For better or worse, current boarding barn arrangements are often front-and-center on the list of concerns brought to me by virgin horse property buyers. Moving to horse property represents freedom — freedom to feed your horses whatever you’d like, turn them out whenever you’d like, provide as many shavings in their stalls as you want, feed any supplement you want … The list goes on.
Owning horse property is the ultimate freedom to care for your horse(s) at the level of care that you feel is correct. However, for many, the undesirable trade-off is the loss of the boarding barn luxuries they’ve become accustomed to: Being able to leave for vacation on a whim (or, let’s be real, go on vacation at all), not having to clean stalls, feed twice a day, or maintain the fences. Not to mention perks like access to indoor arenas and riding instructors.
Although many clients cite “barn drama” as one of the top reasons they want to buy their own property, I often hear “But I’m afraid I’ll be lonely,” and “I’d miss having people to ride with.” All of which is very valid.
This leaves a lot of potential buyers torn. They have the dream of the horse in the backyard, but it seems so out of reach. Buying horse property would be an enormous life change for them, but with rising boarding costs, often boarding multiple horses becomes impossible to continue. Solution? Equestrian Subdivisions.
Equestrian Subdivisions are scattered all around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and are typically an hour or less to downtown Dallas or Fort Worth. They offer an extremely varied level of amenities, from riding trails at the most basic to covered arenas and full boarding barns at the other end of the spectrum. These communities are typically small acreage lots, between two and five acres, feature gated entry, and are managed by an HOA.
Equestrian Subdivisions are designed to be the “best of both worlds” for horse lovers, allowing them to have the horse in the backyard — or at least at a barn within walking distance — but without sacrificing trails, arenas, or friends to ride with. Many neighborhoods have resident-only group lessons or events several times a month in the common areas, or have a community trail ride weekly. Plus, when all your neighbors have horses, it’s easy to find someone to feed for you if you want to get away for the weekend.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but I have included short summaries of several of the local communities that either allow horses on site, and/or feature horse-related amenities of some sort, as well as properties currently available for sale. Uniquely, many of these communities offer a very wide spectrum of price ranges, so there really is something for every potential buyer.
Probably one of the best known equestrian subdivisions in the area, the Horsemans Ranch features a five acre lot minimum and many amenities, including riding trails, a community center, RV hookups for guests, gated entry, and a 130 foot x 250 foot covered arena. There are two Horsemans Ranch locations convenient to Dallas.
Bluebonnet Ridge in Rockwall, TX
This gated equestrian community has a minimum lot size of six acres, and quite a few of the lots are still valued as agricultural (“ag exempt”). This is a fun community with riding trails, neighborhood holiday parties, and special events.
Equestrian Meadows in Rockwall, TX
Small, quiet community in Rockwall ISD, features a community self-care boarding barn and arena for $50/month per horse. Residents are permitted to trail ride around the subdivision roads. HOA fee is currently $400/year per, does not include horse boarding.
This stunning, private community of 56 waterfront homesites set over a 505-acre shared ranch with 1 1/2 miles of shoreline on Cedar Creek Lake features luxury amenities, including an owners’ lodge, guesthouse, equestrian center, and full-time staff. Additional amenities such as an ATV course, shooting range, riding arena, equestrian trails, and fishing round out this resort-like paradise in East Texas. And still only an hour to Dallas!
Unsurpassed in luxury, The Ranch at PK is 1,100 private, gated acres for residents to enjoy. State-of-the-art equestrian center, riding trails, sports complex, 24/7 security, sporting clay range, golf course, and the famous “Million Dollar Swimming Hole” round out the lake and water sports.
The Harbor is another stunning, resort-style Hill Countryesque community, featuring both townhomes and single-family residences. The amenities include a restaurant, club house, spa, marina and Equestrian Center.
Home to the famed “Hell’s Gate,” Sportsmans World is known for it’s full-service marina for water-sports and fishing. The community also features an airstrip, disc golf course, pavilion, and stables.
Bridlewood Farms is an extensive master-planned community that is more like an east coast resort than a permanent home. The community features a golf course, sports courts, fitness center, trails, pool, and of course, the gorgeous Bridlewood Equestrian Center, featuring Hunter/Jumper equestrian training, elegant stables for 45, and a covered arena.
Saddlebrook Estates in Bartonville, TX
Saddlebrook Estates features small lots with riding trails throughout. Saddlebrook Equestrian Center is nearby, however not included with the HOA dues.
A gated, equestrian community with small acreage lots, Fossil Creek offers riding trails and a shared outdoor arena for residents.
*No homes currently for sale
Exactly as it sounds, this still-operating pecan orchard on the Brazos River offers every outdoor amenity imaginable, from two golf courses, stunning Gone-With-The-Wind-style clubhouse, air strip, archery, boating, swimming and horse stables. Available across a variety of price ranges.
A private, gated community built out of the Ruff Family ranch, this community is unique in its combination of lakes, hills, and horse properties for the ultimate in seclusion. The ranch features a community stable, riding trails, and clubhouse.
Steeplechase in Midlothian, TX
Located just 30 minutes south of Dallas, Steeplechase offers homeowners exclusive use of hiking and biking trails, a four-acre stocked lake, and an equestrian center with stall rental and riding trails.
Welcome to the country, y’all.
Kathryn Roan is a Keller Williams Realtor focusing on farms, ranches, and equestrian properties. Kathryn lives on a 55-acre working ranch in Wills Point, TX with her eleven horses…. and counting. Contact Kathryn at Kathryn@TexasEquestrianProperties.com