An Olympian's search for a place to call home.

An Interview with Kim Severson

 

One of the finest event riders in the world, Kim Severson of Kim Severson Eventing has pursued a level of excellence in the sport that few equestrians have met. She has competed for the United States multiple times, earning a silver medal and team bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics, named the FEI’s #1 Rider in the World, and many other titles at home and abroad. In the fall of 2012, Kim purchased her first equestrian property. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, on 32 acres of open land, the farm includes a three-bedroom Cape Cod residence, pool, 10 stalls, tack room, wash stalls, six paddocks, a dressage arena, and plenty of space for conditioning gallops. As in her personalized care and training with each of her equine partners, her search for the right property focused on the needs of her horses above those of her own.
 
How long had you been searching for a property?
 
I had kept my eye on the market for a few years, but was searching seriously for only a few months. My vet told me about this property, as it was owned by a dressage rider.
 
What were your primary concerns when searching for an equestrian property? 
 
Three paramount concerns were price range, location, and usability of all the land. I wanted to stay in the Charlottesville area. I was open to looking in the greater region, but the convenience of Charlottesville’s amenities and airport were important. The property needed to have usable land. Many properties I had seen before were lovely, but the land was not entirely usable for riding. I needed space to gallop, a dressage arena, and a jump area in addition to turn-out. The land here is lovely and open, aside from a few trees around the house.
 
 
How does owning your own equestrian property enhance/allow you to continue your equestrian pursuits? 
 
Owning my own farm does not necessarily enhance my ability to run my business. In the past, I rented facilities and was able to run my business as I wanted, however I was not able to modify the facility to best meet my needs and the needs of my horses. Owning my own farm provides me with the flexibility to do what I want at my convenience and as I see fit. 
 
How heavily did residential amenities weigh in comparison to equestrian amenities? 
 
Equestrian amenities were paramount: good quality turn-out, galloping space, and the layout of the property. The Cape Cod home is more space then I originally searched for, but I love the house and it offers me the opportunity to grow; the large basement has potential as an apartment for a working student or groom. 
 
What element(s) of the property bring you the most joy? 
 
As the new steward of the property, I am still figuring that out. Until recently, I had never built a fire in my life. I now have three fireplaces and a woodstove in the basement. Building my first fire in my home was a very cool experience. Simpler things such as farm maintenance bring me great joy and pride, such as dragging my arena. There is a sense of pride that this is my farm, and I have the flexibility to do what I want here. I am also planning on updating the landscaping around the house. It is also nice to be able to walk to the barn from my home, and to check on the horses throughout the day.
 
During your search, how did your parameters change? 
 
Originally, I was looking at 15 acres or more, but over time, the land and acreage became more important to me then other features. The acreage minimum increased, as did the importance that majority of the land be ridable. 
 
Do you have any modifications planned for your property?
 
The home has a pool that I am filling in. There was a large storage building that I have turned into a five-stall shed row with beautiful European stall fronts. I will install a jump ring this spring and we are working on a parking and turnaround area for visitors and students trucking in. 
 

 

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