limbo. Her metaphysical community has come together to help place them. I have a written plan in place for my horses and a promise from a friend on my dogs, also written. It would be lovely to be in a community that knew what to do until the plan could be implemented.

Also to consider, what if you are hurt? In this Santa Fe co-housing community, this MD was cared for when a snow boarder took her out by accident.

Intentional communities are a different concept from pricey retirement communities. And in Tucson, a colleague is consulting on an assisted living project that will include horses in animal-assisted ways.

So there ARE options to explore for affordable retirement with our horses.

DROOL!!! This would be my own special type of paradise. Wonder how I can convince the hubby and boss to make this work… I wish…

My gf and I just bought a lot in and are building our house there. The development has been there since 2005. There are currently 7 houses in the development but interest has definitely picked up in the place and more lots have been sold and 3 more houses will be constructed soon. No townhouses are permitted, only full houses. Two of the current houses there are up for sale. It is a beautiful place and the developer is a GREAT guy. He and his partner built it specifically with baby-boomers in mind. It is in the middle of the Tryon-Columbus NC horse country. We will be only 5 minutes away from my trainer, Julio Mendoza, and it is 10 minutes to the Tryon International Equestrian Center. The barn is beautiful. It is self care. $350/month. Only 11 stalls. The ring is dragged twice a week and has a perimeter sprinkler system. Good footing. Right now there are only 4 horses in the barn and two of those are being trail ridden only so the ring is not used much. Four miles of the community trail system in the area go around the property with easy access. Very nice pastures. A very quiet gated community. Beautifully maintained. Definitely worth checking out if you are looking to move down to this area and want to have the equestrian lifestyle without all the maintenance that goes with a farm.

Mike really nice place, are there future plans to add additional hay and shavings storage? Those little sheds do not appear to be very large.

I’m decades away from retirement but I’ve enjoyed looking at the places mentioned in the thread. I think it’s a cool concept. My concern would be that barn management might go south, negating my whole purpose in living there and leaving me driving to a boarding barn again. I would be very frustrated in that situation.

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Where are the horses kept and what kind of trails are nearby?

I don’t see anything about horses on that site. And this is the only post that John83 has made…

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Salesman john83 didn’t do enough research, apparently, having totally missed the part about horses, even though his search engine took him to a horse forum. This seems to be completely assisted living, not even what I think of as a retirement community.

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Not to my knowledge.

Although not a “retirement” community i think Souther Pines/ Vass is becoming a place where at least my friends are moving ,buying small 4 to 10 acre lots and intend to age in place. some may do boarding or having pasture with run-in sheds or small barns. All these folks are over 60 +. There is a friendly community of trail riders, horsey events , fox hunts, carriage trails from serious to just fun and lots of support for horse keeping if you can pay for it. Of course all the trails on 4K acres of Moss Foundation plus access and trails through most peoples places. You are also close to Horse Park and also 20,000 acres in Hoffman NC.
If it was not so warm there I’d be moving.

There is also Leatherwood in Mts of NC. It has a big community barn but also has some homes with small pastures and barns . It’s been around long time as we used to rent a house and bring our horses up there to ride. Many people built vacation homes there and there were a lot of trails. I think they had endurance rides there in the past. I haven’t been in years but its a lot cooler (temp.) than Tryon or S. P. Its very hilly and some places have beautiful views.

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Cross Pines Ranch, between Dallas and the Louisiana border in East Texas, very close to I-20.
pull the right side scroll bar down to remove the header during the video

It is a stunningly beautiful place, for people who are interested in what the community offers. They maintain horses for the community. There are miles of riding trails. The community is centrally maintained.

The homes are in the woods and for the most part not in sight of each other. It is very private. There are both small and larger homes. As I understand it, there is no age requirement, both retirees and career professionals live there.

reading the web site for Cross Pines

Cross Pines Ranch. All (40 lots) have been sold and the Ranch is an operating ranch for its owners. From time to time, re-sales become available. Cross Pines Ranch requires that interested parties first submit an Application to join the Cross Pines Ranch Association.

the area is horse friendly, we used to do competitive trail rides in that general area… some of those ranches are pretty large

I’d so buy into one of these. But!! (And an idea about a solution to the problem I’ll name).

No Way In F I’d buy into a place that had a community barn. I might buy into a place that put the care and maintenance of rings and trails into the HOA’s hands. That’s because the only reason I’b buy my own place at this late point in my life is because I have been doing this long enough to 1. Know how I want to keep horses; and 2. I have watched the profit and quality drop out of boarding. Signing up to be in a barn that I don’t control and that I’d have to sell my home in order to avoid seems like inexcusable stupidity.

That said, I think you could have a good thing going if you had a bunch of farmettes… even as their owners aged and needed more help. In some horsey parts of the country, I have seen stall-cleaning crews that cruise around to different barns as do landscapers. I can imagine that a retirement horse community that generated a lot of barn work in close proximity would create a good business for someone who wanted to create one of these crews. Work would get done and money would be made AND people could keep their horses, their way.

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