Art Jury Corner: Horse keeping


Along with citrus groves, chaparral and eucalyptus forests, the pastoral vistas of grazing horses lends a distinctive rural character to our community. Many people, who are not equestrians themselves, enjoy seeing the horses and riders in our community and view this as an emblematic symbol of a rural community. If you enjoy equestrian sports, being able to keep horses on your property and ride our marvelous trail system is one of the distinctive advantages that the Covenant offers.

The Art Jury is charged with reviewing applications to keep horses within the Covenant. As it does with all applications, the Art Jury looks at the aesthetics of the proposal, but a part of the review is to determine if the project can be properly managed (thereby avoiding future aesthetic problems). For instance, inadequate room for the storage of feed within a building results in the storage of feed outdoors (often covered by a blue tarp), which is an aesthetic problem.

When planning a horse facility, please keep in mind that it should be proportional to the size of the property as well as the number of horses. As with all new structures, stables should not be too visually prominent and blend with the natural features of the site. Your designer should create a stable that blends with the rest of the property and draws its distinction from quality design and materials rather than trying to create a prominent visual “statement” based on sheer volume.

The Art Jury is also responsible for maintaining the standards of the Rancho Santa Fe Regulatory Code, including minimum lot size, minimum separations between horse keeping facilities and neighboring buildings for residential uses and maintaining the property in a sanitary condition. At a minimum, the Art Jury will normally request that you provide sufficient facilities for housing horses with separate tack and feed (usually a minimum of 12’ x 12’ spaces) within a building. Waste disposal will also need to be provided. Potential sites should have enough room to keep the horses in a manner that will not be a nuisance to neighbors. Please avoid animal keeping projects on steep slopes or in “cramped” locations. If you are contemplating keeping horses on a property that does not already have horse keeping facilities, please pick up a copy of the animal keeping regulations within Chapter 40 of the Regulatory Code available at the Association office.

Two types of resources are available from the Association for members who are thinking of keeping horses. First, to provide practical advice on horse keeping, the Association has retained an expert horse keeping consultant. The Association’s horse consultant can assist Covenant members, free of charge, with practical considerations ranging from feed storage and pasture size to fly control. Please call the Association office to make an appointment. Second, for advice on building a stable, laying out a facility or if you have any procedural questions regarding the application process or code requirements, please call the Association at (858) 756-1174 and ask to speak with one of the planners.

After you have your horses, please be a good neighbor and maintain your facility in a neat, clean (odor free) manner. When maintained in proper condition, the appearance of a quality horse facility continues Rancho Santa Fe’s rural legacy and enhances the Covenant’s unique quality that we all enjoy.

— RSF Art Jury