Location, location, location may be a property truism, but few people realise that the price difference between the right and the wrong setting for an equestrian property could be more than 35%.
So here is what to look for…
1. Rural position
At the top of the list, according to agents, is good, horse-friendly countryside. “A rural position is a no-brainer as most people will turn horses out and must therefore have paddocks,” says Diana Andrews of Churchill Country & Equestrian. Ideally it should have good, free-draining ground (chalk or limestone) and excellent outriding.
2. Easy access to the motorway
At the same time, however, the perfect equestrian setting has easy access to motorways or A roads to get to competitions across the country but also, notes Diana, “for practical living”. “The ideal property is probably accessed from a good B road,” adds Edward Heaton of Heaton & Partners, “but with a network of bridleways or open access countryside behind it. Even the most beautiful equestrian property can struggle to sell if the local area doesn’t provide good hacking country.”
3. An equestrian community
Another major plus for buyers is to have a lively equestrian community, with nearby competition centres, strong hunting, Pony Club branches, riding clubs and good supporting services. Areas that are particularly well known for a discipline are increasingly drawing buyers, says Liz Langford of Fox Grant.
4. Good schools
And if there are good schools nearby, even better, particularly for equestrian families. “When we ask why purchasers have chosen a particular area, it is commonly down to the location and demand for good schools,” says Charlene Goudkuil of Fenn Wright.
…and what to avoid
Major blights, ranging from pylons and sewage plants to flight paths, trains and even undesirable neighbours, can significantly devalue a property.
1. Being too close to a motorway
“I remember looking at one beautifully appointed equestrian property a couple of years ago,” says Edward Heaton of Heaton & Partners. “The house was immaculate and the facilities were impressive, plus there was plenty of land attached to it. “However, it was immediately adjacent to a motorway, with mains pylons virtually overhead, which the owners were almost oblivious to. The asking price kept coming down and down, until eventually the owners decided to stay put rather than sell at what they perceived as such a discounted price.”
2. Lack of hacking
No hacking ranks among the things to avoid — “You don’t want to have to box up each time,” says Diana Andrews of Churchill Country & Equestrian.
3. Unmanageable soil
“The quality of the soil can immediately make a property appear less desirable, especially if it is a heavy type,” explains Charlene Goudkuil of Fenn Wright.
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The full version of this article was first published in the 17 October issue of Horse & Hound magazine