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Communities in NOVA with lots of trails

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  • Communities in NOVA with lots of trails

    So, we've been looking at horse property and I'd really like to find a place that has loads of trails accessible from the homestead. Anything from Fairfax west to Upperville and south to Warrenton. We're loosing trail riding land so quickly in northern va, I'm hoping I can find a place where all the land will not disappear, or the non-horsey people move in and make it miserable (like what is happening in Clifton. That is so sad).
    I'm not looking forward to the commute at all, but it feels like it's time to get out of suburbia.

    "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

    "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x

  • #2
    There are no "trails" out here. Not what I think you're looking for, anyway. You could trailer to the Battlefield, or there may hunt trail rides during the summer. Maybe there is a trail system in Loudoun but you'll find the land in the Piedmont is actively farmed. Farmers don't usually allow horses on their land - as riders are horrible about damaging crops.

    There are plenty of horse shows, and hunt trail rides - but no trail system. You could trailer to the Battlefield, and I think there may a park or two in the Piedmont that has a bridle path.

    You'll find the Piedmont isn't Clifton - there are many boarding and training facilities, as well as private horse farms. But the horse scene is integrated with real agriculture - not horsey subdivisions like Clifton.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling


    • #3
      Southdown in Great Falls, VA has lots of trails. The neighborhood homes have gotten very expensive because it is one of the few, close to DC, 5 acre lot, horse communities with good trail access.


      • #4
        If you'r e interested in crossing the river to Maryland, northern Silver spring has boucoups trails along the river, in protected land.


        • #5
          just my 2 cents!

          Well....there's Bellevue in our area. Their "trails" are really easements that run between the 10-15 acre properties and they are maintained by a homeowners association and it's associated fees. It's not perfect though. But IMHO, you're thinking like a city person if you are looking for an "equestrian" development. You could always look for property located near some of the parks/wildlife areas out here. OR look at property near some large landowners and ask for permission to ride before you buy. Many real estate agents out here are horsepeople and they know what you'd want. But be prepared to fork out though.... The further you move out; the better you'd be. Forget Loudoun totally.


          • #6
            I'd stay near the Battlefield. 5,000 acres of dedicated equestrian trails that will never go away due to development. Check for nearby foreclosures.
            www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
            "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
            Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


            • #7
              We live in Clifton VA. Still close to D.C., still in fairfax county. I keep hearing how the trails are falling away, but all you gotta do is head out my back gate and you can go forever. I suppose it is not what it used to be, but it is still awesome! You need to know what your doing out there, but that is true for lots of places. My boarder is conditioning her endurance arab out there and has no problems. Btw, my neighbor is selling 9 acres, and yes, she is on the trails too! We would love to see the place sold to horse people!


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by wateryglen View Post
                Well....there's Bellevue in our area.
                Actually, it was Bellevue that made me ask the question. I wondered if there were any others like it. We saw a nice place in Wheatly estates. The roads themselves were horse friendly with low speed limits and wide grass areas by the road for riding. That development is in Old Dominion Hunt, if I remember correctly and we were told that the trail system associated with that is extensive.
                The draw of an equestrian community is that the development is already done and you know what you are getting.
                The other possibility was being near a park system, like Battlefield, or Fountainhead, which is lovely.
                "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stacie View Post
                  The draw of an equestrian community is that the development is already done and you know what you are getting.
                  What you get is eventual failure. Eventually the horse people move out and new people move in and give the horse owners neverending grief.

                  Stick to the suburbs, or PW County near the Battlefield.
                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                  -Rudyard Kipling


                  • #10
                    The draw of an equestrian community is that the development is already done and you know what you are getting.
                    Nope. You don't. Because as Jswan said, horse people move out, non-horsey people move in, covenants are changed, and it just never goes according to plan. That's one of the issues in Clifton - our horses are in Clifton - and while we absolutely LOVE the trail system, for instance, there were issues with someone stringing BARBED WIRE across the trail a while ago.

                    Equestrian communities, as a general rule, can be a bit frightening. If one had to go that route, though, I'd definitely prefer the sort where everyone has their own individual barn/several acres, but even still, when paying that kind of money to live in one of those developments, I don't think I'd want to deal with the HOA covenants.
                    They're small hearts.


                    • #11
                      Ditto JSwan's cautions

                      There are a couple of horse communities near me, and every time a house over there goes on the market, my riding buddies beg me and others to spread the word and see if we can't persuade a horsie person to buy the property. Because now more than half the houses are non-horse, and they see the writing on the wall.

                      On a recent trip to Houston I had occasion to cruise through a couple of areas out Memorial Drive that were, up until the mid-70s, horse property communities. All gone. I bet folks who live in Houston now would never believe that the neighborhood were I grew up, between Memorial Park and downtown, had quite a number of horses in the back yard and we had Memorial Park pretty much to ourselves for riding, except for the packs of feral dogs and the occasional javelina, that is.

                      I agree with the advice to look for something around the Manassas Battlefield, I have a couple of friends with properties in Catharpin and the trail riding is still great. Which is not to mean anyone should be lackadaisical about the riding privileges on the battlefield- back in the 80s there was a move afoot to ban horses (successfully thwarted by the Park Service when they pointed out that they could not afford to live without the volunteer help they get from the Battlefield Horse Society). I wouldn't be surprised to see such a move again in the future.


                      • #12
                        There is a horse community across the street from me, and while the developer had great intentions and put in 12' aisles between all properties....he neglected to make those trails an easement. Therefore, ONE person put gates up at both ends of their "land"...a woman who just so happened to win a harassment lawsuit a couple of months before BUYING that property, at least according to the google search I did on the name, so perhaps as a sue-happy person, felt worried about being sued? The person also does not keep it maintained it as they are supposed to, and from the other people in the HOA, nobody much likes that household. So much for that set of trails. We still use it and I go up and tap it w/ my riding whip before turning around. Always. Although, last time we went down that way, one end was open (the end we were on) so we went down, and found the 2nd gate still closed, but at that point, we just opened the gate to get out. The HOA is working to get that section of trail opened, but without an easement, it is a battle.

                        But, other than that, there are a couple of loops that can be ridden, and there are still many trails near me. But, one farm was purchased by developers after a divorce and there are wells dug, which means that soon, houses will go in - A-3 zoning is back (thanks VA State Supreme court) and more "mine mine all mine" mentality people will move in.

                        Oh, and on the way to more of the trails, we had to reroute a trail because the original crossed a corner of property in another subdivision. The new owner built his McMansion and said no more riding through on his land.

                        I have a gate at the end of my aisle, but I allow people to cross through my land to get over to the other side. I just ask that the gate be left as found.

                        And, it isn't just the non-riders who want access blocked. Many of your fellow horseowners do not want any horse passing that close to their own horses.

                        sid had the right idea....find properties by the battlefield.


                        • #13
                          You can't rely on horse communities staying horse communities. When we were moving from Loudoun, some real estate agents wanted to show us horse communities. We wouldn't even look. They are overpriced and there are no guarantees.

                          If if the land is put into easements, people's back yards tend to creep out. Do you really want to go to court to be able to ride your horse. I'll take my BFE situation where I can ride across lots of empty land.


                          • #14
                            In Montgomery county, Maryland, just across the river, horse trail EASEMENTS were routinely put into properties across the county. Whenever anyone wanted to build anything or di vide property, the planning department (which I was a part of) would ROUTINELY route the application through the trail-riding organization, asking whether they wanted trail easements.

                            Doesn't this happen anywhere ELSE???


                            • #15
                              My husband works in Ashburn VA and we just bought a place in Capon Bridge a little subdivision called Ritter's Hidden Valley. I have miles and mile of dirt road to ride on and access to many more miles of trails. Not a horsey neighborhood. But everyone in here is friendly, happy and a mind your own business kind of crowd.More of a hippie kind of crowd. It is wonderfully peaceful here. You should look farther away to find something like here. The commute is horrible but the life we have is worth it.
                              Proud Mama of a BOY rider


                              • #16
                                Relocating to Virginia (and thrilled about it)

                                My husband is now officially semi-retired and we're planning to go back "home." We grew up all over the state so not tied to any one area. I've been an active rider (eventing & fox hunting) for 30 years, but now scaling back to just fun (trail riding and maybe hunting). OBVIOUSLY being around other riders is really important. I'm so out of touch with those ares back home now.

                                We have 40 acres now. I love it, but my husband is pretty much not in favor of that. We want to travel-and well-you guys get it!!
                                Anyone know of any horse communities with small acreage. More like 5 acres? These "communal horse areas" sound very interesting.

                                SERIOUSLY APPRECIATE ideas anyone has.


                                • #17
                                  Southdown Farm in Great Falls still has horses. It is a fight to keep horses in the suburbs but we are prevailing so far.


                                  • #18
                                    If you didn't mind a milder winter, I would look at Southern Pines, NC to retire in. Its not VA but it is very lovely. Very large horse community with hardly any traffic. 3 hours to mountains and 1.5 hrs to the beach.
                                    "Anyone who tries to make brownies without butter should be arrested." Ina Garten


                                    • #19
                                      Hi there. - we live in that type of community. Just off 66 in Fauquier County. Send me a message if you would like more info. welcome back!