Five years ago Astrid Bolton bought 90 acres of land just outside Blackpool. She had been searching for some time, without success, for new premises for her very successful business producing and selling performance horses. This led her to change her approach and so she bought the land instead intending to custom design and build Mere Court Stud. Now, after a long battle with the planners, she has finally achieved her goal.
The new facilities essentially comprise two large barns, one that is the indoor school and the other stabling as well as a large outdoor arena.
The stabling is split into two areas. One with traditional stables either side of a central “corridor” with a solarium, (very sensible so close to the Fylde coast!), and a horse walker at the far end. The other area has large stables looking outwards. These stables are less traditional. The front of the stables have large bars through which the horses can put their heads, cattle style, and eat the ad lib hayledge supplied from Astrid’s land. These stables are where she keeps a lot of the young stock she buys, before they are produced and sold. They are also home to Astrid’s mare and foal from resident stallion Furst Kiss (See photo above)
The battle with planner had also finally resulted in permission to build a house at the Stud but for the time being, Astrid is living in a temporary home, which is all she could get permission for when the barns were built.
Working with Astrid is Hayley Colwell. Hayley is the main rider at the yard and she recently had a fantastic National Championships, winning both the Preliminary and Novice Restricted classes. She was riding Zidanne who is principally owned by Astrid, but Hayley owns a small but to her, very important share!
Zidaane is by Jazz so its no surprise that Hayley describes him as both “quirky” and “talented”.
As we mentioned above, the stallion Furst Kiss (by Furst Piccolo) is standing at Mere Court Stud. He has done very well in young horse classes as a four and five year old and has also scored up to 78% in affiliated novice competitions, ridden by Hayley.
The core of Astrid’s business however is selling horses. These include the young stock she has purchased and is bringing on at home, horses she sells on behalf of clients and horses she sourced specifically for clients. A good example of a “sourced” horse is Carinsio, who won the Shearwater 4 year old class at this year’s National Championships ridden by Becky Moody. Carinsio is owned by Julie Lockey, herself a keen breeder. Julie very much wanted a horse by Painted Black. Astrid found Carinsio for her as a yearling and since then he has been produced by Becky Moody for Julie.
Astrid is very realistic when it comes to finding horses for clients in mainland Europe. As she points out this area is the worlds favourite shopping ground when it comes to finding dressage horses and UK buyers on a budget are just not going to get access to the best or most suitable horses. This is one reason why she is putting more emphasis on using her judgement and eye for a good horse to find younger, and therefore cheaper horses, and producing them herself.
Her clients are just the British though and she has sold many horses abroad and to the USA in particular. She does not just sell dressage horses either, horses for all disciplines from showing to eventing.
So we wish Astrid continued good luck with her new home and Hayley continued success with Zidaane, Furst Kiss and the other horse she competes.