THEY have described it as a ‘dream come true’.
After years of hard work and determination, horse enthusiasts Lucy and Barry Bartlett opened the doors to Abbey Farm Feeds – their new specialist animal feed store in Titchfield.
Lucy, an experienced horse rider, and Barry, a farmer, decided to take over the former dairy building and transform it into the new one-stop shop for the area’s horse owners.
Lucy said: ‘I have been riding horses for most of my life and work was low for Barry so we decided to go for it.
‘We are in an area that has a very high population of horses and we saw a gap in the market. We had been looking to diversify and expand for a while.’
The business, according to Lucy, will pride itself on offering customers the ‘best products available and an impeccable level of customer service’.
It stocks specialist products from the likes of Natural Animal Feeds, Spillers, Dodson and Horrell, Baileys and Bedmax, and will stock natural horsemanship halters, head collars, lead ropes, hay buckets and electric fencing supplies.
The couple celebrated by holding an open day and invited Olympic Games dressage hopeful Lizzie Murray, from the Catherston Stud, to enjoy the fun.
She presented a prize to Gary Lewis, who was named as the Abbey Farm Feeds horse rider of the month.
Lucy said the competition will be held every month to recognise the achievements of horse riders in the area.
Customers also had the chance to receive free advice and samples from representatives from a number of specialist companies.
Lucy added: ‘We know it is expensive to keep horses but we are trying to bring a local service to local people.
‘I would like to see ourselves expand and be popular, and hope to make customers feel they are a part of our store.
‘The horse community is a very close-knit thing and we want people to feel comfortable with us.’