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We must never forget security. The equestrian sport has many benefits, which we have already described, but we must not neglect precautions. For example, the use of a helmet is essential and it is important for beginners to take initial, special courses to learn how to avoid gestures or incorrect attitudes. The Mungia Equestrian Club includes this type of courses in its services, in order to offer the opportunity to try for the first time with this sport, lose fear and learn the basics and benefits of equestrian sport.
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Horses and equestrian sports are the passion of millionaires and billionaires, and so it stands to reason that homes that cater to these types of buyers are as lavish as they get, with storybook-like barns and idyllic pastures fit for a movie scene.
But in horse country, it’s not just the owners who live large. The emphasis here is on providing the utmost in creature comforts and making sure one’s horses live just as comfortably as their owners.
This month, LLNYC takes a look at very high-end homes for buyers who want to keep horses on their own property. We focused on brokers’ listings in Connecticut’s horse country, as it’s known, and included equestrian properties in New York and New Jersey as well. And naturally, these homes come with lots of land, as required by town ordinances, to give the noble creatures the space they need.
“Equestrians who are passionate about their sport are also passionate about their animals,” said Vicki Gaily, principal of special properties at Christie’s International Real Estate in Saddle River, New Jersey. “They invest what they can to provide the utmost in care and training.”
High-end homes for buyers who keep horses have a special sort of checklist. Surely stalls are a necessity, and you can generally expect a tack room, a dry storage area for feed, shavings and hay, and secure pastures, said Pat Kennedy Lahoud, a broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Litchfield, Connecticut.
And, of course, you’ll need land — and lots of it.
In Greenwich, Connecticut, for example, ordinances require owners have at least a half an acre per horse. But according to Bonnie Caie, a broker with Houlihan Lawrence and a member of the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association, that’s considered a small area. “One cannot assume if one has four acres that one can have eight horses,” said Caie. But regulations vary from town to town. In Bedford, New York, two acres are required for the first horse and one acre for each additional horse.
Further amenities for equestrian spreads include stables with wash stalls, grooming stalls, treadmills and staff quarters. “Having apartments or a cottage for grooms is a huge plus,” said Sally Slater of Douglas Elliman in Bedford.
An indoor riding arena is another particularly valuable amenity, especially when you’re close to the city. “Indoor riding rings are a must for horse owners who ride all year long,” said Slater. “But it is very hard to get the zoning clearances to build these large arenas within an hour of New York City. If you have one, it’s like gold in these areas.”
Horse lovers are not the only buyers who appreciate these spreads. Gaily said she’s seen barns and auxiliary buildings converted into a variety of uses, including art studios and galleries, music production studios, expansive entertaining spaces, storage for car collectors, and dog breeding and training facilities. Barns also make lovely homes, she said.
So saddle up and consider some of the most luxurious properties for you and your horses on the market right now.
429 Taconic Road, Greenwich, Connecticut: $14,250,000
If an easy commute is what you’re in the market for, this property, just a short distance from the city, might be for you. The shingle-style home sits on an almost 12-acre compound and is accompanied by an eight-stall barn, eight fenced, grass paddocks, indoor and outdoor riding rings and staff quarters. Sally Slater of Douglas Elliman has the listing.
172 Cedar Street, East Hampton, New York: $39,000,000
The Hamptons isn’t all sea, sand and rosé all day. The favored summer destination of New Yorkers also has some pretty impressive equestrian chops. Case in point, this compound in East Hampton. On its 23 acres, you’ll find a main house, six-bedroom former carriage house and horse stables with paddocks and riding fields. Plus, there’s a tennis court, fully equipped gym, theater and multiple heated pools.
River Oak Farm, Mahwah, New Jersey: $35,000,000
Looking to live out your very own Jane Austen fantasies? Then this 45-acre, English-style country estate 30 minutes from the city has your name on it. Thought to be the largest residential equestrian property in the area, the spread comes with amenities galore: a basketball court, massage room, wine cellar, home theater and English pub room. Horse enthusiasts will admire the 20-stall barn with tack room, wash stall, feed room, hay storage and 14,000-square-foot indoor riding arena with a viewing area. Vicki Gaily of Christie’s has the listing.
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9–11 Old Stagecoach Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut: $29,000,000
Connecticut is thought of as real horse country, and with properties like this, it’s easy to see why. Set on 47 acres, this estate comes with two homes: a four-bedroom house built in 2009 and the original farmhouse, which has been totally renovated. There’s a pool, pool house and tennis court, along with a 25-stall show-horse barn with a trophy room, lounge and offices and staff apartments. In addition, there are indoor and outdoor riding rings, a jumping field and multiple grass paddocks. Sally Slater of Douglas Elliman has the listing.
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89 Martin’s Lane, Rhinebeck, New York: $22,000,000
In upstate New York, this sprawling 289-acre estate is steeped in history. The main house, a 16,000-square-foot Georgian manor, was built in 1851 as the home for Franklin Hughes Delano (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s great-uncle) and his wife, Laura Astor Delano, on land received as a wedding gift from part of the Astor family’s “Rokeby” estate. Today, the estate encompasses a three-bedroom guesthouse, three-bedroom farmhouse, stone gatehouse, carriage house with two apartments and two-bedroom Victorian gardener’s cottage. Equestrian facilities include an eight-stall barn with an office, tack room, feed room, heated indoor ring and outdoor dressage ring.
400 5½ Half Mile Road, Goshen, Connecticut: $19,750,000
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The most sprawling estate on our list is this manor house, which sits on 450 acres, so there’s room for horses aplenty. Naturally, there’s a barn, paddock and pasture. There’s also a tack room, and in the stables, you’ll find an automatic watering system, poured rubber floors, sprinkler systems and a generator. For human residents, there’s a custom gym, basketball court, indoor and outdoor pools, steam rooms and a library. Pat Lahoud Kennedy of William Pitt Sotheby’s has the listing.