homes & money: A stable existence

Penny Jackson on the dream of a house with a paddock

Any keen young rider who has to beg, borrow or pay large sums of money for a few hours on a pony will know exactly why a house with a paddock is such a dream. The thought of popping through a gate at end of the garden to catch your own horse is not just the stuff of teenage literature, it is what drives parents into the countryside with the inevitable demand for "something with a bit of land".

In fact, estate agents find it is nearly always women who call the shots where horses are involved. Men have been known quietly to mutter in an agent's ear about tennis courts being a priority while the women, often with their daughters, nurture plans for immersing themselves in the local equestrian life.

Geraldine Pearson is no exception. The family moved to their house in east Northamptonshire primarily because she had become fed up with driving her young daughter to where her pony was stabled. "We used to have to get into the car with all the tack every time she went riding or had to feed the pony. Now we can walk straight into our paddock and from there ride for miles through fields without ever crossing a road." Mrs Pearson paints an idyllic picture of the country life of a family that could choose between the stables, tennis court or swimming pool all within the grounds of their Georgian rectory. After 11 years the house is now on the market with Strutt & Parker for a guide price of pounds 650,000.

Geraldine Pearson has been riding since she was six and was able to dispel any notions her daughter may have had about avoiding her responsibilities. "She would do the mucking out before going to school". Nor was Mrs Pearson dismayed when her daughter threw in the towel at 17 "when the boyfriends took over". She still uses her paddock and stables, not least by organising riding for the disabled. But disappointed parents are by no means rare. Stephen King of Strutt & Parker's Market Harborough office has seen people buying somewhere with 10 or 12 acres and then wondering what to do with them. The child that has insisted so passionately on having a pony loses interest in a short time. "Some will take to it like a duck to water, but it can be a shortlived experience. Stables are mothballed while various capital elements, like the tack and horsebox, go. They tend to hang on to the land and house until the daughter is married and then sell." In such good equestrian country - home to the the Burleigh Horse Trials and a number of hunts - it is not surprising that the demand for appropriate homes is insatiable. The fact that it is within commuting distance from London adds a certain spice to prices, although it is generally considered good value for money. Among the romantics, Mr King finds a hard core of buyers who clearly know the business. "As soon as they start talking about a minimum acreage, water supply, avoiding north-facing slopes, I know I am dealing with someone who understands horses." Given that there are something like 750,000 equines in the UK, with growing numbers of people wanting to ride, it is hardly surprising that land is under pressure. The minimum that a horse needs for grazing is one and a half acres and since they do no good to the land, not many farmers welcome them as tenants.

Ian McConnel of Savills says that in the Banbury area you pay a premium for pony paddocks. "Even if you don't use them, they are easier to lock up than large gardens. Not many people regret having the land." The greatest demand, he says, is for a relatively modest house - pounds 200,000 to pounds 300,000 with a few acres. The land may not be adjoining the property and could be sold as a separate package. If it is a pony paddock, the pounds 2,500-an- acre agricultural price is likely to be doubled. New houses with land are a pretty rare commodity, although Berkeley Homes has just sold one with three-quarters of an acre. However, that is half the size recommended for grazing a horse. The British Horse Society (BHS) is becoming increasingly worried by the numbers of people dropping unthinkingly into buying one. Money is no protection from ignorance. Jeff Herrington, welfare officer for Devon, has just rescued a horse abandoned in a field by its wealthy London owner to occasional visits. "They treated it a bit like an expensive sports car that they expected to start up at the touch of a key. Buying land, stables and the horse is the easy part - it's the commitment that counts." When buying land for a horse, he suggests that someone experienced should check the fencing, the quality of the grass, the water supply and whether it has a shelter. "There are too many people with young daughters who look at owning a pony through rose-coloured glasses. The ongoing costs can be extremely high."

It is hardly an estate agent's job to advise on horse welfare, but those in rural areas will often know how suitable the land is. They are certainly aware that there is more money around for those extra acres than a few years ago. But perhaps the reluctant parent of a daughter in the throes of a love affair with horses should take the advice of the BHS. "Send her down to work in the local stables every morning for six months, and every evening, rain or snow. If she still wants one then you are not likely to go wrong."

Buying land for a horse

Check it is large enough: At least one and a half acres would allow a rest period for part of the field.

Check the water supply: Main supply or a running stream that will not dry up in first dry spell.

Check state of fencing: It can be expensive to repair. If it is not adjoining the property, be assured that it is secure. There should be some shelter for the horse. If you want to build a stable on the land check first with the relevant authority. Go to the British Horse Society for advice about a horse's needs.

Tell the estate agent exactly what you want: "A bit of land" is not good enough.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Love but not marriage: property is one area where cohabiting couples are in danger of losing out

How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting

People who simply live together cannot assume they have the same rights to each other's assets as spouses or civil partners. Michelle McGagh sees how they can protect their financial interests

India could be jewel in the crown for investors

With a new government and an ambitious prime minister, the country offers the prospect of strong returns. But there may be hiccups ahead, warns Simon Read

Child Maintenance Service to replace Child Support Agency - but is it better?

Reforms to the vexed question of child support payments by absent parents mean extra charges for both sides. Neasa Macerlean reports

Barclays's new life insurance heralds a revolution on the high street

The new product marks a shift towards 'clear, straightforward and standardised' banking products, says Simon Read

How to protect your assets if the stock markets begin to head south again

Are you worried about your portfolio? Nick Paler asks fund managers and investment insiders for advice
Fuel poverty campaigners united in criticising the delays in helping those in fuel poverty

Plans to tackle fuel poverty are slammed by campaigners

Charities and action groups believe that the Government's proposals are woefully inadequate
Sell it with flowers: competition is 'intense' for homes with outside spaces

Gardens add a tenth to the value of your home

A London estate agent yesterday put a price on having a garden. David Pollock of Greene & Co reckons it can increase a property's value by a tenth.

Spectators at the Isle of Wight music festival watch the World Cup on the big screen. Betting promotions were a feature of the tournament
Lenders have been accused of persuading vulnerable people to borrow expensive credit

Payday loan firms accused of bombarding vulnerable people with nuisance phone calls

Payday loan firms have been accused of bombarding financially vulnerable people with nuisance phone calls, after a debt charity reported that a third of its clients were plagued by the messages.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Techincal Accountant-Insurance-Bank-£550/day

    £475 - £550 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Technical Accountant-Insuran...

    Sales Performance Manager, Gloucester - £290 p/day

    £200 - £290 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Sales Performance Manager, Key Ba...

    Junior Database developer (SQL, T-SQL, Excel, SSRS, Crystal rep

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...

    Java/Calypso Developer

    £600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, ...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment