Perhaps this rates as a passing fancy, like casual fans juiced for the Kentucky Derby; or a real trend, where hay, stalls and U-shaped shoes are all the rage.
Just speaking off the hoof, though, horses are clearly "trending" right now in greater Charleston. More specifically, their "homes" are hot commodities, from few-acre grazing fields to sprawling compounds with stables, groomers and riding circles.
"Land is beginning to break loose," says Dan Ravenel, owner of Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty in Charleston.
"I think people are less ambivalent about their personal financial future," says Ravenel, who is the listing agent for the manicured equestrian estate Renaissance Farms in Ridgeville. They are "assured things are going to be better." With equestrian properties, the recent interest stems from "sort of a pent-up demand," he says.
There's no doubt that local real estate agents and property shoppers are perusing their share of equestrian properties, whether dotting the Lowcountry's rural outskirts or in places as far away as North Carolina. Listed at reasonably attractive prices, some properties possess waterfront homes, docks, hunting and fishing areas and other high-valued perks to complement the horse-riding amenities.
Cathy Sembower, a Realtor with Carolina One Real Estate, lists a three-acre property with horse stable for sale. It's at 3610 Legareville Road on Johns Island.
"I think it would be attractive, a unique property," she says. "There are very few properties that have two individual houses, four-stall barn, tack room and boatlift on the water," she says.
Keller Williams Realty agent Jeff Lackey has been marketing a pair of sizable properties, one on Seabrook Island for $1.3 million and the other at Stono Ferry in Hollywood for $1,695,000. Both developments sport equestrian centers (Stono Ferry, incidentally, will host its popular Charleston Cup steeplechase races Sunday).
At the same time, the Stono Ferry site also overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and sits on the 14th green at the Links at Stono Ferry golf course.
"The Seabrook Island area is still going fairly decent (as a horse-riding destination)," Lackey says.
Stono Ferry, he says, has been "a little more golf-related, but we have equestrian." The horse stables are "a big drawing card," he says: The Hollywood community stands as one of the few luxury, single-family neighborhoods with its own equestrian facilities.
On Wadmalaw Island recently, Alton Brown sold a two acre lot at Oak Grove Plantation for $400,000. "It's a conservation community," says Brown, a Realtor with Carriage Properties.
"If you want horses and deep water," the village offers both, he says. The community's near the North Edisto River, and it has a barn and paddocks. It requires just a 30-35 minute drive to Charleston, he says.
Oak Grove Plantation covers 112 acres and has just 13 lots. Most of the property has been set aside as a protected natural area. "You can see eagles and herons," Brown says. "It's pretty cool."
The lot for sale sits on a salt pond. "It's kind of like a gentleman's farm. It's for someone who likes the country, but doesn't need a tractor."
Noting that the roads are dirt, Brown says Oak Grove Plantation is "a pretty well-heeled neighborhood but not a fancy neighborhood."
Ravenel, meanwhile, notes that he's sold land suitable for a horse farm at Bull Island east of the Cooper and property at Iron Horse Farm on Johns Island. "There are some pretty spectacular properties." He compares Renaissance Farms to any of them.
The Dorchester County site, he says, would be appropriate for the typical buyers looking at equestrian properties nowadays. They don't have an overriding interest in owning a full-fledged horse farm with large stables and lots of upkeep.
"What people want (are) riding trails," he says, "(a place) to saddle up."
Horse pastures, farms and stables can be found in all directions around metro Charleston but are most common in out-of-the-way areas with plenty of open land.
Equestrian centers or large horse farms mark Johns and Wadmalaw islands, Seabrook Island, Hollywood, Huger, Ridgeville, Lake Moultrie, Meggett and Awendaw-McClellanville to name a few.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.