Enjoy pictures from Eventing magazine’s photoshoot at Somerford Park Farm which is owned by the King family and is the base of Dutch eventer and recent world bronze team medallist, Andy Heffernan.
Andy arrived at Somerford, near Congleton in Cheshire, around 15 years ago. “I moved in with no horse in work just at the start of the season, and I had 10 boxes to fill and six months in which to do it,” says Andy.
Those 10 boxes have now increased to 37 in three yards — two for liveries and one for Andy’s competition horses.
Today, after years of continuous growth and improvements at Somerford, there are two main arenas — one 70x70m ash surface and one 105x80m waxed surface. There is also a farm ride which covers 6.5 miles which also has a winter all-weather route.
The jewel in the crown is the 80 acres of cross-country schooling which boasts fences to suit a first-timer right through to a horse heading for s four-star.
There are other professionals also based at Somerford including former European gold medallist Rachel Bayliss, John Marsden, Tyler Cassells and Ben Hobday.
“It’s the most amazing place to be”, says Andy.
The facilities are amazing but it is the attention to detail that make it stand out — nothing is left to chance.
“The only time I need to leave the place is to gallop horses”, says Andy. “If I want to do faster work, I have to travel.”
In February, Andy bought a house, Stoneycroft, just a few hundred yards from Somerford.
“Getting up in the morning and taking three minutes to get to work is a revelation,” he syas. “Before it was a 35 minute drive from Nantwich.”
Stoneycroft is home to six acres of its own grazing where one of Andy’s top horses, Boleybawn Ace (Harry) is currently enjoying his holidays.
Read the full “Through the Keyhole” article in the November 2014 issue of Eventing magazine out on 18 October.