AN OLYMPIC gold medallist is looking to expand his horse breeding programme on family-owned land in Peeblesshire.

Peebles-born showjumping champion Scott Brash, one of the Borders’ greatest sportsmen, launched the scheme in 2019 with the aim of producing world class horses.

But a report submitted to the council on behalf of Brash said facilities currently used at Castlehill Farm, to the south of the town, would be unable to cope with the arrival of nine foals next year.

A bid to change the use of land at Innerleithen’s Glenormiston Farm from agricultural to equestrian was filed last week.

The report by Derek Scott Planning Planning and Development Consultants said: “Castlehill Farm has played an important role in Scott’s emerging horse breeding programme but unfortunately does not have the capacity to accommodate the forecast stock numbers coming through that programme in the years ahead.

“The farm presently accommodates 23 horses but will be operating beyond its capacity following the arrival of nine new foals in 2023. As a consequence of this and to facilitate the ongoing breeding programme there is a need to create a further equestrian facility.”

The application includes plans to build a single storey house and an equestrian building at the farm site.

Brash, who plans to use the horses produced via the programme at elite events, also has facilities in West Sussex. The breeding scheme involves embryo transfer from Brash’s top mares matched with top class stallions’ semen.

The embryos are artificially inseminated into surrogate mares at Twemlows Stud Farm in Shropshire - ‘one of the world’s most renowned artificial insemination and embryo transfer centres’.

The programme has produced 11 horses, all of which are at Castlehill Farm.

When the horses reach six years of age, they will be taken to West Sussex to be trained as show jumpers, according to the report.

“It takes a further three years training before establishing if they have the required credentials to compete at the top level of the sport,” it added.

The programme was set up after one of Brash’s best horses, Ursula, a former world-ranked No. 1, retired from competition at the end of 2018. Brash has been a professional show jumper performing on the international stage since 2008.

He won a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games as part of the successful GB Team.

The 37-year-old, who attended Peebles High School, was awarded an MBE by the late Queen Elizabeth II in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list.

Two years later he was inducted into the British Horse Society Equestrian Hall of Fame.

A life-size sculpture of the sports star, created from recycled horseshoes by artist Kevin Paxton, was unveiled next to Edinburgh Road in 2016.