For many people with a passion for horses, the idea of having the animals close by to ride and enjoy would be a dream come true. But obtaining the land, facilities and space required to make that happen can be daunting. Now a new development in Byron, Minn., is offering the best of both worlds.
A place to hold your horses
The equine park at Montgomery Meadows opened at the end of September 2017 and caters to those interested in making horses an integral part of their lives.
“It’s all about animals, families and community coming together,” says Michelle Blankenship, the equine park’s managing owner.
The park offers a range of amenities. Facilities include 21 12×12 box stalls available for rent. Each has a turnout, so the horses can be taken directly outdoors from the stable. Or with only the top half of the door open, they can soak up some warm sunshine and enjoy the fresh air. To offer the horses more room to roam, pasture areas are being added to the park.
The facility also features a large indoor, heated arena that can be configured for a variety of events. The 120 x 250-foot space can be divided into two or three areas, depending on a group’s needs. Two arena viewing rooms are available as well.
Lease a horse
If you don’t have a horse of your own, but you’d still like to get your horsey fix, you have that opportunity here, too. The equine park has horses for lease by the hour, day, week, month, six months or by the year.
“It’s a big commitment to own a horse,” Blankenship says. “Some people aren’t sure if they’re ready for that. Leasing is a nice alternative that still provides a connection to the horses.”
Riders can choose a specific horse to lease based on the rider’s level of experience. Even riders as young as 4 can hone their skills on a miniature horse. The equine park staff is in the process of developing programs that will involve group lessons for all riding levels, including children with disabilities.
“The equine park welcomes families of all ages, ability and experience,” says Blankenship. “We’ve found that many kids with disabilities often do well in horse programs. And here families can ride together. We’re really excited about offering that.”
Building an equine community
The programs at the equine park are open to the public, and members of the public are invited to rent stalls, as well. But for those who want to incorporate the world of horses into their daily lives, without the cost of owning a ranch, Montgomery Meadows offers an adjacent housing development currently under construction that will feature several miles of bridle trails.
The family responsible for Leashes and Leads, a southeastern Minnesota business that focuses on people and their pets, is also the driving force behind Montgomery Meadows and its equine park. This type of development, dedicated to creating a space for horse enthusiasts and the animals they love, is rare, according to Blankenship, and the goal is to build a thriving community that lasts.
“There are some similar developments and facilities like this around the country, but not many. And in the Midwest, this is highly unique,” she says. “All of this has been spurred by a love of horses and a vision to bring people and pets together.”
For more information visit montgomerymeadowsmn.com.
Tracy Will is a Rochester-based writer who understands the draw of having a horse out her back window.