High Horse Stables, riding centers in Charleston area attract equestrian enthusiasts, harness real estate sales

Horses graze on a field at Stono Ferry. The community in Hollywood has had an equestrian center for decades.

Most days, Terri Seignious shows country properties from Johns Island to Awendaw that often include multiple acres of equestrian land, a grazing lawn and perhaps a barn.

But at least once during the workweek, the Realtor with Luxury Simplied Real Estate takes a break: It’s typically Wednesday morning, and she spends her free time riding horses.

“We are a community with horses,” says Seignious, among hundreds of equine aficionados in metro Charleston. Her favorite equestrian pastime is dressage.

From Seignious’ viewpoint, the Charleston area is “definitely a growing (equestrian) community.” Unlike Aiken or Tyron, N.C., the Lowcountry isn’t a “horse town” focusing extensively on equestrian events but offers a multitude of other attractions, such as boating and golf.

She says horse-riding fits a niche in the Charleston area recreation field, and it isn’t getting crowded out. Actually, Seignious sees greater interest.

From a real estate standpoint, “I am seeing more demand for small private farms. The more demand the better.”

Larger properties, too, weave horse farms into their mix of amenities. Seabrook Island, Poplar Grove on the Charleston-Dorchester county line and Stono Ferry in Hollywood include equestrian centers among a host of recreational features including golf, tennis and boating.

The Lowcountry is not simply a horse town, but Seignious sees potential for the region becoming a magnet for equestrian centers and properties.

“There’s definitely a horse community,” she says. “Children, teenage riders enjoy the sport.”

Major equestrian events also boost interest in horse farms and similar properties, as well as neighborhoods with horse-riding lands or trails. The Plantation at Stono Ferry, for instance, hosts steeplechase races every year.

“The Charleston Cup Steeplechase is a very positive event for The Plantation At Stono Ferry; it showcases our wonderful neighborhood to all that come out to watch the races,” says Bud Poston, Realtor with Century 21 Properties Plus. This year’s event will be Sunday.

The race also boosts home-buying traffic.

“There is no doubt that it also has a positive impact on real estate sales. After the race last November, we had six properties go under contract and close by Jan. 31, 2015,” Poston says. “Overall in the first three quarters of 2015 we have had 21 properties sold, from $237,500 for an Ironwood townhome to a $1.7 million waterfront estate.” By comparison, nine properties sold from $250,000 to $925,000 in the same three quarters of 2014, he says.

Along with existing home sales, Stono Ferry counts three new-construction homes this year being built by custom firm New Leaf Builders on the golf course “with great views,” Poston says.

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The real estate agent also notes Stono Ferry’s complementary attractions. “We have a wonderful gated, golf course and equestrian community, and we look forward to sharing it with people from all over the tricounty area during the running of the Charleston Cup.”

According to Seignious, the Lowcountry market offers plenty of interest in equestrian locales.

Seignious says she recently listed a 5-acre parcel of unimproved property along County Line Road at Dorchester County and attracted “a tremendous number of showings,” Going forward, she expects more of the same.

“I think they need to build more of that,” she says. “A seven to 10 acre property with a barn and a nice house, 2,200-2,300 square feet, I could sell those all day long.”

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.