Eventer Ruth Edge found her ideal stable yard in Derbyshire. It had huge potential, but was rather ramshackle, so piece by piece, inch by inch, she and her husband Pete have turned it into their perfect base.

Her top tip for developing a rundown stable yard into somewhere befitting top-class competition horses?

Marry an electrician who can plumb and “do mechanical stuff”.

Her husband Pete’s skills have played a huge part in transforming their new yard in Foston, Derbys. Looking at photographs of how it looked when they bought it back in February 2012, it is hard to believe how much they have achieved.

If you’ve always dreamt of renovating a rundown yard to create your perfect set-up, take a look at the Edges’ 8 top tips:

1. Do your research — how much land do you need? What facilities do you need? Remember it can be hard to buy land close to you once you have bought your base.

2. Plan a budget to the best of your knowledge. The more information you have, the better the idea you will have of the costings.

3. Once you have your budget, increase it by at least a third. This way you will be able to finish your project without having to go back to your lenders, cap in hand.

4. Get three quotes for all major projects and, if you’re not practically minded, get three quotes for minor works as well. This will give you a fair idea of costings.

5. Once you have agreed a price with a contractor or tradesman, try very hard not to change your mind — it will cost you.

6. Take your time. As our project developed, we had better ideas and also the ability to implement them.

7. Stop every now and then to admire your work so far. Take a big glass of something and have a good look round. It will remind you of what a great place you have. Take pictures of the project as it develops, as it is easy to forget how much it has changed.

8. Try to use local tradesmen, as it’s far easier to call them back to remedy
any faults — and you will also be helping your local economy.

Fancy taking a look behind the scenes at dressage rider Fiona Bigwood‘s incredible, bespoke yard? Watch the video

This is an extract from an article published in Horse & Hound magazine (22 August 2013). Find out how to download the digital issue