How to create your dream stable yard: top rider’s guide to success

Dressage rider and coach Ruth Edge (pictured riding at home), who formerly competed at five-star level eventing, found her ideal stable yard in Derbyshire. It had huge potential, but was rather ramshackle, so piece by piece, inch by inch, she turned it into her 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”.

Looking at photographs of how it looked when she bought it back in February 2012, it is hard to believe how much she has achieved.

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

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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.

For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, and in the latest issue, don’t miss our arenas special, out now (dated 6 June 2019)