The Stable Life
Prior to the 1990s development boom, Park City was surrounded by uninterrupted space. Mountain trail riding was readily accessible to any lucky horse owner. Today, gated communities have replaced livestock and field fences, and getting around Park City by horseback can be a little tricky. If you own a horse, finding the right place to live is essential.
Park City real estate agent and two-time Ride and Tie champion Julie McKay agrees, explaining, “There aren’t many places you can ride out your back door anymore.” High-mountain, luxury horse properties with ready access to backcountry trails and lots zoned for horses can be found in developments such as The Colony in White Pine Canyon (thecolonywpc.com), Glenwild (glenwild.com), and Red Hawk (redhawkroa.com). Promontory (promontoryclub.com) has a high-end equestrian facility for property owners that includes stables, an indoor arena, and outside paddocks, but its residential lots are not zoned for horses.
Horse owners trailering their animals from Park City’s horse-friendly neighborhoods go to public lands in Summit and Wasatch Counties to ride. Local trail and topographic maps are available at Snyderville Basin Recreation (basinrecreation.org) and the Uinta National Forest Ranger Station.
If your heart is set on owning horse property near Park City, residential communities such as Holiday Ranchettes, Quarry Mountain Ranch, Old Ranch Road, and the Silver Creek and Highland Estates neighborhoods are some of the most popular areas for resident horse owners.
Just outside of Park City in Kamas is the equestrian community of High Star Ranch (highstarranch.com), featuring 1,100 acres of rideable terrain with stables, barns, trails, and boarding facilities; Heber City’s Red Ledges (redledges.com) has 400 acres of open space for riding and equestrian activities; and Woodland’s Wolf Creek Ranch (wolfcreekranch.com) offers 14,000 acres of horse-friendly property and 60 miles of trails.
Healthy as a Horse
My vet has a saying: “If you don’t want problems, don’t get a horse.” Subject to contagious viruses, digestive ailments, and sprains, horses require highly specialized equine veterinarians.
Parkite Dr. Nicole MacLaren is a veterinary ophthalmology specialist, one of only a few in the country. Horses living in high elevations, especially those with diminished pigmentation around the eyes, are at increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma. “If not treated early, this cancer can severely damage the eyelids and eyeballs and then spread to the rest of the body,” says MacLaren (Eye Care for Animals, 801.942.3937, ecfaonline.com).
Dr. Kimberly Henneman, a veterinarian and certified acupuncturist, stimulates a horse’s unique acupuncture points with sterilized, single-use needles. Equine acupuncture restores good health and the internal meridians carrying life-giving energy, whose blockage can lead to disease (Animal Health Options, 435.647.0807, animalhealthoptionsvet.com).
“There’s nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.” That quote has been attributed to multiple people, and the sentiment surely rings true. The National Ability Center Equestrian Program in Park City (435.649.3991, discovernac.org) demonstrates how horses touch the lives of people with cognitive, behavioral, or physical disabilities. Known for their keen intuition, horses can sense a rider’s anxieties or unique abilities. The center owns horses like the Gypsy Cobb, a breed valued for calm temperament and strong stature. The center’s equine-assisted activities include therapeutic riding, hippotherapy, and equine-facilitated learning year-round in its 17,000-square-foot indoor arena and barn.