New owners of Falkirk equestrian centre pledge break from the past

Alasdair Beaton with Lisa McIlreavy, who will manage the Wester Shieldhill facility
Alasdair Beaton with Lisa McIlreavy, who will manage the Wester Shieldhill facility

A horse riding facility with a chequered history has been taken over by new owners who are pledging to make a break from the past.

Kingsbarn Equestrian near Shieldhill closed last year after going into liquidation following two investigations from the SSPCA over horse cruelty claims.

The riding school, stables and events business has now been taken over by successful businessman Alasdair Beaton and his family, who live just a few miles away on a farm in Slamannan.

The 58-year-old civil engineering firm owner has renovated the centre, renamed it Blue Ridge Equestrian Centre and it is due open to its first customers this month.

Alasdair, who sponsors a show jumping event at the Highland Show in Edinburgh each year and has always kept horses at the family farm, said: “We only got the keys a couple of weeks ago and after the place had been lying empty for months, there was a lot of work to do.

“Now Blue Ridge is almost ready to open and welcome their first horses. We hope to offer lessons for all abilities soon and hold show jumping events.

“There is a lot of potential and we want Blue Ridge to be the best equestrian centre in the area, and maybe in the future one of the best in the country.”

Blue Ridge will host an open day on Sunday, June 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visitors can look around the facilities, watch demonstrations from professional show jumpers and children can enjoy free pony rides.

The facility’s manager Lisa McIlreavy said: “We are well aware of the controversial circumstances surrounding the last owners and we want to assure horse owners that this is in the past and horses at Blue Ridge will receive the best care and treatment here.

“We are looking forward to working with our new clients and the local community.”