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Fairfield Farm, new 20-acre luxury horse farm, set to open in Santa Ynez

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Fairfield Farm, new 20-acre luxury horse farm, set to open in Santa Ynez

On Aug. 1, ClaudeLee “Elee” Johnson will officially open the stable doors to Fairfield Farm — a 20-acre luxury boarding facility and horse property in Santa Ynez — while aiming to build a community of riders and boarders who share her love for horses and the sport. 

The passion project, which began in 2018 when Johnson moved to the area from Long Island, was built on a dream to bring "the magic of East Coast riding club culture" to the Santa Ynez Valley, akin to the high-end equestrian barns she’d left behind.

The equestrian farm features a two-story horse barn with 30 stalls for boarding, nine all-weather turnouts including irrigated grass paddocks, a jumper ring, an Olympic regulation-size dressage ring and a 300-by-250-foot grass field.

In addition, Fairfield Farm offers private, advanced riding lessons for both adults and children.

"I want to create an improved experience for the riders here on the West Coast," Johnson explained. "One that is positive and beneficial, not only regarding the correct communication between horse and rider, but one which is inclusive and positive toward the fellow rider.” 

The New Yorker-turned-Californian grew up riding and showing horses at top riding clubs like the Ox Ridge Hunt Club in Darien, Connecticut and Old Salem Farm in New York, and performed at some of the world’s most prestigious horse shows. For three decades Johnson also studied under world-class hunter and jumper trainers Scott Stewart, Jenny Yacoe-Fischer and Mark Leone.

Transforming the property from its original state of disrepair to a facility that fits the standards she had come to expect at the clubs she once frequented was a labor of love which Johnson said required significant financial resources.

The stalls were pitted, the dressage ring was full of rocks, and the fencing was falling down, she added. 

The final result to debut in August is a culmination of comfort and luxury for both the horse and rider that Johnson likens to "a playground for the rider." 

“It’s a prime facility with huge turnouts," Johnson said. "And it’s ideal living for a horse.” 

Horse stalls are lined with rubber mats, equipped with individual fans, custom latches, automated waterers and an automatic fly spray system. The barn aisles also are paved and new fencing has been installed throughout the property.

Johnson noted that the barn doors are sourced from Pennsylvania’s Amish country and add an air of old-world authenticity.

"I built it as I would have wanted it," she said. "It’s above and beyond the norm.”

Focusing on care and safety of occupant horses, Johnson explained that Fairfield Farm managers reside on the property and are available to boarders, while jumper and dressage rings are engineered for safe, all-weather riding, including following heavy rains.

Each boarded horse also is evaluated and exercised daily throughout the year, she said, detailing that horses graze outside during daytime hours in the winter, and are brought into the cool barn during hot summer months where they are then turned out at night to enjoy irrigated grass paddocks.

“I want everyone here to enjoy their experience — the horses, the riders and the staff,” Johnson said. “I’m doing this for my own happiness and for the people around me." 

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8-year-old "Accidental Icon" grazes on the grounds at Fairfield Farm in Santa Ynez with owner ClaudeLee "Elee" Johnson.

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