Olympic eventer Ian Stark and his wife have opened a new equestrian centre in the Scottish borders. Ian hopes that the centre will become a lifeline for the area, which lacks decent riding facilities.

“The Borders has one of the highest number of horse owners per capita, yet it has never had an equestrian centre,” Ian told H&H.

“My wife Jenny wanted to move the riding school [previously 4 miles away in Dryden] and we decided if we were going to move, we wanted to create our legacy for area.

The state-of-the-art facility at Greenhill Farm, Selkirk, has a 60x27m indoor school and work is already under way on an outdoor arena and cross-country fences.

Ian, who is designing the course for the 2015 eventing European Championships at Blair Castle, hopes that Greenhill Farm will become a British Eventing venue.

The centre is also used for clinics, Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), horse therapy and as a teaching facility for the Borders College in Galashiels.

Having everything under one roof makes life a lot easier. It is a great environment,” said Glynis Sawyers, who runs the Ettrickbridge and Dryden RDA Group, which uses the centre.

“It’s a fantastic facility to have in the area and I hope it’s well supported.”

Ian is also continuing his work with a small group semi-feral ponies who were part of a herd of nearly 100 belonging to an elderly farmer. They were in danger of becoming welfare cases.

4 are now working in the riding school and are used for everything,” Ian said. “1 of them in particular does therapy and RDA.

“I would like to get some more, but it’s a matter of finding the time.”

For more information visit ianstarkequestriancentre.co.uk

This story was originally published in 28 December 2013 issue of Horse & Hound.