West Hempstead’s history as a horse town added another page to its annals earlier this month when executive management of the New York Equestrian Center announced it was for sale.
“I have done everything I could to protect, rebuild, preserve and promote the invaluable horses, horse history and equestrian sport here on the South Shore of Long Island,” owner Alex Jacobson said in a written statement. “The time has come for me to pass the torch.” Jacobson did not elaborate further.
The property has an asking price of $20 million and includes a 50,000-square-foot facility, with 63 horse stalls, and a training and equine rehabilitation center. The sale price includes four adjoining homes, and additional property in Afton, N.Y., containing a five-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot farmhouse and 15,000-square-foot barn. The equestrian center also has access to 775 acres of trails in Hempstead Lake State Park, and operates year-round in a separate insulated 30,000-square-foot arena with 40-foot ceilings and an 11,000-square-foot mezzanine viewing area. The facility has a clubroom, a storage area and a classroom for equine studies.
Jacobson added that the facility is for sale or lease to anyone who can — and will — preserve it as an equestrian center for public and private use.
As the only such facility on the South Shore, the NYEC offers riding lessons, trail rides, horses for lease and sale, horse boarding, rehabilitation and transportation services, and more.
Jacobson bought the center, then called the Lakewood Stables, in 2006. It was a seasonal business because its arena was not enclosed, and its main barn, pony barn and clubhouse were deteriorating.
Roughly three years later, the property was headed toward a foreclosure auction, but Jacobson got his loan reinstated by providing documents showing that he was due a refund from Nassau County for a recently settled 2003-04 tax certiorari case.
Jacobson began a $1 million renovation of the property in 2011, turning it into a state-of-the-art equestrian center. “After 100 years and no improvements, this was way too long in the making,” he told the Herald in April 2011, as a crane was demolishing the main barn. The renovated property reopened to the public at a “soft” opening in 2012. Its official grand opening celebration took place April 20, 2013.
According to the blog “West Hempstead Now and Then,” the first stables at the NYEC location — called the Paramount Riding Academy — opened in 1926 in conjunction with the creation of Hempstead Lake State Park.
In the 1930s, ownership of the Paramount Riding Academy was turned over to Charles Heinsohn, who renamed it Lakeside Riding Academy, a name that survived until 2006, when owners Suzanne Benedict and Brian McTigue sold it to Jacobson and Benjamin Haghani, and it was renamed the Lakewood Stables. Jacobson changed the name to the New York Equestrian Center after the 2013 renovation.