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The beast that left this deposit was first domesticated 4,000 years ago
and has served mankind ever since.
Honoured as a war hero, serving the police
and inspiring generations of little girls and boys,
it has been a boon to mankind, but also a problem for home buyers.
Saddle up and find out who it is
in this special edition of Escape To The Country.
'Today, we look at our favourite equestrian properties
'from previous series.
'And a Victorian farmhouse and riding school gets a gallop on.'
As an Irishman, horses in the blood!
'A Norfolk barn conversion gets someone chomping at the bit.'
He's eating your fence!
Don't get too close, he'll eat you!
'And I get stuck in as a stable hand.'
We're having a bonding moment.
Today, we are looking at some very special equestrian properties,
and talking about the creature that inspires them, the horse!
Tack rooms to paddocks, feed stores to stables, we've got it all. Trot on to the rest of the show.
'Riding is one of the most popular leisure pastimes in the UK,
'with over two million people riding at least once a month and 720,000 owning at least one horse.
'With so many four-legged friends needing a roof over their head,
'it's little wonder that equestrian properties are in high demand.
'Gems can be found, from traditional farmhouses with brick stable blocks
'to new-builds with a timber frame - there's a real variety out there.
'With many nags costing more to look after than a car,
'owners become passionate about finding the perfect horsey home.'
Over the years, we've seen some exceptional equestrian properties.
It's been difficult choosing, but our first is in Oxfordshire,
where Anita and her husband Mark were looking to spend £800,000
on a property for themselves, their son, two dogs and Anita's mum.
Jules Hudson took them to Clanfield, half an hour's drive from Oxford.
'He showed them an impressive newly built house with stables and land
'and thought he'd backed a winner.
'He didn't realise that Anita and Mark were a pretty picky pair.'
One thing with finding you property with land
is that you don't get ancient Oxfordshire properties.
ANITA: No, but it's attractive-looking.
-It doesn't look new.
-Doesn't look boxy.
-In a nice way!
It's quite teasing.
-All of that we'll look at later.
Let's go inside, yeah?
-Come on in here. Huge great big hallway.
-What do you think of this?
-Come through here.
This is, I suppose, your principal living room.
-Not the biggest in the world, but a good size.
-Not a bad size.
See yourselves in here?
I get the feeling, slightly flat response.
Sort of... No, I like it.
It's fitting yourself into it a bit,
imagining, once you put your furniture in, changing things...
Absolutely right. Not just your furniture.
-Also, your lifestyle.
Getting you guys into the right property is a crowbar job.
-If I'm perfectly honest.
'Through the hall is a downstairs WC, a study and a dining room,
'ideal for Anita's entertaining, but now for something I think she'll really like.'
Oh, wow! Now, THAT's a kitchen!
-That was a "wow"!
Nice big island for you.
There's a utility through there with a back door. Would this work?
This would work.
I'm glad you like it, because that's the downstairs of this property.
-Let's go upstairs.
'They've been wowed by the kitchen. Will upstairs have the same impact?
'There's a family bathroom and five bedrooms.'
Now, three of these bedrooms are en suite.
This would be, I imagine, a guest room or grandmother kind of room.
Open that door, Mark.
They're all finished to the same sort of standard - shower, loo.
-Nice little room.
-"Nice little room."
"Nice little room!" I'm not getting the...
I'm not getting the love, Anita! You two are going to be hard work!
-Master. Let's just go to the master.
Now, Anita, please tell me that this is going to work.
Yeah. This is a good size room.
-This would work.
-Through there, your en suite.
Go and have a look.
Good size. It's got a bath.
-And a shower unit. This is nice.
-Hurrah! All this storage stuff as well.
Views over the estate.
No. I like this.
Hooray! Brilliant. Good.
'Well, the master bedroom gets the thumbs up. Let's start outside.'
-This, Anita, is really what it's all about.
If this doesn't work, then we've had it.
-Well, let's start here.
You've got purpose-built stables, tack room, feed store.
There's a nice loose box there.
All the stuff that goes with horses. This is quite exciting.
This is what I want you to see, Anita.
Your very own all-purpose, all-weather outdoor training arena.
-We would have thought about putting it in.
-A lot of money!
-Yeah, it is.
-Bearing that in mind,
-how much is this all worth?
-There's a lot of estate here.
-£830,000 says Mark. Over to you, Anita.
I was going to say a little bit more than that, probably around 840, 845.
If it was around 830, how would that go down?
-It would go down well.
-We'd have a bit of work to do.
-You'd consider it for 830?
Here's the good news. It's not on the market for 830.
-It's on the market for 800 grand.
-Wow! That's good!
-How about that?
That is fantastic.
Good. Go and have a good explore and I'll come and find you.
It's far more than I expected.
The stables and the menage! That's amazing.
When I walked in the house,
it didn't have that wow factor.
But the more you saw, the more you liked.
It's a nice size property. Everything fits together well.
'For many, keeping a horse at home isn't practical.
'A good alternative is livery.
'To find out more about the service, I've dusted down my wellies
'and volunteered my services as a stable hand.
'I've travelled to Shardeloes Farm in Buckinghamshire,
'where 20 staff take care of around 60 horses on a daily basis.
'Reining me in will be Rachel Brown, who cares for the horses here.'
-You're my stable mistress!
-Tell me about livery.
We have lots of horses, from working livery to competition livery.
-We do part livery and silver service in between.
-Ooh! What's that?
We completely take care of all needs of your horse.
We do everything from feeding daily to changing his rugs,
riding your horse and turning it out in the field.
-Livery's like a horse hotel?
-Silver service would be right at the top?
-And what's at the bottom end?
A working livery, where we subsidise payment
by using it in the riding school.
Like having to do the washing-up to pay for some of your room?
-I am at your disposal, looking after these fine fillies.
-What shall I do?
-We'll start with some mucking out.
That sounds messy.
-Is that good?
Look at that!
That's a kingpin shovel-load of droppings!
I feel I've hit the jackpot there.
'I never thought I'd get excited about horse manure.
'Having cleared the stall, time to get more hands-on with its tenant.'
-This is a lovely looking horse. What's his name?
He? Yes. You're a bit dirty, Smokey. Are we going to groom this muck off?
-Yup. Ready for you to ride him.
-We take him out?
-So we'll pop on his head collar.
-I'm going to ride him! Wow.
Smokey! You and me!
I'm having a bonding moment.
'What better way to bond than a good brush-down?'
I'd like someone to do this to ME!
'Smokey seems to be enjoying it.
'Grooming is essential to ensure that horses remain healthy.
'Not only does it maintain the coat but it's a great way to check
'for any other ailments, such as cuts and grazes.
'Now, he's ready to be taken out for some exercise.
'Over goes the saddle, on goes the bridle and in goes the bit.
'I'm not too keen on this part.
'I'm assured, though, it's not uncomfortable.'
He doesn't mind at all.
'Maybe I'm a little sensitive.
'Well, even though it's raining, the horses still need to be ridden.'
It's like a moving mount.
'That's what's great about livery.
'Your horse gets exercise even if you're dry indoors.'
It's like riding a bike!
We'll walk him forward, away from the block.
Close your leg on.
'Having spent the morning mucking out and grooming,
'even in the rain, this is the best bit.'
-Shall we do a bit of trotting?
'Smokey and I have reached an understanding on who's boss.'
Don't stop now!
Just where the cameras are!
I just wanted to trot. Come on, trot!
Look! They colour co-ordinate. Clever cat!
Back on our equestrian track. The next property was in Devon.
Kay and Ken had £1 million. They didn't WANT an equestrian property.
They wanted something with business potential, perhaps holiday lets.
The mystery house that Jules found
happened to be the biggest equestrian property
in that famous corner of England.
'The property Jules showed them was in the tiny village of Sennen,
'near to the first and last place in England - Land's End.
'The village looks over one of the best beaches in England, Whitesands,
'a popular tourist destination, so perfect for business-orientated Ken and Kay.'
Now, guys, I've brought you down here
because I want to ask a question.
How would you fancy owning a lump of Land's End?
-A lump of Land's End?
-Well, I say a lump!
About 74 acres worth.
-With a business.
Guess what? You're on part of the land you could buy.
-The rest of it is over there.
All will be revealed after we take a little walk.
Come with me.
'This property is a real wild card.
'It's not what they're looking for,
'but as an established business in a tourist location
'set in 74 acres of land,
'I think it's a business opportunity that might catch their imagination.'
I've done something quite unusual.
We've looked at properties which have had a business attached.
I've found you something which I think is unique, certainly in a unique position.
-We've got a business with a house attached.
If you're into horses, this is the place for you.
As an Irishman, horses are in the blood!
What about this for an Olympic sized indoor school?
One thing they do here are competitions and visiting shows.
Hence, this gallery that overlooks it.
It gives you an idea of the business potential,
-if you wanted to turn your hands to something radically different to what you do now.
-What do you think of horses?
-I've been riding horses since a young boy.
So, in principle, I like to ride a horse.
As to whether I want to manage such a large space with so many horses is a different ball game.
-Seems like hard work.
-Well, you don't have to do it all.
People do help you do it.
It's not part of our Cornish dream at all, but I'm curious.
Curious is good enough for now. Let's walk out that way.
'What about the house? All will be revealed.
'There is plenty to see outside, including three large stable blocks.
'As an equestrian centre, they could be looking at a £75,000 to £80,000
'annual turnover here.'
As well as the indoor school there's this Olympic sized outdoor school.
Great venue for local shows, local events.
Think about it in terms of what else you can do here,
not just horses.
There's a lot of work involved. I'm intrigued.
It's so big. It's vast. It's a proper, established riding school.
Is it for us? That's the question.
There's a bit more. I'm not going to give up just yet.
'I've got another surprise for them,
'closer to their original plan.'
One reason I brought you here wasn't just because
it's an unusual piece of land with an existing business, but you were interested in holiday lets.
This is something they've recently done, converted this barn
to provide two floors of accommodation.
It isn't just a riding centre. It's licensed for activity holidays.
-Anything you like.
-It puts a different slant on things.
-Tell me what you think.
'There's an open plan living area plus two double bedrooms with a couple of bathrooms.
'On the lower floor, there's a dormitory for up to 14 people
'and another kitchen area.'
-What are your thoughts?
-It's really interesting. Nicely done.
The finish is there.
It's compact. It's got everything you need. It's self-contained.
Think about it in terms of an activity centre.
Is that changing your mind at all?
I'm interested. I'll say that.
It may not be for me, but as a business opportunity I'm interested.
-OK. Worth thinking about.
Of course, it is a working farm and it has a farmhouse,
which we haven't seen yet, but we will now. Come with me.
'Although the land is the selling point, the four-bedroom house has a lot going for it.'
It's not bad at all, Jules.
As you'll see inside,
it does need a bit of work, but most of it's cosmetic.
-It's a big house.
-It is a big house.
-Let's have a look around.
It's not bad at all.
This is one of two reception rooms. There's another one next door.
The story here is that the current owners had sold it and moved out.
Then it all fell through.
So they moved back but haven't taken everything out of storage.
That's why it looks a little bare.
A lot of the features are here. The alcoves and so on.
Come and look at the kitchen.
-This is more like it.
-One of the more "sorted" rooms.
-This is nice. This is lovely.
-It's a good size.
-Look at that lovely great big inglenook.
'This kitchen has the space and feel that Ken and Kay are looking for.'
-This is quite surprising.
-What's surprising about it?
This is actually a very nice Victorian house so far.
'Ken might not be taken with the equestrian idea, but I'm glad he can see the potential.
'Let's have a look upstairs.'
So, the heart of this landing, all the rooms run off it, like the hub of a wheel.
-They're all generous double rooms.
'The master bedroom is accessed through a landing
'where a bathroom is situated.'
This is the current master.
With space for an en suite.
They've got all this storage.
-But you'd come in here and redesign it.
That's actually good. I don't mind a project like that.
I think the potential is here.
Good size rooms, high ceilings, it's all there. I'm impressed.
-Let's think about how much it is.
-This is going to be interesting.
Yes, because I think the value of this place will probably put everything else into context.
How much do you think this is worth, given where it is? It is unique.
-I have no idea.
-It's quite tricky.
I would have to hazard a guess.
I'm going to pitch it at a million, keep it a simple round figure.
A nice round million. Kay?
-I'm going to go for 900.
This is on the market
-for £1.1 million.
-That is interesting.
I think that, at 1.1, you've got to buy the horses.
You've got stamp duty, work on the house. It's a different ball game.
I can see, having walked you through this place,
that this probably isn't the one for you.
-It seems like a lot to manage.
-I'm afraid not, Jules.
Now, my favourite equestrian property.
Alistair and Honey were hunting in Norfolk for a property so they could rehouse their daughter's pony,
which had been in livery.
They had £550,000 to spend.
Alistair, a budding chef, wanted a great kitchen,
but Honey was very keen on getting a manege, or "menage", depending on how you say it.
This property that we found in Tilney Cum Islington was wonderful,
ticking lots of horsey boxes and I was very excited.
'Five miles from King's Lynn and 11 miles from Alistair's office,
'the rural hamlet of Tilney Cum Islington
'hits the mark, in terms of location.
'There were no amenities,
'but its peace and quiet proved a real hit with Alistair and Honey.'
-What do you think?
-The original barn, obviously a barn conversion,
lost in the mists of time - about 400 years old.
This is only three or four years old but they've done a nice job.
-Looks OK from here!
-Good. Let's go in.
-Go straight through.
Oh! This is very nice!
It's very open plan.
-Real wooden floors.
-Proper oak floors. Excellent.
You've got my island! I can really do some cooking!
My range over there as well! I can cook some wonderful meals in here.
It's a simple downstairs plan. This enormous space.
-Then there's this snug sitting room.
-It's still really roomy.
You can work with something that's square. Plenty of light in it.
-There's windows on every wall.
-It's quadruple aspect!
Don't often get to say that, but it's quadruple aspect.
-That's the full extent of your reception rooms.
-I'm fine with that.
I'd rather a few bigger rooms than lots of little rooms.
-But there is some interesting study potential upstairs.
'And by that, I mean the landing area.'
-Look at this!
-Oh, this is lovely.
-This is lovely.
-This is great.
-Crikey! This is a brilliant amount of space.
-Often it's thrown away.
Let's poke our heads in one of the two bedrooms.
This is typical of the height, which is quite substantial.
Yes, I like the windows there.
-Lie in bed, see the horses. Perfect.
-Lots of storage.
What's this door for?
-It looks like an en suite but it's a Jack and Jill.
The same again, really.
-That would work for Keisha, wouldn't it?
She would be able to have a bedroom/living room.
It gives her a living space. This would work well for her.
-Then one room for Katie?
'It sounds like this arrangement will work nicely.
'Along the landing, there are two double bedrooms and a bathroom.
'And if lucky Keisha is getting the other two rooms,
'let's hope Alistair and Honey like this one.'
Not massively bigger, but it does have an en suite.
-I quite like this room. It's not a huge room.
-You've got wardrobe space.
The en suite doesn't have any windows but it's functional.
I think we could live with that.
And, more importantly, you lie in bed and watch Katie.
-There's a school!
-The manege is there for you to see.
That's brilliant. Being able to see her from here would be perfect.
-You want to go and explore.
-Let's do it.
'The smiles say it all, and if the outdoor facilities meet the brief,
'we could be on to a winner.'
They've got six horses here so it's all up and running.
Four stables there. Tack room here. Another two stables.
These are excellent. Lovely. Perfect.
-Is this what you want?
-Absolutely spot-on. Love it.
Absolutely love it. It's ready to go.
Particularly the manege. They've got your jumps ready for Katie.
What do you reckon?
Excellent. This would really work. We saw it from the bedroom, anyway.
If Katie was out here, we'd be happy in the knowledge that she's safe.
Brilliant. It's a nice size school as well. It's lovely.
-Really like it.
-And the paddocks are down here.
This horse is hungry. He's eating a fence!
Don't get too close, he'll eat you. These are the paddocks.
Not as big as the last property.
You had four acres last time. These are about two.
That's not a problem as long as we manage the land properly.
-It's all right on the horse front. You liked the kitchen?
-I could do some recipes there!
-Music to my ears.
The only problem would be if you couldn't afford it.
-That would be a problem.
-Here's the moment.
It looks great from here! How much do you think that property's worth?
-Probably over budget.
-Yeah. I think so.
-I think we need to come in somewhere about 580, 590?
Something like that. Yeah.
The price of this property
is just a tad under £550,000.
Under 550? Oh, right.
-That's very good.
-Yeah. Big smiles.
-Go and explore.
The house is beautiful.
The kitchen, stunning. Alistair keeps going on about it.
But actually, I love the kitchen. For me, that's stunning.
The down sides of the property is there's no annex for Keisha.
I'd still prefer more land.
We're right on the smallest amount of paddocks we could have.
I can't see any problems. I love the layout of the house and the stables.
Alistair loved the kitchen and Honey was smitten by the stables,
but, in the present climate, they decided to hold their horses.
They're still dreaming of that escape to the country.
That's our horsey special of Escape.
Hopefully, it's inspired you to get your own ranch in the country.
Join us next time. Trot on, Smokey!
Go, go, go, go!
Go, go, go.
Go, go, go, go.
Keep going. Go, go!
That's all you're going to get out of Smokey.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd