2023 Readers’ Choice Awards: Etalon DX Fantasy Farm of the Year

One of our favorite columns is Fantasy Farm Friday. After all, who doesn’t love a dream-worthy equestrian estate? Now it’s time to choose your favorite.

At the end of each December, we at Horse Nation like to look back on the year that was and highlight the articles, essays and videos that most inspired readers, triggered important conversations, had everyone rolling on the floor with laughter, or made them drool over their fantasy farms — and then let readers decide which one is deserving of the title of the Best of the Year.

This is a personal favorite because I always like to look at and fantasize about equestrian dream facilities. So, which of these fantasy farms deserves to be the Fantasy Farm of the Year?

And the nominees are…

Fairytale Estate in California

Originally published on April 28, 2023

This $11.9M estate in Sonoma County was dubbed “A true professional equestrian complex set in incomparable natural beauty,” and it has plenty to drool over. The estate is “set on 30 acres in the serene rolling hills of Petaluma, CA. It’s only minutes to downtown Petaluma and 40 miles north of San Francisco, so this idyllic private sanctuary still lets you get what you need to get without traveling too far out of your way.

“The curated grounds include a reservoir, acres of lawn, gardens, and fenced green pastures.”

The equestrian facilities include an Italian villa-style state of the art professional showcase dream barn, with 15 oversized stalls with rubber matting, an automatic water system that tracks consumption, fly spray system, electric fans, tack room, vet stall, grooming stall, two farrier stations, two bathing stations, a huge storage room, one half bath, and a stable manager’s lounge or office above the stables with kitchenette and full bathroom. Oh yeah. And a rad viewing area of some amazing outdoor arenas.

Bolander Horse Park

Originally published on September 22, 2023

For $2.9M, this 30-acre horse park in Washington could have been yours. It spans three parcels in Silver Creek, WA, and offers a harmonious blend of upscale living, world-class equestrian facilities, and outdoor recreation. “Now for the part we equestrians care about. There is a 30-stall barn, indoor and outdoor arenas, a heated viewing area with a full kitchen, as well as permanent mountain trail course, designed by Mark Bolender himself.”

Old West Town in Colorado

Originally published on October 27, 2023

“If you’re into Wild West movies, rustic saloons, and riding your horse to the nearest general store or church, this property is for you. At the price of $3.7 million, you could own an entire western town in Saguache, Colorado.

“While the town replicates an old western town, it was built in 2007. The town sits on a 320 acre lot. It includes three original cabins from the Santa Fe Trail Hoagland Stagecoach depot, a hotel, dance hall, bunk house, 24 RV hookups, saloon, restaurant, general store, bank, and chapel. Bordering the town is the BLM and National Forest.”

138 Dreamy Acres in Virginia

Originally published on November 3, 2023

“This is one of those equestrian facilities that is so well thought out that horse lovers can’t help but be enamored with it.
Nestled on 138 acres in central Virgnia is Belle Oakes. It’s a premier equestrian facility with fenced pastures, open fields, hardwood woods, a serene stream, and some state of the art features that make us drool… The equestrian facilities are second to none as well. The seven-stall barn was custom-built in 2011, with each stall measuring 12×14 feet with Lucas Equine stall fronts metal stall doors, center aisle rubber pavers, and matted stall floors for ultimate comfort.”

World Class Training Facility

This Fantasy Farm had a slightly different spin: “Rather than a traditional fantasy farm — where we can’t escape get to live on the same property as our horses — this is a world class training facility designed by GH2 Equine Architects. The master plan for this facility accommodates up to 1600 horses and has amenities such as such as swimming pools, aqua-walkers and a central vet hospital and farrier forge.”

This farm focuses on equine welfare and rehabilitation:

  • Stall barns with wide aisles and fold-down yokes to allow horses to hang their heads out, as well as opportunities for horses familiar with one another to touch between stalls.
  • Indoor facilities are temperature controlled to keep horses comfortable in the hot and humid climate where this facility is
  • Separation of vehicle traffic from the horses, maintaining a quiet, peaceful environment
  • Varying opportunities for movement, aside from daily training, from grass turnouts, dry lots, and sand rolls to walkers and swimming pools
  • Separation between groups of horses entering the facility, such as between stall blocks and turnouts, for enhanced biosecurity

So, which facility deserves to be this year’s Fantasy Farm of the Year? Vote now and we’ll announce the winner on New Year’s Eve!