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Welcome to Paradise: 5 Best Places to Retire with Horses

retire with horses
Written by Aimee B.

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.

Equestrian Communities

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.

Retirement sign

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
  • Gated community
  • Access to a large rustic lodge including scheduled activities and a pool
  • Miles of hiking and horse trails
  • Community garden
Not strictly a retirement community
Red Ledges Utah Slightly lower than the national average
  • Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course
  • Family-friendly 
  • Clubhouse with full-service restaurant and bar
  • Fitness club with pool
  • Equestrian Center with options to board or lease
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
  • Gated community
  • Exceptional golf course
  • Country club featuring tennis courts, a pool, fitness center, and food
  • Lake access for boating, fishing, water skiing, and kayaking
  • Offers a variety of price points
Healthcare costs may be higher in Tennessee than in other states
Grande Pines North Carolina Low compared to other areas
  • Community cabin with activities and opportunities to relax in nature
  • Access to a pool and fitness center
  • 385 bed acute hospital and referral center is conveniently located within proximity
  • Several different lot sizes are available to accommodate one or multiple horses
  • Golfing
  • Fine dining and shopping experiences nearby
Limited assistance and options for those who want a more hands-off approach to horse ownership
Ocala Florida Slightly lower than the national average
  • Active winter show season for all types of horse events
  • Exceptional networking with other horse lovers and professionals
  • Abundant opportunities for golfing
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.

Red Ledges

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.

Rarity Bay

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.

Grande Pines

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.

Ocala, Florida

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.

Horse property

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.

retire with horses

Source: canva

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.

SW Golf Course

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!

Retired couple and dog

Photo Cred: Canva

Parting Thoughts

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!

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About the author


Aimee B.

Aimee grew up riding and showing in western pleasure and horsemanship through 4-H. She began riding dressage 7 years ago and is currently training her 3.5-year-old Friesian/Quarter Horse.