I really hate it when real estate agents use the trite “paradise” word to describe properties for sale. But honestly, if you are a rancher or an avid equestrian or a polo player…let me say as one horse person to another, Dillingham Ranch is my idea of paradise on earth. Here is a summary of the equestrian facilities and activities already available for the buyer of this legacy Oʻahu property, listed for $45 million.
Dillingham as a Working Cattle Ranch
“Ranch” is a popular appellation for subdivisions or development projects in more rural areas, even in places that never were actually ranched. However, the 2,740-acre Dillingham Ranch actually has been and continues to operate as a working cattle ranch.
The working cattle ranches in Hawaiʻi include some of the largest cow-calf operations in the United States. Although the demand for pasture-raised, grass-fed beef is growing, Hawaiʻi lacks slaughterhouse capacity, so most cattle ranches, including Dillingham, ship calves to the Mainland for finishing.
The current owners of Dillingham Ranch were envisioning a 70-lot or larger subdivision and so have let the herd dwindle to under 100 head over the past years. However, the carrying capacity of the Ranch as currently configured is around 700 head. For perspective, an operation over 100 head would put a ranch into the top 10% of ranches across the United States.
Polo at Mokuleiʻa (Dillingham Ranch)
Video of the beachfront polo field at Dillingham Ranch
Whether as some say, polo was brought to Hawaii via an Australian traveling from India, or as others claim, it was introduced by British military officers, it flourished as a sport enjoyed by Hawaiiʻs monarchs as well as by horseman from the calvary and ranches alike.
The Mokuleia polo field is a spectacular beachfront location, opposite the entrance to the main part of Dillingham Ranch. The Hawaiʻi Polo Club was established in 1963, and the weekly professional polo matches are a popular outing for residents and visitors, whether seated in the clubhouse or tailgating.
In addition to the beachfront polo field, there is a practice field higher up on the ranch. And what accounts for the unusual configuration of the “Big House” lodge, with its eight bedrooms, arranged four on each side of a courtyard? Housing for two teams of polo players, of course!
Equestrian Facilities and Horse Boarding at Dillingham Ranch
There is a long waiting list for pasture boarding at Dillingham Ranch, a business that could be expanded if a new owner so desired. Boarders have access to trainers and facilities for riders in a variety of disciplines, not only western and polo, but also dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country courses for three-day eventing, along with miles of trails.
An Equestrian “Paradise” with Privacy for a New Owner
It is a possibility that Dillingham Ranch could sell to an individual or family who wanted to take the entire enterprise private and have all those equestrian facilities for their personal use alone. However, since all the public and commercial equestrian activities are located close to the entrance, there are still thousands of acres for a new owner to locate an estate home or family compound with complete privacy while maintaining the income streams and community goodwill.
Both ranching and farming could also be expanded, by the owner or by leasing land to others. In other words, use your imagination to make Dillingham Ranch your version of “paradise.