“At the time we were not looking to move, but it was an opportunity too good to pass up and it is one of the best decisions we have ever made,” says Australian Olympian Chris Burton. In 2019, he and wife Bek – along with their then-19-month-old and five-week old sons, 16 horses and three staff members – made the move to Chedington Equestrian in Dorset, one of the flagship entities of the Chedington Estate owned by Dr Geoffrey and Kate Guy.
“Our partnership with the Guys was quite serendipitous,” recalls Bek. “They were looking for someone to assist them with the design of their new yard and to base there and help establish the business. Their daughter Ellie is a keen show jumper and from that arose the desire to build a premier equestrian facility in the heart of Dorset. Ellie is currently based in Europe with her lovely team of showjumping horses; she recently had two fantastic wins at LGCT Hamburg with Lyonel D and Origi van de Bandam.”
With development of the yard underway as they moved in, 2019 was a big year for the Burtons – one that involved the navigating of many diggers and builders – but they say it was extremely satisfying to watch the beautiful property come together. Three years on, and they are loving life at Chedington. Bek essentially runs the show and is responsible for everything from staffing through to hosting clients and growing the business, while Chris plays a big role in designing the yard and bringing in clients for training.
The property design is nothing short of impressive and has been developed to cater for the three Olympic disciplines: eventing, show jumping and dressage. “We have five purpose-built arenas. One sits within the cross country schooling area and is set up for clients to warm up on and set up specific lines,” explains Chris. “The second is a 60 x 20m wax and fibre surface with mirrors specifically for training dressage. The third is an ebb-and-flow silica sand arena specifically for jumping and is 70 x 35m. We have a small indoor lungeing area and our most recent addition is the 70 x 30m indoor school with 12 stables, tack room, storage rooms and viewing gallery.
“The yard has ample grass turn-out, five sand turn-out pens, a full advanced level cross country schooling field, grass gallop, rubberised walkway surfaces and trot-up areas, board room and owners’ viewing gallery, therapy and conditioning barn with aqua treadmill and Vitafloor® (a whole-body vibration therapy solution designed exclusively for horses), four treadmills and beautiful landscaped gardens. It has been designed to provide the very best for elite horses and riders.”
PLENTY OF VISITORS
Chris explains that Chedington is designed to accommodate riders who wish to base here with their team of horses. “The main internal yard, where the Team Burton horses are, has 11 boxes plus two isolation boxes and then we have three satellite yards of six boxes, each with their own tack room, tie up, wash bay and treadmill. We have plans to add a fourth satellite yard at the end of the year.”