From the moment that Dan Souders first bought a home in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in 1994—a home that he would use on weekends and for summer getaways with his family—he took to the lifestyle. An equestrian-focused home or working ranch fosters a do-it-yourself, handyman mind-set, though Souders explains that if they hire the right staff, prospective homeowners can take a step away from that aspect of the lifestyle if they so choose. But for Souders, it fit with his personality. "I enjoy building things and getting things to work," he says, "so if you like that part of it, it’s a lot of fun."
Since then, Souders and his family have upgraded from that 54-acre property to a much more expansive one down river. His current home, the River Ranch at Round Mountain, gives him and his family plenty of land on which to roam. The 1,278-acre estate puts Souders in touch with nature in a way that his main residence back in Boulder, Colo., never could—whether he’s hiking or horseback riding, or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling. And that, he explains, is the greatest benefit that comes from living an equestrian lifestyle. "The serenity of being on the river and all the wildlife that comes along with it, it’s very peaceful and very calming," he says.
THE RIVER RANCH AT ROUND MOUNTAIN
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
For horseback riders in search of variety, this sprawling property in northern Colorado offers a bevy of options. A 12,000-square-foot heated indoor riding arena is attached to a horse barn equipped with five 124-square-foot stalls, outdoor runs, a large veterinary room, and a double wash bay (though equestrians seeking a more natural riding experience can take to the property’s 1,278 acres).
The main home itself offers more than 7,500 square feet of living space arranged in a relaxed, open floor plan, accented by vaulted beamed ceilings and large rock fireplaces. The first-floor office can accommodate three workspaces, and the second-floor game room, which includes a pool table, wet bar, and custom entertainment center, opens onto three covered decks.
Other structures on the property include a 4,000-square-foot manager’s house with four bedrooms, and three other fully appointed houses offer additional accommodations for family, friends, or staff.
Price: $23.9 million
Offered by: Hall and Hall (www.hallandhall.com)
Armonk, New York
Set 35 miles north of Manhattan in the town of North Castle in Westchester County, N.Y., this six-bedroom, six-bath home offers 8,900 square feet of living space that includes living and dining rooms enhanced by oversize fireplaces. Built in 1929, the stone manor home is equipped with maple and heart pine floors, coffered ceilings, and exposed antique brick, and it boasts six fireplaces.
The almost-13-acre property includes an in-ground pool, a poolhouse with summer kitchen and bath, and a riding ring and grass paddocks that are connected to a custom, four-stall stable featuring cobblestone patterned floors. Elsewhere on the property, a two-bedroom stone guesthouse provides accommodations for guests, while an 11-car garage provides a haven for the auto enthusiast and is equipped with hydraulic lifts and a security system.
Price: $7.75 million
Offered by: Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate (www.elliman.com)
EQUESTRIAN VINEYARD ESTATE
For equestrians who also happen to be oenophiles, this 9,000-square-foot home in Windsor, Calif., provides the best of both worlds. Set on 37 acres in the Russian River Valley, the home offers four bedrooms and five full baths and includes a home theater, an exercise room, a sauna, a steam room, a chef’s kitchen, a full-scale bar, and five fireplaces.
Outdoors, a vanishing-edge pool, spa, and fully equipped outdoor kitchen serve as the ideal place to unwind after an afternoon spent riding in the covered equestrian arena. But for those with a green thumb and a penchant for wine, the 16-acre vineyard produces plenty of Russian River appellation fruit. Four additional acres are already staked and irrigated and ready to be planted, should a prospective homeowner have more ambitious plans.
Price: $4.99 million
Offered by: Sotheby’s International Realty (www.sothebyshomes.com)
Everything about this home, from the various on-site amenities to the location on which it’s built, is designed with the equestrian and horse-racing enthusiast in mind. Spread out over 140 acres just west of downtown Middleburg, Va., the estate features seven paddocks, three barns, and facilities for guests, staff members, and equipment. At the focal point of the property’s equestrian facilities is a 14-stall stone barn equipped with two wash bays and a staff office. An additional 10-stall barn, a cow barn, a property manager’s home, and two detached garages round out the property’s structures.
The main residence is a restored stone manor with five bedrooms and five full baths. In addition to an outdoor pool, the home includes a fitness center, a library, and a garage capable of housing at least five vehicles. The home’s stone barn was previously featured in the Hunt Country Stable Tour, while other equestrian-related events throughout the year include the Upperville Colt and Horse Show—the oldest horse show in the country—the spring and fall steeplechase races in Middleburg, and the International Gold Cup races held nearby in The Plains.
Price: $10 million
Offered by: TTR Sotheby’s International Realty (www.ttrsir.com)
STONE CANYON RANCH
As Steven Mavromihalis of Pacific Union International real estate says, this home is "an ideal place for those who enjoy privacy, the outdoors, horses, wildlife, and open spaces." The home itself offers almost 8,000 square feet of living space highlighted by Italian limestone floors, Alaskan cedar trellises, and solid mahogany doors. And while the four-bedroom, five-bath residence boasts outdoor entertaining spaces equipped with fireplaces and a grand open floor plan accentuated by floor-to-ceiling windows, the location is what distinguishes it from other equestrian homes in the area.
Set atop a prominent ridgeline that offers 360-degree views of the countryside, the home looks small in comparison to the 10,000-acre lot on which it’s built. The property is located near the banks of the San Benito River and is close to Pinnacles National Monument, and while the residence is designed to maximize the pastoral landscape all around it, homeowners benefit from a location only a short drive from Carmel and Pebble Beach and no more than an hour’s drive southeast of Silicon Valley.
Price: $32 million
Offered by: Christie’s International Real Estate (www.christiesrealestate.com)
SKALKAHO CREEK RANCH
Ravalli County, Montana
True to the ranch’s name, this home offers views and access to Skalkaho Creek in an area of Montana about 10 miles south of Hamilton, but it also offers grand views of the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountain ranges. The Skalkaho is a fast-moving creek rich with wild trout, while the rest of the property’s 1,134 acres are made up of irrigated meadows that stay green even during the dry summer season. A 2,160-square-foot barn configured to accommodate six horses and is attached to a 1,600-square-foot enclosed work arena with a sand floor. A 37,500-square-foot outdoor arena is situated creekside and is equipped with an elevated deck for observation.
The main residence—a two-story alpine log home built in the mid-1990s—offers 8,600 square feet of living space and includes five bedrooms and five full baths. Separate guest quarters, featuring a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms, are attached to the home via a covered bridge of decking and can remain self-contained if desired.
Price: $6.9 million
Offered by: Hall and Hall (www.hallandhall.com)