It’s a bit of a different world here, centered around bridles and breeches and serviceable field boots. Through the years, Wellington has captured international attention for its equestrian season. And the neighborhood of Saddle Trail is right in the thick of things.
With 250 homes, all of them custom built and only a handful without a proper barn, Saddle Trail is one of the nicest equestrian neighborhoods because of the location near the horse grounds, like-minded neighbors and the proximity to all the linked riding trails that make Wellington so famous, say residents and local real estate agents.
“I bought a lot out here and we built our barn and now I have my dream,” said Carol Lazzarino, who owns two horses — one of them that she rides for sport and another, a miniature pony. “I was always looking forward to having enough property that I would have enough area to keep my horses.”
Since 2001, she and her husband, Roger, have owned 2.5 acres within riding distance of the Winter Equestrian Festival. She used to live in Broward County and had to board her horses. Here, it’s the some 65 miles of trails — linked together, neighborhood to neighborhood, eventually leading to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Preserve — that she loves. Lazzarino doesn’t show her horse; she just rides for fun and fitness.
Realtor and resident Mary Ellen Sencer calls the neighborhood an upscale cluster of “small gentleman farms.”
“It started out as basically tomato fields (in the 1980s) and as the popularity of the winter equestrian festival grew, it became an international spot,” she said. “We also have a unique thing. We have shell rock roads. They’re not paved.”
Apparently this is a good thing, because the animals are more prone to slip on slick pavement.
“It just allows people to ride on the street without incidence,” she said.
There is no homeowner’s association in the neighborhood, which is south of Southern Boulevard and west of Forest Hill Boulevard. The amenities, really, are all rolled into the location. “People go right out their back gate and ride right over to the horse show,” Sencer said. And since she sells real estate here, Sencer also knows about the seasonal rental market. While many of the Saddle Trail homeowners live in their homes year-round, some do rent their properties during the equestrian season.
The prime real estate, of course, is the barn. You’re allowed four horse stalls per acre, plus a little extra square footage for the groom’s quarters. Each stall can rent from $6,000 to as high as $13,000 during the season, depending on location to the show grounds, Sencer said.
Local zoning laws dictate that the house and the barn have to match in architectural design and color.
“The focus (at Saddle Trail) is very much on the barn,” Sencer said.
For residents who live here with families, the schools are all A rated by Florida. They are New Horizons Elementary School, Polo Park Middle School and Wellington High School. The neighborhood itself is close to shopping, freeways and the urban coastline.
Realtor Matt Varney, who owns Wellington Equestrian Realty, says it’s a great equestrian neighborhood.
“I think the charm and appeal of Saddle Trail is that it’s the best example there is of an equestrian subdivision that has people staying in it,” Varney said.
“The neighborhood is just built around horses.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The real estate market at Saddle Trail.
Total number of homes
Homes listed for sale
Median home sales price over the past 8 months