Horses are beautiful, fascinating, noble creatures, creating a sense of wonder in one’s lifestyle. Although communities with equestrian facilities are limited in number, the concept has big potential to attract a wider audience, reckoned Helen Tatham, managing partner of Prime Places Real Estate. “They would invariably enjoy the open spaces, the greenery that naturally comes with such facilities, and the general ambiance of what feels like more of a country lifestyle,” says Tatham. “There is something magical about being close to nature and livestock, and particularly horses.”
Cristina Gusita, general manager at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, points to the appeal of living in an equestrian community as a prime location, echoing the sentiment. “Seeing horses on a daily basis in our arenas, polo fields, exercise tracks, and within the property, can be fascinating,” she says.
The property, along Emirates Road close to Al Ruwayyah, is set within open spaces, trees and lush green fields. Apart from the resort, there are 120 residences and 520 stables, plus 60 turnout paddocks.
Among Dubai’s residential offerings, Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club is one of only four equestrian communities.
A concept pioneered by the Albawardy family is the Dubai Polo Club Desert Palm and Riding School, which has 85 residences and also houses a boutique hotel and other sports facilities. It is set within a mature 160-acre estate in Al Awir.
There is also The Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club by Emaar. Although most homes are just across the road in the Arabian Ranches, a set of Polo Homes offer direct views of the field.
A little further up Al Qudra Road is The Sustainable City (TSC), whose Equestrian Club features as many as 500 members, many coming from within the community.
“In essence the equestrian facilities have been created for all residents, those who are already involved with horses and those who just enjoy the ambience thanks to the animals,” says Farhang Sadeghi, general manager of the Sustainable City Equestrian Club. “Acquainting them with the horse, we create new equestrians, and hundreds visit us from different schools.”
The success of these equestrian communities may signal that there could be space for more. “We have positioned ourselves as a destination for horse enthusiasts and an up-market resort,” says Gusita. “It certainly gives us a niche in a highly competitive industry. In addition, the core of the business promotes sports in general, plus an up-close experience with these magnificent animals.”
Convenience and entertainment
Most horse owners would tell you having their equines as close as possible to home is at the top of their priority. “Horse owners or those who are involved in an equestrian activity or sport look into gaining access to state-of-the-art facilities for their beloved horses, such as air-conditioned stables, lunging arenas, and paddocks. Aside from being in proximity to the stables, it is also key to have space for them to train themselves together with their horses,” explains Gusita.
“Our four polo fields, two international-sized arenas and professional instructors, able to train the newest of riders and assist seasoned competitors achieve their riding goals, also serve as an important consideration in deciding to be a part of our community,” she adds.
Around 20 per cent of residents in the Al Habtoor community are indeed horse owners involved in an equestrian sport. “Being in an equestrian-centric community brings about the interest from its residents to be involved and take up a new hobby such as riding, or be a spectator to some of the many competitions hosted here annually,” adds Gusita.
TSC also hosts different equestrian community and public events, attracting hundreds to watch or participate. “Most of the events we organise are for families, such as gymkhanas, offering so much fun, but also bigger show jumping events,” says Sadeghi.
At TSC at least 10 per cent of the community has started taking riding lessons in the equestrian centre since it opened just over two years ago.
“Many of our riding residents are considering buying their own horse, and those who already have horses, but are keeping them in stables outside the community, have asked me to provide livery, so they could shift them here to have them close to home,” Sadeghi said.