Equestrian Sports at Full Gallop in Sarasota


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, April 8th, 2016 – Two local centers for equestrian sports—the Sarasota Polo Club at Lakewood Ranch (LWR) and the Fox Lea Farm—both had a successful launch of their respective 2016 season early this year, ensuring that a horse-loving culture remains as a thriving lifestyle niche in the county.

The year’s polo season, with matches held each Sunday at the Lakewood Ranch venue, reeled off February 7 with London Bay Homes, builder of custom-built Sarasota homes for sale, as sponsor. The final match of the polo tourney, sponsored by Fidelity Personal Investments, wound up April 3.

Abundant Thrills

Equestrian Sports at Full Gallop in Sarasota

This fun and competitive polo tournaments, held since 1991, come during winter months and are divided into the sunshine league and ranch league. Besides the thrilling matches dubbed as the “fastest game on four feet,” the event also feature such activities as pony and Clydesdale wagon rides, tailgating and divot stomping.

The Sarasota Polo Club sits on 130 acres of manicured grounds, featuring nine world-class polo fields plus a regulation size arena. Play here ranges from 4 to 14 goal, with side-events like half-time entertainment spicing up the regular matches.

This facility is just south of University Parkway and a short distance north of the 3-500-acre Lakewood Ranch Waterside community currently being developed as a rich stock resource for Sarasota homes for sale. Besides hosting tournaments, the club also allows picnics during events. It likewise operates a polo school which in January 2016 started offering riding lessons to newbies of all ages.

Sports Niche in Venice

Like the Polo Club, the Fox Lea Farm on 800 N Auburn Road, located just west of I-75 and west of the premier country club community of Sawgrass in Venice, is steadily building a lofty reputation in the equestrian circles nationwide. Comprised of 46 acres, this equestrian center has been operating since 1983 and has established itself as one of the top feeders for niche sports tourism into Sarasota County.

Since its foundation, it has been holding annually upwards of 40 weekends of horse shows and events in the disciplines of quarter horse, dressage, hunter-jumper, plus appaloosa shows. It opened its 2016 season in January with an eight-event, nine-day quarter horse winter circuit.

Marketing Value

The influx of horse-loving tourists and competitors in equestrian sports is not only bringing in tourism revenues. The year-round activities at Fox Lea Farm, for instance, are also providing marketing exposure to nearby communities such as Sawgrass and its neighboring Waterford golf community.

Likewise getting added market lift are the sprawling equestrian communities in the Sarasota area, of which there are several including those in Manatee County. One of these is Panther Ridge located eight miles east of I-75 in Manatee, featuring properties ranging from 1 acre to over 14 acres. This community boasts of 15 miles of bridle trails frequented by wildlife such as bobcat, deer, armadillos, and occasionally, boar.

Developed in the 1990s, Panther Ridge has nine subdivisions which include The Pointe, Bridle Creek, Foxwood and The Reserve. The residences here listed amongst Sarasota homes for sale typically have floor plans ranging from about 2,100 up to nearly 7,000 square feet. Their price points range from high $300s up to over $2 million. Many of these homes have separate buildings, such as in-law suites, garages, or the barns customary to equestrian communities.