Engel & Völkers Intelligence

Equestrian Properties

Equestrian properties, distinctive in their design and function, are some of the most valued and in-demand housing estates.

The gentle intelligence of horses, combined with their unique power and grace, makes them a highly sought asset. All over the world, equestrian properties, distinctive in their design and function, are some of the most valued and in-demand housing estates.

The Private Office Advisors at Engel & Völkers who focus on equestrian properties are trained to help sellers market their specially designed arenas and buildings to a small pool of buyers; and to help buyers find the perfect property for their horses, discipline and boarding needs.

What is considered an equestrian property?

The primary requirement for an equestrian property, of course, is that it can house and train horses, whether for hobby or sport. Our Private Office Advisors have deep knowledge of the equestrian property features that are in-demand or necessary in their local market areas.

The most common features of an equestrian property include:

  • Stables

  • Indoor riding arena

  • Exterior riding arena

  • A residential property

  • Staff housing (groom’s quarters)

  • Storage facilities for hay

  • Paddocks, riding fields or pastures

Because we’re located in the mountains, our most in-demand equestrian properties tend to feature an indoor riding arena, so the buyer can ride year-round.” 

— Melissa Temple, Private Office Advisor, Aspen

The goals of owning an equestrian property

There is no one typical equestrian property owner, say our Advisors. While our specialists working in the Mountain West share that their buyers tend to look for properties where they can train their horses and potentially board other horses for revenue, our specialist in Wellington, Florida, focuses on finding properties for Olympic hopefuls and related business owners.

Equestrian properties can be used for:

  • Recreation and hobby

  • Horse boarding, as a revenue source

  • Training business, where horses are trained to progress in a sport

  • Teaching business, where riders are trained in a discipline

  • Sales business, where horses are bred or trained, then sold

"As you might expect when working with the top equine athletes and equestrians in the world, the properties aren't built for hobby, they’re built for a profession and for Olympic-level competition. So the arenas, the stables, they’re not a side amenity. They’re the most important part of the property.” 

— Travis Laas, Private Office Advisor, Wellington

Considerations of buying an equestrian property

For buyers who plan to own an equestrian property for recreation or boarding, our Advisors will help evaluate the properties’ buildings and features, to ensure that all essentials are included and in good condition.

Advisors can also provide insights on:

  • Land rights and zoning

  • Water rights and irrigation

  • Fire mitigation

  • Conservation easements

  • The staff needed to take care of the property and horses

Many equestrian buyers are specifically looking for properties adjacent to federal land, said Missoula, Montana, advisor PollyAnna Snyder. With this extra land to explore, the property owners can “load up horses to go ride trails for hours, or even pack up and go on overnight trips for a few days. The property acts as a home base for these kinds of adventures,” explained Snyder.

Out-of-state buyers may need extra help understanding how to get a property rezoned so that it can be turned into horse boarding. It’s really critical for them to have a local specialist with expertise in equestrian properties.” 

— Melissa Temple, Private Office Advisor, Aspen

Buying a professional-level equestrian property

Meanwhile, buyers focused on professional-level competition properties will have different considerations. Laas shares that when working with these clients, he first learns more about their discipline, funding structure and overall needs — together, these three factors help determine the flow of the transaction.

First, Laas begins by finding properties designed for his client’s chosen discipline, which is typically dressage, jumping or polo. Everything, from the arena sizes to the footing — or the surface material that the horses compete on — differs across disciplines. Laas also routinely works with clients to determine if a not-quite-perfect property can be redesigned or upgraded to meet their needs.

Laas and his clients also pay close attention to the design of the property buildings, including the proximity of staff housing, or groom’s quarters, to the horses. “The value of equine athletes can be multiple millions of dollars,” Laas explained, “so it’s critical that the facility is designed around the care of these horses.”

The biggest priority for my clients, typically, is the riding arena. Different disciplines — dressage, jumping, polo — have different-sized arenas and footing that’s formulated to help prevent injuries and bad performance.” 

— Travis Laas, Private Office Advisor, Wellington

Representing equestrian sellers

Whether they’re listing a ranch-style equestrian property in the Intermountain West, a facility designed for training world-class dressage athletes in Florida, or a 100-acre/41-hectare equestrian estate in Normandy, our advisors agree that selling an equestrian property is best handled by experts in that field.

“This is a tight-knit community, and it’s not easy for outsiders to access,” said Laas. “It helps to have someone who works with this client base year-round and who knows the inner workings of the industry.”

Temple agrees, sharing that marketing these properties takes a combination of talent and persistence. Describing a recent property she listed, Temple shares, “I put my heart and soul into listing my latest property. I hired a huge marketing crew to help me find the right buyer. We’re using print, social media, private office networking, and I’m reaching out to other equestrian brokers from Engel & Völkers. There’s a small pool of buyers for a property like this, and I’m dedicated to finding the next perfect owner.”

For Gregory Vallée, a Private Office Advisor in Deauville, an important part of marketing equestrian properties is to properly represent the size of the estate in one photo. “This kind of property can be vast, with multiple outbuildings and arenas, and the audience needs to understand quickly how large it is. I use aerial footage, which plays well on lifestyle and equestrian blogs, as well as other luxury real estate websites I use in my marketing.”