With a limited number of equestrian properties on the market getting creative is often the best solution. A number of riders like polo player Aurora Eastwood and event rider Vittoria Panizzon have had to do exactly that. Aurora purchased 80 acres in 2006 but only eight of them had any grass. She’s spent the past 13 years developing them herself and has included holiday lets as part of the mix. Vittoria Panizzon also took on a large project as she bought an old Dairy Farm which needed a total redevelopment to link all of the buildings together.
Bobby Hall says ‘Having the nerve to take on run down equestrian facilities might give you leeway to negotiate on the price in some cases but it’s likely that you will still face stiff competition. It took us about 18 months to find a property for an international event rider whose wife was a dressage rider.” Even though what they wanted was at the super ‘swanky’ end of the scale searching for a few rungs down the ladder can also be difficult as people move so rarely.
Five key things to consider;
- Planning – You need to find a good contact in the area who can help you make a quick decision as to whether you plans might be viable or not
- Costs – Aurora’s redevelopment cost her 30% more than she planned. It’s worth investing in good quality at the outset so you don’t have to replace so regularly
- Terrain – Vittoria says that ‘there are some things you can change and others that you can’t’– she’s lucky enough to be on sandy soil so it drains well
- Expertise – It’s worth getting in experts to project manage to save time, stress and often money
- Weather – Avoid doing building work in Winter if you can advises Aurora
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