Eventing on the Estate
We last spoke to Nina, just over four years ago, as a new ampitheatre style ground was being added to the Bolesworth International offering. Today, Nina chats to us in the stunning parkland setting of the Estate after returning from a few days of relaxation at Hickstead.
“My father died over ten years ago now, and mum and I took over the running of the Estate, along with a huge helping of support from our estate manager and right hand man Matthew.
This very much set us up to be able to grow the business as we freed up buildings for re-purposing and development, commercially and residentially.
“Originally a dairy farm estate, we still have 3,000 cows producing over 17million litres of milk annually but we also have 150 commercial tenants. The latter range from Cheshire’s second largest visitor attraction, The Ice-Cream Farm that attracts over three-quarters of a million visitors each year to one-room offices. And, as any successful business we are still moving forwards with new ideas and conversations on the commercial and leisure fronts.”
The Estate is perhaps most well-known for its four-day equestrian and business extravaganza held each July, The Equerry Bolesworth International. This is very much Nina’s passion project.
“I have always spent a lot of time with horses; growing up, at school and university and been lucky enough to visit top establishments and meet key people in the industry.” Nina was a three-day eventer and transferred to showjumping. Today, she still showjumps at amateur level.
“I love the sport. Plus, it’s a great way to ensure I keep fit! As I was riding and travelling, an idea was developing as the location of our Estate seemed the perfect setting to offer an event. What is lovely, is that we were in the planning process when dad was still alive so he knew all about it.
“Every year we are developing but at the heart of the event is putting on a social event for friends and families to enjoy. Whilst the horses are a central point, we hope to have created an event, like the races, which is very much a social event as much as it is a business and equestrian one.
“Our business lunch attracts a lot of networking opportunities for local, national and international commercial partners and guests to gather, listen and do business. This year we were captured by entrepreneur Rachel Clacher’s story of building Moneypenny and we have to maintain the standard of our speakers each year. No pressure!
“We also introduced Club Boles this year and the social space worked really well in the daytime, for drinks reception and for VIPs to enjoy the Ibiza classics and high-octane Rick Parfitt evenings. The Bentley Ride and Drive proved a huge crowd favourite too.
“We are still going through all our review meetings from the event, but we are looking into our food and drink offering across the site as part of our overall aim to evolve and improve the overall customer experience.
“I think our biggest achievement to date was the creation of the ampitheatre-style arena about five years ago [as mentioned] as it really helped us put the event on the international competition calendar, attracting the top riders in the world. Today, Olympians Carl Hester and Charlotte DuJardin are regulars and ambassadors for this and for the Liverpool International Horse Show in December.
“With all the work that we have put in to develop the infrastructure on the Estate we have been able to work together with some great names to be able to expand the venue and expand our offering. In particular our working with Car Fest North, which takes place later this month, has really taken us to the next level.
“We are proud to be able to share the beautiful setting of our home and open it to a wider audience. And by we I mean my mum, Diana, sister, Cleo [artist and designer] and myself as well as the team here which ensure it all runs smoothly.
“Now that we have all of the details secured and tested for high volumes of people, our future plans include searching for more of the right type of events to bring to the area, as well as looking into a few locations around the Estate to develop for the corporate market.
“We are also looking to offer the facilities to charities or other local organisations just before the event, so that they can use the space at preferential rates.
Calm and collected, Nina fills her time with the business of the Estate and her love of all things equestrian. When she has spare time, her other passion is for hot climates and getting away to the beach.
The next beach may have to wait as Nina and the team prepare for the Liverpool International Horse Show. Putting the unfortunate events of last year well behind them, tickets are now on sale and plans for a successful event and New Year’s Eve are well under way.