Two major equestrian centres are being put up for sale as their owners look for new horizons.
Since Ian Winfield set up Oldencraig in 1988, he has ploughed £7.5million into it.
It now has three outdoor Olympic-sized arenas, an international-sized indoor school with seating for 800, 89 air-conditioned, heated stables, plus accommodation for 24 staff, a pool, bar and bistro for the public.
“I can proudly say it’s one of the best centres in the UK, if not Europe,” he said. “But I want to move on to other pursuits — building and property.”
The property is on the market for offers in excess of £6m.
Ian hopes nothing will change for the clients and that his wife, Vicky Thompson-Winfield will be able to stay on at the yard.
Fiona and Steve Gifkins have updated the entire property since buying MK Eventing nine years ago. “Retiring” early to be closer to Fiona’s father in the West Country, they only plan to have “domestic horses”.
As well as the cross-country course, MK Eventing has permanent stabling for 50 horses and for 50 visiting horses, 141 acres, one indoor and two outdoor arenas.
“We added or rebuilt 198 of the 200 cross-country jumps, run three horse trials and three two-day events each year, plus Pony Club events. We always intended to leave after 10 years,” said Fiona.
Agent Matthew Allen said it will be marketed shortly for a guide price of £2.5million, adding that it had a turnover last year of £400,000.
In contrast, Glasgow’s ill-fated Kingsbarn Equestrian Centre, which went into administration last year, has been rescued by Jackie Kemp.
Ms Kemp, who also owns a riding school in Fife, bought the centre in September. She has restocked the riding school, taken on 30 new liveries, achieved BHS approval as a school, training and exam centre and runs British Showjumping competitions.
Manager Leslie Bain said: “We’ve been given permission to run British Dressage competitions and plan to put in a cross-country course and two big grass arenas.”
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (29 July, ’10)