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Glastonbury Hunt Club, town agree to another five-year lease on Winter Hill Farm

Horses will be galloping and frolicking across the fields of Winter Hill Farm for at least five more years.

The town has reached an agreement with the Glastonbury Hunt Club to continue leasing the 140-acre farm – a former dairy operation and one-time home of the largest Percheron horse breeding and training facility in New England – through 2022.

The club includes a 29,000-square-foot, indoor lighted arena and an outdoor arena. The main barn has 23 stalls, and the club offers lessons and takes in recreational boarders. The club will lease the property from the town for $36,000 a year for the first two years and at least $40,000 for the final three years – an exact amount will be determined after future negotiations. The club now pays $31,800 a year.

“They are successful and we think it’s important to have a successful, fully subscribed operation,” Town Manager Richard J. Johnson said. “The property is well taken care of. The first five years have been, from our viewpoint, successful. I think it’s important to continue that success.”

Owner Gina Leavitt has made a number of improvements at the farm, including new fencing and footings for the arena, a security system and an office and bathrooms. She credited her staff for making the farm a success.

“I really couldn’t have done it without my staff over the past few years,” she said. “It’s a lot of work. It really is the equivalent of being a doctor. The land and the facility require a 24 hour, seven-days-a-week commitment.”

Leavitt said she’s has “really become a farmer” over the past few years, learning how to work and maintain the land.

“It’s like looking out on a postcard every day,” she said. “It’s beautiful. We also have a great clientele.”

The town might be interested in putting a wind turbine or a telecommunications tower on the property in the future, according to Johnson.

“There is always a wind up there,” Johnson said. “We are looking at a couple of options and we will circle back.”