November 2017 - Clear Spring Farm

Newest Offering in Equestrian Real Estate’s Long History with Exceptional Properties

photos by David Hebble

Realtor Caren Kelley began specializing in equestrian estates about 12 years ago despite speculation that “I was crazy because it was too narrow of a market,” she remembers.  Accomplished as both an equestrian and a commercial realtor then, Caren saw the opportunity to use her unique combination of horse sense and broad real estate savvy to serve those seeking to buy or sell high-end equestrian properties. Since then, she and her five-agent team at Equestrian Real Estate have become synonymous with horse properties featuring aesthetic, safety, comfort and performance characteristics to rival any in the world.

Clear Spring Farm stands out among the many elite properties Caren’s firm has been involved with. Located in an especially prime spot in San Diego County’s Rancho Santa Fe Covenant, the nearly 10-acre park-like estate is already outfitted as a premiere sporthorse training facility. The centerpiece 24-stall concrete block barn is surrounded by grass and sand paddocks, two perfectly-footed arenas and a grass derby field with banks, a grob and other natural obstacles. These training features reflect the involvement of Olympic course designer Linda Allen and noted horsewoman Linda Hough in the design of Clear Spring’s current incarnation as a training facility for international caliber sporthorses.

Originally built as a Saddlebred horse training facility, the property is best known throughout San Diego as the showpiece of the 100-acre Kentmere Thoroughbred farm. Caren remembers riding young Thoroughbreds there herself back in the day.

“Unique” may be an over-used description in property listings, but Clear Spring Farm is exactly that because of its location and its “L” designation from the Rancho Santa Fe Association.

The level parcel on the West side of the Covenant overlooks Escondido Creek and is surrounded on three sides by preserved open space. Unlike some sites in this area, Clear Spring sits high enough above the river that it is not subject to flooding. It’s within reach of ocean breezes, which the raised center aisle stable is positioned to capitalize on. On-site trails are easily connected to the 60-miles of maintained routes that weave through Rancho Santa Fe.

The “L” designations were sparingly doled out by the Covenant when it was formed in the 1920s, Caren explains. “Everybody had horses back then and it was recognized that certain properties needed the ability to have a higher density of horses and to be able to have a commercial equestrian endeavor, like polo fields or a riding academy, along with residential use.” There are only a few “L” designated parcels sprinkled throughout Rancho Santa Fe Covenant. Otherwise, it’s one horse per acre. The comfort and safety of its equine residents is an obvious priority at Clear Spring Farm. Nelson waterers, complete rubber stall mats, exterior stall windows with custom grates are among barn features designed for ideal function and beauty. Top quality sliding stall doors that open onto an extra-wide, rubber paved barn aisle and high ceilings that funnel fresh air through the barn are additional perks.

Eight indoor cross-tie areas are separated by solid half-walls and include access to a central vacuum system and hot and cold water sources. Natural light and fresh air bathe these grooming areas. Fire sprinklers and the extensive “defensible space” of expansive green landscape that surrounds the stable enabled the area’s fire department to designate Clear Spring a “shelter in place” facility in the event of a fire.

It’s not just horses that get star treatment. The stable includes thoughtfully-designed offices, tack rooms, several bathrooms, two showers and laundry facilities. Human accommodations include an 1,800 square foot guest house, a three-bedroom apartment and a groom’s dormitory with seven individual bedrooms. Each is outfitted ideally for its human inhabitants.

The guest quarters double as a terrific space to entertain. A great room is anchored by a fireplace and complemented by a fully equipped kitchen, a private bedroom and full bath, a wine cellar and a separate office that has its own full bathroom.

There is also ample room to build a full custom home.

Top Of The Line Everything

Having represented many spectacular properties over the years, Caren says Clear Spring Farm stands out among them. “It’s really just top of the line everything.” She anticipates that immediately strong local interest will blossom more broadly when word spreads of the rare property’s availability. It’s the kind of equestrian estate that entices buyers from far and wide.

Clear Spring Farm’s $12,250,000 price tag is “actually an unbelievable bargain,” Caren observes. “Residential prices along the coast are well above their previous peak prior to the recession, while rapid appreciation in Rancho Santa Fe is just now starting to take off.”

Rancho Santa Fe prices compare favorably to other areas where equestrian friendly properties co-exist with luxury lifestyle opportunities sought by those who participate in the sport at its highest echelons.

Even as the equestrian lifestyle gets squeezed by development throughout the country, San Diego County remains in growth mode thanks, in part, to a thriving competition scene. Cutting and reining activity is strong, the Breeders’ Cup Thoroughbred race comes to Del Mar November 3-4 and the dressage circuit and its riders continue to flourish. Caren is particularly excited about the new Adequan® West Coast Dressage Festival that is expected to draw exhibitors from far and wide this winter.

A Realized Vision

Back when Caren decided to focus on equestrian estates, she hoped that “all the threads of my life could make a difference in people’s experience.” Her own experience with horses, growing up and as a professional in adulthood, gave her first-hand knowledge of a property’s ability to safely house and support horses and horse people in their highest pursuits. Five hundred million dollars in commercial real estate transactions gave her a wealth of experience with land development, planning, permitting, construction and profitability, all of which has applicable parallels in her current specialty.

“We’ve been lucky to be involved in an extremely high percentage of high caliber properties,” Caren notes. “What we do crosses into the luxury residential market and land sales. We definitely have the resources and the marketing platform to help people with all of that.”

Between Caren’s work in commercial properties and Equestrian Real Estate, the team has represented over $1 billion in transactions. Caren gives credit for that to her five-person staff. “People tend to think it’s just me, but we are really a team. All of our agents have significant horsey backgrounds and extensive real estate experience. We’re dedicated to providing truly exceptional care to our buyers and sellers.”

For more information on Clear Spring Farm and Equestrian Real Estate, visit