If you have a love of riding horses but want a home on the hoof then Cheryl Markosky takes you through your paces.
With rumours that horse-mad Katie Price is hunting for a home in Suffolk or Cambridgeshire where she can stable her growing school of steeds, it’s timely that Hamptons International has just launched an equestrian department.
“Most equestrian property buyers tend to be cash-rich, so the market’s quite resilient,” says Nick Hole-Jones, head of Hampton’s new horsey department.
And Katie's not alone. Other equine-obsessed celebrities include Madonna, Elle Macpherson, Sting, Paul McCartney and Martin Clunes want to hack away from prying eyes.
But if like them you want to buy the ideal equestrian property then getting onto bridleways next to your land is vital, Hole-Jones suggests.
Harry Meade, Olympic eventer hopeful and friend of the young Royals (pictured, bottom at his wedding last year), would love his own equestrian pad he could share with wife Rosie, 32, and their new baby-to-be.
Twenty-eight year-old Harry’s currently renting a yard in Bath where his father Richard, former heart-throb of Princess Anne and Olympic gold winner in 1968 and 1972, competed.
His wish-list for the ideal equestrian property includes “good land with loamy soil where he could turn horses out year-round, hills for fitness work, well-ventilated stables and good motorway system to get to events easily", he says.
If money’s no object, Harry says he’d also love “accommodation for a head-groom and three assistants, a horsewalker and lunging pen".
But unlike Harry the majority of buyers are satisfying a hobby with more than half between 35 and 45 years old, says Adam Challis, head of Hampton’s Research.
“The average equestrian property costs £1.4 million, with 30% sold in Surrey, 20% in Sussex and 10% in Gloucestershire or Herefordshire.”
The priority for serious riders isn’t the house. “It’s the land and amenities they worry about, from the right rubber chipping surface, to good drainage and floodlighting so you can ride in all seasons,” says Jasper Feilding from Carter Jonas.
Brits are not buying due to the squeeze, but four-legged friend foreigners from Australia, Germany, India, Pakistan and Turkey are, notes Jock Lloyd-Jones, Jackson-Stops & Staff’s man in Newmarket.
Two ideal equestrian properties on the market at the moment include Grange House Stables, a £1.95 million, house with six bedrooms and five reception rooms next to Rowley Mile Racecourse in Newmarket, Suffolk. the horsey bit includes side training gallops with training stablesffor 67 animals, a detached bungalow and trainer's office.
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In the grounds, there are three cottages, stabling, garaging, a tennis court and swimming pool