Imagine yourself walking down to the barn on a sunny spring day with your early morning cup of coffee and a pocketful of carrots. You wander out to the paddock and break off pieces of carrots to feed to the eager horses gathered hanging their heads over the fence.
Or the last thing before going to bed you walk down to the barn by moonlight with the frosty grass crunching under your feet. As you push open the doors and turn on the lights you are greated by sleepy nickers. The horses slowly get to their feet shaking off the shavings sticking to their coats. You go to each horse and put on a blanket to keep it warm in the falling temperatures. As you turn out the lights, content in the knowledge that all is well for the night, you hear the noise of the horses contentedly munching hay.
You say that this is a wonderful dream, but that it won't ever be your reality, because you lack either the money or the time to own your own farm. However with the advent of the equestrian community, the opportunity to live an equestrian lifestyle is extended to more people.
The equestrian community may be structured along several models to suit a variety of needs and a range of pocketbooks. There can be a development of homes with an adjoining full service equestrian center. This facility can provide full care boarding for your horse, training for horse and rider, rings with courses of jumps, and trails. They can range from a very basic set up to million dollar showplaces. Another option is to have a communal barn where each horse owner takes care of his own horse and also contributes to the overall maintenance of the barn. The horse facility can also be run as a riding club where the members pay a membership fee and yearly dues as well as board, training and lesson fees. The members elect a board of directors who hire a trainer and staff to be responsible for the day to day running of the facility. The final plan consists of a development with large enough lots where each homeowner has the opportunity to have their own small barn and paddocks. Most of these models have a common area with a ring that is available to all of the property owners and there are often trails winding through the development.
The Charlottesville Albemarle area has several opportunities for the horse enthusiast to live the equestrian dream with more in the planning stages. The largest is Glenmore with the adjoining privately owned Glenmore Equestrian Center managed by Shadowfax LLC. Glenmore is a gated community located in Keswick only a few miles east of Charlottesville. Glenmore is an area of gracious homes, walking paths, a golf course, tennis, pool, fitness center, and a club with dining. The adjoining equestrian center located inside the gates contains 35 acres. It consists of a newly remodeled 26 stall barn with wash and grooming stalls, lounge, tack rooms, numerous paddocks, two rings, show jumps, and trails with extend around the entire development and can take several hours to ride. The barn is a full service facility offering boarding, training, sales, lessons, and coaching at the horseshows from the local to the A level.
The clientel is about half Glenmore residents and half members of the greater Charlottesville area.
A different option is offered by Centre Hill Estates located in Fluvanna County. This is a prime equestrian development situated conveniently close to I64 and the growing area of Zion Crossroads. Each resident may have their own barn and paddock on their lot. There is a 13 plus acre common area to ride in and a communal ring.
Another development along this model is offered by Hidden Hills located in Louisa County close to Keswick. The homeowners in this development also have the opportunity to have horses on their own property. There is a common ring and there is a system of trails extending through the community.
If you dream is to live the equestrian lifestyle, but you can't purchase that big farm or estate, you might want to consider a home in an equestrian community and the Charlottesville Albemarle area offers several choices.