Exclusive gated communities are now catering to pony people

If you were one of those kids lucky enough to get a pony for their birthday, listen up! There are now gated communities in tony areas specifically dedicated to horse lovers.

Those wanting to live in luxury while allowing their equine to do so as well now have options. These exclusive communities offer state-of-the-art stables, jumping and dressage rings, polo fields, and riding trails for days. Residents can even borrow horses (just don’t ever look a gift horse in the mouth) for catered ride-and-dine events or participate in simulated fox hunts.

The Wall Street Journal reports that these sorts of horse-centric facilities are pricey to create and maintain, and while it costs developers a lot of hay, many are willing to turn a nay to neigh in order to attract cash-laden buyers to pony up and buy property.

While a relatively small niche market — appealing  to just 11 percent of all new home shoppers — horses can be a powerful marketing tool for those wanting to boast a certain lifestyle. As such, developers are sometimes willing to set aside plenty of valuable land for grazing and trails and pay for much needed staff. This includes an equestrian manager and support staff to maintain paddocks and pastures so they remain verdant and clean. They  must also pay for the trifecta of costly feed, veterinarians and insurance policies. These basic operating costs for an equestrian center can total to a whopping $600,000 per year.

Horsing around will certainly cost homeowners as well.  Resident’s dues pay for much of the center’s operating expenses — oftentimes totally about $27,000 per owner annually. In addition residents are faced with user fees for manure fees and various other related activities.

The actual homes in these communities area also big bucks. One such community offers properties ranging from $725,000 to $3.5 million. In addition residents pay $630 per month to stall board their horses, or $420 for pasture boarding with run-in shelters. Other homes which include horse facilities and an oceanfront vista on which to play polo can command between $1.65 million and $9 million.

“It’s a lot of work, but it broadens our appeal to families—they may not be horseback riders themselves, but they get excited about the option,” explained Charlie Hill, president and COO of DH Investments, which developed Cordillera Ranch, an 8,700-acre community of homes priced from $600,000 to over $3 million near San Antonio, Texas. [WSJ]