Are you looking for livery for your horse?
We all want to look after our horses and keep them happy and healthy.
If you are not happy in your present yard or your circumstances have changed or perhaps you are thinking of buying a horse and keeping it at livery. Livery yards are built in every size and shape and generally speaking you will get what you pay for. So its important to consider what it is that you want to pay for and balance this against what you can actually afford in order to enjoy your horse. Who, after all represents, for most of us, a sizeable percentage outgoing of any disposable income.
Here are some fundamental things to put on your tick list.
What do you need from your livery yard?
- What kind of livery are you looking for?
- How far from home/work?
- How much time have you got to give to your horse?
- What do you want to do with your horse?
Take the time to think all these things through, each as important as the next.
Livery – is a term used to describe the rent of services and facilities to house and care for your horse. What kind of livery will very much depend on what you need in terms of care for your horse, and any time constraints you may have due to work or family commitments and of course your experience and financial situation.
- Full training livery – An option for Sports and Show horses where a horse is ridden and cared for by a professional rider and their team. The horse will be trained and competed by the professional rider who is specifically training horses to progress on a specific career path. For example Dressage, or Eventing, Showing and Racing and any other discipline which requires specialist training.
- Full livery – your horse is cared for, fed, and ridden – the livery yard takes 100% of the duties in looking after and exercising your horse around your requirements. For instance hunters who may require excersising, schooling and preparation for their owners to take them hunting maybe once a week or to come an dride when they are able but not necessarily be involved in the day to day care of the animal.
- Half Livery – your horse has a range of needs catered for but not all i.e. you share responsibility for the care of your horse with yard staff. The permutations are endless and can cover a variety of needs for both horse and owner. Typical packages could be the yard will feed, muck out and turn out and bring your horse in but you are responsible for grooming and riding or maybe the yard staff tend to your horse at one end of the day or another, this may still include mucking out and feeding.
- DIY Livery – the owner provides the infrastructure in which to keep your horse but you would be responsible for its care and exercise.
- Grass keep – the owner provides a field which may or may not have a shelter and water. Whilst you are 100% responsible for your horse and it should be noted that you are responsible for ensuring that your horse stays within the confines of the field, it is a good idea to establish who is responsible for the maintenance of any boundaries and entrances etc.
If you are looking for a training livery then where the yard is not necessarily the key directive, you will have chosen your yard based on the professional rider and their area of speciality for instance you may be looking for an event rider in the south west, or a dressage rider who has competed at top level to bring on your newly imported warmblood.
However for other types of livery will need to fulfil specific criteria depending on your personal circumstances.
One important consideration is how far will you realistically be able to travel if, for instance you are working and have your horse on half livery. You will be responsible for a certain amount of time out of each day to devote to the care and the exercise of your lovely horse. If you can find the ideal yard which is on your way or way back between two points then you will save precious time to spend with him, and with a few organisational tweak’s like packing your riding gear or boots into your car so they are always on hand means you wont have to return home before visiting the yard.
If you work or have family ties then another consideration should be given to how much time, realistically, you will be able to give to your horse and still ensure his care is as good as it can be. Half livery is a convenient and generally realistically priced option if you want to be as involved as you can with your horse.
If you are confident that you have the experience and the time then DIY is a good choice, it is worth asking for recommendations, or talking with other clients and also checking out exactly what is offered with the service. i.e. does the owner allow for storage of hay and straw etc or are you expected to buy supplies through them. Is there enough and secure storage for your horse related equipment.
When viewing any potential premises and their options remember to ask the questions that will establish whether the yard in question is going to cover all your requirements. Spend some time watching the horses and the staff and ….quite importantly, the other clients who you may be spending time with if you are choosing half or DIY options.
Don’t just jump right in. Make sure the yard you pick is going to make your horse and just as important, you, happy.