Williamson County has long been home to many of the respected horse farms including the areas of Leipers Fork (usually in Franklin when doing a home search), Franklin, Brentwood, Arrington, etc. You can search for individual properties with land or horse farms and find quite a few. Or a more recent trend is equestrian communities. Beechwood Plantation in Franklin is one. This might be a little farther the other direction for you, but new to Gallatin is The Paddock. Saddle Springs Estates in Thompsons Station (Williamson County) is another one. Then you have regular subdivisions with much larger lots (5 acres or more) like Garrison Springs Estates and Traceland Estates in Leipers Fork, to name a few. So if you're interested in a property that will be equipped for horses, you can easily find individual properties or even properties within an equestrian community. Consequently, there is a new Greg Norman golf course being built about 5 minutes from Saddle Springs equestrian subdivision.
As for golf communities, some you may want to check out are:
The Governor's Club in Brentwood. This course was designed by Arnold Palmer and is located within a gated and exquisite community.
Westhaven is more of a resort like community. The homes don't offer much land at all, but they are more of a self-contained neighborhood with a town center, movie theater, pool, and golf course. It is located in Franklin.
Some of the other gated communities in Williamson County include Avalon, Ashton Park, Belle Vista, Gardens at Old Natchez (also has golf course), Temple Hills the Link (also has golf course), King's Chapel, The Reserve at Spencer Creek, Carlisle, The Enclave at Carronbridge, Laurelbrooke, Rosemont, Windstone, Natchez Valley, Legends Ridge, Stockett Creek, Hampton Reserve, Sheridan Park, etc. Temple Hills is not gated but does have a golf course.
Going back to Nashville, some of the gated communities within Nashville's city limits are: Whitworth, Middleton, Northumberland, Otterwood, Iroquiois, Abbottsford, Hill Place, West End Close, Cambridge Downs, and Bancroft. Oak Hill, Green Hills, Forest Hills and Belle Meade are desirable areas. It sounded like you did not like what you found on schools there, but I know there are popular private options around these areas. Belle Meade, Forest Hills and Green Hills are all very near the Percy Warner Complex that includes a park, golf, and preserved hilltop areas which make wildlife viewing a daily event.
Tanya Tucker's estate is going to be developed into a golf community. It will be called Stillwater and is located in Arrington within Williamson County. You might not have time to wait for that one though.
Strictly for golf...A little off the beaten path, but worth mentioning is a Jack Nichlaus signature course, the Bear Trace at Ross Creek Landing, has been voted the best in the state and was ranked as one of the best public access golf courses by Golf Week Magazine. It is in Clifton TN though which is probably a 2 hour drive.
I can provide more information about golf in the area (in general), stables, or more information about any of these areas mentioned. I hope this helps you in your search! Good Luck! Let me know if I can help in the process.
Here's my opinion. My family and I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area a couple of years ago to Franklin. At that time, it was rated in the top 75 places to move too in the US. We wanted to have a more rural life, but still be close to the culture that Nashville would provide. We currently reside in south Franklin (Williamson County) but have lived or owned homes in other areas of Franklin. All the answers you have recevied so far are correct and I won't repeat them. There are developments currently being built that cater to families that have horses, and several new golf course communities are being built, or are planned that are within a short distance of horse property. I good place to get started would be to have someone send you 4 fact booklets put out by the Tennessean on Williamson County. I'm sure there are similar one's for Davidson County. They are "Neighborhood Fact Book", "New Home Fact Book","School Fact Book" and "Living Here 2008". You could also "Google" Franklin, and check out "Realtor.com to get an idea on properties. I believe you couldn't go wrong moving here. I will say that the only negative thing is that roadways and such have not kept up with growth...but they are working on it. I guess also it depends on your perspective, and if like me, coming from the Bay Area with all the congestion, than this is quite mild in comparison. Hope this has helped.
Graham M Lombardo
You have a very complicated question with lots of answers. The West End area is excellent and has some high quality schools for the area. Green Hills is one of the most densly packed areas of Nashville, especially around the shopping mall. Forrest Hills which is close by offers larger lots. One of my favorite places is the Radnor Lake area, which has a lake, nature trails, and observatory.
The school systems would need to be compared to your school system so that we can determine what you are used to.
There are a few gated communities around Nashville.
There are several golf courses in the Nashville area and the State of Tennessee has the Bear Trace which is (4 or 5) golf courses designed by Jack Nicholson.
There are two counties (Williamson and Rutherford) that cater to horses to some extent.
I hope this helps you.