Horsing Around

This equestrian farm fits the bill for the family and their business

BY Connie Adair

Beata Zbierowska wanted a nice place for her horses, her mother wanted a nice house and her father wanted a nice property. So the trio was thrilled to find a 101-acre equestrian farm in Adjala-Tosorontio in south/central Ontario that had all that and more.

“We knew that this property was for us when we saw it,” says Zbierowska. “It has it all – a house on the top of the hill, a meticulous and smartly designed barn, an inside arena and lush surrounding property.”

The previous owner was an engineer and he designed everything himself, Zbierowska says. The Humber River flows through the property and spring flooding on the flat land was a concern. To protect the house and barn, man-made hills were created and then the buildings were constructed on top.

The engineer positioned the home to capture sunrises in the kitchen and breakfast area and sunsets in the family room, says Zbierowska, who moved into the home with her parents and her daughter about four years ago.

“The home has windows everywhere, lots of light and an incredible amount of space. I know because I clean it all the time,” she jokes. The 7,000-square-foot house, built around 2000, has numerous walkouts and its construction features lots of wood and stone.

“The owner before was a western rider, and western riders like natural aspects like wood and stone,” says Zbierowska. Last year she replaced all of the carpet with hardwood floors. “The decorating was a team effort, mainly by my mother and me. We like the simplicity of the house and wanted to keep it that way. I think that barely anything is needed to spice it up. The furniture is minimal.”

The open-concept kitchen has cream-coloured cabinets, marble counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a two-sided stone fireplace it shares with the family room. A cathedral ceiling in the family room is intersected by a second-floor walkway with wood railings and pickets. The family room also has a walkout to a large deck that overlooks the pool, which was converted to salt water and no longer acts as a stopping place for frogs migrating from a nearby property.
The home offers great entertaining space inside and out, she says. “We’ve had 50 people here to swim in the pool and pond.”

The living room also has a fireplace. Ideal for this family’s needs, there are three master suites, each with an en suite bathroom.

The loft, which is Zbierowska’s space, has a bedroom, office, three-piece bathroom, living space and a long walkway to another second-floor living space on the other side of the house.
Lower-level features include a sound-proofed recreation room, a play room, a cold storage room, a wine cellar and a walkout to the yard.

The four-bedroom, six-bathroom home has R-50 insulation in the walls, a three-zone geothermal system and an ultra-violet filtration system for the two wells on the property.

A wrap-around veranda stretches almost half-way around the house. It’s the perfect place for horse-watching, says Zbierowska, who imports horses from Europe, trains them herself then sells them, mainly to U.S. buyers. She currently has seven horses and her daughter has a grey pony, Mr. Milkshake, who enjoys a 12×12-foot stall and has lots of room to roam outdoors.

The property, with its grassy meadows, three-acre pond and forest, is suited to the professional or hobby equestrian. “There are so many ways to train a horse on this property – an inside arena, an outside arena, a galloping track, by galloping up and down the hills on the property, and hacking,” she says. “I like the way it is laid out. The locations of (the house and barn) are particularly attractive.”

The buildings are surrounded by nature, something that puts Zbierowska at ease. “When I feel at ease, the horses feel at ease,” she says.

Great attention was paid to the planning and placement of the horse facilities, she says.
Horse features include a 70×146-foot arena with a heated viewing lounge, a shop for trailer storage or work space, 15 stalls, 10 paddocks, a track and space above the barn that can be used as an office or an apartment. The indoor arena has a sound system and the outdoor arena has lights. Zbierowska redid the outside ring and integrated an all-weather riding arena.

It has everything for anyone who has an interest in horses, whether jumpers, dressage, western or three-day eventing. It’s close to the newly redesigned Caledon Equestrian Park, which will
host the Pan Am Games in 2015.

“The majority of equestrian properties are fairly old and it takes some heavy investment to build new structures and keep them up-to-date. The previous owner did an impeccable job on this property,” she says.

The stalls are not rented out. She says she prefers to keep the farm quiet for the horses’ sakes and also so she can come home from her Toronto business and enjoy peace and quiet.
White fencing synonymous with a horse farm greets visitors at the front of the property, which is accessible through wrought iron gates.

She says visitors are impressed by its peacefulness. Landscaping is purposely simple. A road throughout the property is finished with rocky gravel, a natural feature that helps the horses maintain their stability, she says. Miles of cut grass on the hills and at the bottom of the property and her parents’ apple orchards and vegetable and flower gardens also add a calming touch.

In winter, the pond serves as an ice skating rink. “During the summer, my father catches fish. The hiking along the pond and river is beautiful and we dip our feet in the river in the summer.”

Her father maintains the grounds and her mother enjoys hanging around the house. Zbierowska rides her horses for five or six hours a day (a groom cleans and maintains the horses so she can devote her time to training) and her daughter and Mr. Milkshake enjoy relaxing times together.

In or out of the saddle, this property has it all.