Find Your Retirement Herd
Imagine a world with wooded acres for miles and the peaceful sounds of happy horses grazing. It’s a world where all your closest neighbors also have horses, and everyone shares a strong sense of community. This world could be waiting for you just past the gates—of retirement.
Although many people fantasize about retirement when they no longer have to set the alarm or report to a boss, it can also be a time to relish your love for horses! There are entire communities devoted to the equestrian lifestyle. Stick with me as we explore some of the best places in the U.S. to retire with your herd.
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The concept of an equestrian community has been around for the last several decades. As the population of the United States grows, so too does the development of land once suitable for horse lovers to keep their beloved animals.
As pasture acreage shrinks, so does the ability to pasture horses, build a barn, or enjoy a simple trail ride on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
But communities of horse-loving people can pool valuable land resources for their animals. They can also come together as a neighborhood around a common interest.
What makes a neighborhood an “equestrian community?”
Equestrian communities are made up of horse lovers. Individual communities may consist of families, retirees, or a mix of people who all love horses.
Some equestrian communities are designed for horse owners, while others are designed for people who want the equestrian lifestyle without the daily responsibility of owning a horse.
Equestrian communities may allow individuals to keep horses on their property, or manage a centralized location for horses. Members may share certain features, such as a large barn, arena, or trails.
Veterinarians, farriers, and other horse-specific services are also typically conveniently located within or nearby the community.
What types of amenities do equestrian communities offer?
If an equestrian community sounds perfect for you but maybe a complete nightmare for your partner, hang on—it’s about to get even better! Many equestrian communities offer a variety of other amenities to satisfy even the most horse-disinterested partner.
Amenities can range from pools to exclusive golf clubs and everything in between. Some communities offer a central clubhouse with shuffleboard and other organized activities.
You can also find communities with access to a riding instructor and barn manager to provide care for your horse. And for those who want a more hands-off approach to horse ownership, leasing or even lessons on facility horses are available.
Specific communities also offer guided trail rides. Given the variety of options, it’s possible to find a community that fits your and your partner’s vision of an ideal equestrian lifestyle.
Photo Cred: Canva
Best Equestrian Communities in the United States
Some estimates report that there are around 250 equestrian communities in the United States. If you’re thinking about retiring to one, start by taking a closer look at these top communities designed specifically with equestrians in mind.
|Community||State||Cost of Living||Key Features||Drawbacks|
|The Coves Mountain River Club||North Carolina||Low compared to other areas||Not strictly a retirement community|
|Red Ledges||Utah||Slightly lower than the national average||Housing costs in Utah are notoriously high and even the smaller homes in this community carry premium price tags|
|Rarity Bay||Tennessee||Around 10% lower than the national average||Healthcare costs may be higher in Tennessee than in other states|
|Grande Pines||North Carolina||Low compared to other areas||Limited assistance and options for those who want a more hands-off approach to horse ownership|
|Ocala||Florida||Slightly lower than the national average||Average summer temperatures are quite high making outdoor activities uncomfortable|
Access and affordability of healthcare are lower than in other states
The Coves Mountain River Club
Breathtaking mountain views, hiking, and lazy days spent alongside the Johns River highlight The Coves Mountain River Club community in Lenoir, North Carolina.
This community has options to either buy a previously constructed home or build the home of your dreams. Many properties come with ample space to keep horses. But the community also has a centralized, stable space for boarding per your preference.
Described as similar to stepping back in time, The Coves Mountain River Club allows you to live a simpler life. Explore amenities and buying options at NC Mountain Property for Sale.
Offering year-round outdoor fun, including skiing, Red Ledges in Heber City, Utah, is another perfect retirement destination for mountain lovers.
And if you or your partner loves to golf, there’s no better spot than Red Ledges! Brush up on your skills at the Jim McLean Golf School, or try out the state-of-the-art golf simulator in between rounds.
With a full schedule of curated activities, you’ll never run out of entertainment at Red Ledges! This community offers a range of horse experiences, from classes on horsemanship to boarding options and even trail riding. Check out the fun at Luxury Park City Real Estate Development.
If your equestrian retirement dreams include waterfront property, then Rarity Bay in Vonore, Tennessee, might be the place for you!
Boasting waterfront living and gorgeous mountain views, Rarity Bay is a charming community with a country club, pickleball courts, swimming pool, and championship golf course.
Rarity Bay’s equestrian center is expertly maintained by a team of professionals and includes over 100 miles of riding and hiking trails. See the idyllic country scenes by visiting Rarity Bay Official Website.
If you’re looking for acres of untouched wilderness, then look no further than Grande Pines, located in Southern Pines, North Carolina.
Featuring over 800 acres of land, Grande Pines is the perfect place for hiking or trail riding. And if you love dressage, the common equestrian area boasts a dressage arena and jumping course.
Learn more about lot sizes and building options at New Homes Pinehurst NC.
A review of the best places to retire with horses would hardly be complete without mention of Ocala, Florida. Considered by many to be the ultimate in equestrian communities, Ocala offers a robust winter show season and warm weather year-round.
Florida is a mecca for horse lovers and golfers, making it one of the best places for people with both interests to retire.
Factors to Consider
Not all equestrian communities are created equal, so there are several factors to consider when scoping out a place to spend your golden years.
The weather can make or break your experience. If you dread snow and sleet, perhaps it’s time to consider trying a southern climate.
Or, if you’re tired of constant heat and humidity, try a more moderate climate where you can sit back while enjoying the change of seasons.
Where is the best place to live with horses?
Thanks to the diversity inherent in the United States, there are many great options for living with horses! California might be the place for you if you dream of sunny and 75-degree weather year-round.
If you’re fascinated by Thoroughbred racing culture and love miles upon miles of white fences across lush, green pastures, then Kentucky could be calling your name.
Vermont, Florida, and the Carolinas are other states with major equestrian appeal.
There are many fantastic places to live with horses throughout the country, depending upon your climate preferences, riding style, and cost of living considerations.
Photo Cred: Canva
Cost of Living
Considering the cost of living is one of the most important factors to review in planning for retirement. Although Florida is a popular retirement destination for non-equestrians, it may not be the best option for equestrians on a budget.
Although California has beautiful weather year-round, it consistently rates as one of the most expensive places in the country to live.
Where is the cheapest place to live with horses?
Hickory, North Carolina, is currently rated the cheapest place to live in the United States. Its moderate climate and gorgeous mountain views make it a popular destination for retirees. If you’re intrigued by Hickory, check out The Coves Mountain River Club below, as it’s only 30 minutes away.
Closely following Hickory is Green Bay, Wisconsin, an area perfect for anyone wanting to experience season changes and football fandom at its finest. Several other Midwestern states, including Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio, also made the top 10 list of cheapest places.
Keep in mind that the cost to board a horse is, in many cases, higher than buying a house with pasture land and taking care of the horse yourself. The same goes for equestrian communities in general.
If keeping costs low is of particular concern, look for retirement options that allow you to have and care for your horse on your property.
Do desert landscapes take your breath away? Or do you love rolling hills and forests? Geography can often make a place feel completely alien, or as welcoming as the coziest home you can imagine.
What is the best state to own horses in?
For horse lovers everywhere, the answer to this question is unequivocally Kentucky. The state features plenty of open pastures and a massive range of equestrian-themed activities, ideal for horse lovers.
Where should I live if I want horses?
It depends upon your climate preferences and budget requirements. There are places in the Midwest where you can keep your horse right on your property and decrease overall ownership costs.
Although California and Florida are trendy retirement destinations, the cost of living is incredibly high in those states, even more so if you plan to board your horse.
More than Just Horses?
And as mentioned earlier, sometimes your partner doesn’t share your passion for all things equine. In that case, happiness depends upon balancing both interests.
Where are the best golf and equestrian communities?
In general, warmer climates provide the best opportunities for those interested in horses and golfing. Florida and North Carolina offer options for both equestrians and golfers.
In the western part of the United States, Utah and Arizona also offer fantastic golfing with a slightly lower cost of living.
Photo Cred: Canva
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where is the best place to live in Georgia with horses?
Georgia is an active horse state offering huge potential for retirees. There are many horse farms in the state, and over 150,000 households have at least one horse.
Although there are many places suitable for horse ownership in Georgia, Conyers might just be the best. Its small-town feel and the active equestrian scene make it perfect for horse lovers looking to relocate to Georgia.
The town is also home to the Georgia International Horse Park, best known as the site of the Equestrian Olympic Games in 1996. Even if you’re not interested in showing your horse, there are many fantastic events to catch at the park!
Q: Where is the best place to live in New Mexico with horses?
Corrales is a historic town discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Today it is a small, charming town with an approximate population of 10,000 humans and a thriving equine population.
Q: Where are the best equestrian communities in Oregon?
A national forest is a perfect backdrop to a scenic trail ride in Bend, Oregon. Multiple types of riding are popular in the area. And with a complete change of seasons, there are plenty of cold and warm weather sports to enjoy for both equestrians and non-equestrians!
Photo Cred: Canva
Retirement is a time of opportunity. It’s a time to enjoy life and the people who surround you. Take advantage of your golden years by seizing the opportunity to live out your best equestrian life!
Hopefully, this post has sparked a desire to find the equestrian community that checks all your boxes and allows you to fulfill your biggest horse dreams!
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
- 9 Best Gift Ideas Horse-Crazy Moms Will Love
- Equine End-of-Life: What Happens When Horses Die
- What Do You Buy Equestrians for Christmas?
- 31 Best Horse Gifts for Teenage Girls (All Budgets)
- Horse Rookie Equestrian Gift Ideas
- 8 Best Horse Cameras (Action, Helmet, Trailer, Barn, Drone)
- Pine Ridge Estates Equestrian Community in Central Florida (pineridgeflorida.com)
- New Construction Community | Oaktie, SC | Stanley Martin Homes
- Pinehurst Amenities | Golf in Pinehurst NC (grandepinesnc.com)
- Equestrian Communities – Equestrian Living (eqliving.com)
- Top 10 Equestrian Places In The U.S. – COWGIRL Magazine
- 25 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023 | U.S. News Best Places (usnews.com)
- NC Mountain Property for Sale | The Coves Mountain River Club (thecovesnc.com)
- What’s the best place to live with your horses? – Equestrian Living (eqliving.com)
- Cost of Living Calculator | Cost of Living in Heber City, Utah | Salary.com
- Cost of Living Calculator | Cost of Living in Vonore, Tennessee | Salary.com
- 5 Great Equestrian Communities- Bend | Equitrekking
- Marion County Equestrian Communities – Showcase Properties (showcaseocala.com)
- Cost of Living Calculator | Cost of Living in Ocala, Florida | Salary.com
- Sprawl pushes Georgia’s horse industry to new locations (gahorseracing.org)
- History (georgiahorsepark.com)
- About Us | Village of Corrales, New Mexico (corrales-nm.org)
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What state is best to live with horses? ›
- Ocala, Florida. Ocala is trademarked as the "Horse Capital of The World" and for good reason. ...
- Aiken, South Carolina. ...
- Wellington, Florida. ...
- Louisville, Kentucky. ...
- Middleburg, Virginia. ...
- Woodstock, Vermont. ...
- Woodside, California. ...
- Parker, Colorado.
Region: Kentucky and the southern states pretending to be Kentucky. Pros: Kentucky is inarguably considered some of the greatest horse land in the country—Kentucky Bluegrass is famous for a reason and it's the global epicenter of the thoroughbred industry.Where is the best place to retire with horses? ›
|Community||State||Cost of Living|
|Red Ledges||Utah||Slightly lower than the national average|
|Rarity Bay||Tennessee||Around 10% lower than the national average|
|Grande Pines||North Carolina||Low compared to other areas|
|Ocala||Florida||Slightly lower than the national average|
If horses have access to a shelter, they can tolerate temperatures as low as -40° F. But horses are most comfortable at temperatures between 18° and 59° F, depending on their hair coat.What 3 states have the most horses? ›
- California: 535,000.
- Florida: 387,100.
- Kentucky: 238,000.
- Ohio: 256,000.
- Oklahoma: 253,00.
- Texas: 767,000.
The nose, lips, mouth, and possibly the ears are the most sensitive areas to touch. Although hooves do not respond to touching, various parts of the hoof are able to feel touch. Understanding the degree to which horses are sensitive to touch can be valuable to the trainer.What state has the most horses per sq mile? ›
New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other state. The United States Equestrian Team is headquartered in Gladstone , NJ.What are the top 5 cheapest states to retire? ›
Here are the seven most affordable states to retire, according to Bankrate:
Fortunately, there are some states that don't charge taxes on retirement income of any kind: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
What is the cheapest country for an American to retire in? ›
Climate, environment, and costs vary throughout the country, but the overall cost of living is about 38 per cent lower than in the United States, and housing is 72 per cent lower on average making it one of the cheapest countries to retire in, based on June 2022 data.
Nevada is home to nearly half of the nation's free-roaming horse population. Many of those horses are part of the Virginia Range herd, which occupies a region in the western part of the state.What is the horse capital of the world? ›
Lexington is the Horse Capital of the World, center of the Thoroughbred breeding universe and home to the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as the historic Keeneland Racecourse.What is considered the best horse in the world? ›
This is one of the horse breeds that has been designed and been perfected over the last 250 years specifically for that one horse that can beat the world. They are the winners of the horse kingdom when it comes to elegance, endurance and speed.
Some horses have physical conditions or diseases that require an early retirement. Other horses can be ridden late into their life without issues. As a general rule, most horses should stop being ridden between 20 to 25 years old. Any horse, no matter their age, still requires a decent amount of exercise.Where do horses like to be pet the most? ›
4- Many horses like to be rubbed on the neck, shoulder, hip, or on the chest. Some horses enjoy having their heads and ears rubbed. Horses often groom each other on the whither, so this would be a good place to try too.What does it cost to retire a horse? ›
Horse retirement costs can range anywhere from $100 to $2000 per month. However, the median price is usually between $300-$600 per month.What horse breed is the hardiest? ›
As such, the Altai is one of the hardiest horse breeds in the world, as these horses are well-acclimated to very harsh climates and environmental conditions.What temperature is too hot for a horse? ›
Avoid riding your horse when the combined air temperature (F) and relative humidity is over 150, especially if the horse is not acclimated to the heat.What temperature is uncomfortable for horses? ›
A horse feels cold when the weather creates temperatures below 0°C. They feel hot when it reaches 25°C. The area between these two is the horse's thermoneutral zone.
Which state has most horse farms? ›
Kentucky is the United States' leading producer of horses overall, and the number one producer of Thoroughbreds, with 30% of the national foaling total.Who owns the most horses in the US? ›
4. Texas has the highest horse population per state.
|Number of Horses||767,100|
|Decline Since 2003||211,722|
New Jersey – Horse (State Animal)Where should you not touch a horse? ›
Be sure to stay away from the sensitive areas of the horse like the eyes, ears, muzzle, and belly of the horse. While some horses might be OK with you petting these areas, many are sensitive and won't like to be touched there.What smell do horses like? ›
Researchers discover that certain scents can help horses to relax. If you've ever lit a scented candle to help yourself relax after a long day, you may not be surprised to learn that the smell of lavender can help calm stressed horses.Can horses sense a good person? ›
Horses not only remember people who have treated them well, they also understand words better than expected, research shows. Human friends may come and go, but a horse could be one of your most loyal, long-term buddies if you treat it right, suggests a new study.Where do most horses live in the US? ›
Nevada is home to nearly half of the nation's free-roaming horse population. Many of those horses are part of the Virginia Range herd, which occupies a region in the western part of the state.What state is the horse state? ›
New Jersey – Horse (State Animal)Where is the horse capital of the US? ›
Ocala/Marion County is officially named the “Horse Capital of the World®,” a testament to the County's unique involvement in all things equestrian and its record of producing some of the finest champions in the sport.What state has the most horse people? ›
|State||Number of Horses|
|#1 Lowest||Rhode Island||2,600|