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Yard Health and Safety - Who do I report to?

(22 Posts)
Disasterpiece Mon 27-Jun-11 17:00:52

Back story is I have had my horse on this DIY Livery yard for about 10 years. She is 21 now and happy there.

She loves to be out and is out 24/7 for 6 months then just in at night for 6 months through the winter. The fields are great and her stable is the best one there. From her point of view she is happy.

My mum mainly looks after her as I had a baby.

The thing is over the last few years the yard has just become and absolute tip and is dangerous. I know the general tidiness of the yard is down to the horse owners but none of them care at all.

There are 4 stables in an outside block and 8 in a barn. I guarantee you would spot my stable a mile off as it is the only one that is always immaculate inside and out and is kept freshly painted inside and out. The other stables are a mess, all filthy, doors are past their best and the barn stables just stink of wee.

The other day I tied her up in the barn to groom her and as soon as I got home I had to strip off and get in the shower because the smell of wee from the stables was all over my clothes. then I can go in her stable, muck her out, groom her, come home and just have a faint smell of hay at the most. honestly its disgusting.

The yard is full of thick mud, the muckheap is spilling out everywhere and wee is running back to the yard area, gates are all off their hinges and tied up with string, there is a motorway and busy roundabout just near the yard so bad gates is not good enough.

The drainage system is practically rubbish. the yard owners son recently decided to make two new grids, one right in the middle of the yard and one right outside my horses stable. One of them has no grate! Just a big stone over it and the one outside my stable has a loose grate that she could easily fall down and break her leg.

The field gates are as bad as the yard gates and are held together by old lead ropes and some have key padlocks on which I do not agree with and have removed at least 10 of them.

My mare had a touch of laminitis about 6 years ago so we are very careful about her grazing, especially wit all the rain and sun recently so she goes in a smaller paddock which she is fine with as theres usually another horse in there os the others are right next to her. Now others have started putting their bug 17handers in there who are taking all of her grazing. there are no longer nay rules as to who grazes where and there have been a few rigs trying to mount her. she shouldnt be out in that position.

The yard owner does nothing about any of this.

Her son is also living in one of the out buildings. Is this legal?

Sorry for the big ramble, Im trying to keep a young toddler entertained at the same time as typing.

Basically with regards to the lack of health and safety in the business Im wondering if there would be anyone at the local council I could contact? Would they be able to do anything? Maybe a formal letter advising her to sort out the gates and grids etc?

CluckyKate Mon 27-Jun-11 18:43:56

Never mind the health and safety people - what on earth are you still doing there???

If I were in your shoes I'd be looking for another yard, pronto. I presume you've raised all your concerns to the yard owner so if you go down the H&S route a) they'll know who raised the alert and b) you run the risk of having the place closed down. Either way your place there will be untenable.

Disasterpiece Mon 27-Jun-11 18:56:53

Like I sad she has a good safe stable and her field is seperate and I have put my own gate on so she is safe iykiwm. she isnt in the stable at the minute so the grid isnt a problem for her until October really then I will either get someone to come and bolt it in or cover it with a patio style concrete paving slab.

Sorry my OP was rubbish.

The fencing to the other horses fields are very old post and rail that is now 80% barbed wire.

Other people have also raised concerns, more so than me and my mum.

My concern is mainly for he other horses but there owners just dont seem to care as much.

Disasterpiece Mon 27-Jun-11 18:57:57

Sorry about all the terrible spelling too. blush toddler and borrowed laptop dont mix.

Lucyinthepie Mon 27-Jun-11 19:53:37

I don't think there is much point looking for people to complain to. Just find another yard and go.

Disasterpiece Mon 27-Jun-11 20:12:02

I dont want to find another yard she is 23 now (dont know why I said 21 before, we are both the same age so dont know how I got that wrong) she is happy there and safe.

I have told the owner many times that the yard is not up to standards and she never does anything about it. We all pay rent so at least some of it should be put back in to the yard to keep it running properly shouldnt it?

I think she needs to hear it from someone with some authority if you know what I mean?

ManateeEquineOhara Mon 27-Jun-11 20:46:13

You could try reading this - www.cieh.org/library/Knowledge/Health_and_safety/Livery_Yards_Guidance_2006.pdf but I am not sure that in practice Environmental health will do anything. I would move her, the benefits of moving would outweigh the problems of staying.

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Mon 27-Jun-11 21:06:43

If more people have complained, how about getting all the horse owners together and starting a cleanup operation. you dont necessarily need to spend on the work, a lot can be done with a strimmer and a pitchfork. There is probably someone who owns a pressure washer you can clean out the stables with. muck heap shaping is one of my favourite pastimes! i think maybe your expectations regarding smell, are a little high, stables smell, but regarding the mess, if you want to stay, be proactive.

Disasterpiece Mon 27-Jun-11 21:18:38

Thanks Manatee I will read through your link tonight.

Saggy Me and my mum have tried to get everyone on board but they just dont, they will all moan about the place until the cows come home but they just dont help out.

As I said we keep our stable clean and painted, we sorted out her fencing and my dad has been up with his strimmer and got rid of all the overgrown weeds etc. There is parts of tractors and trailers in the yard too. We are the only ones who make sure all the baths in all the fields are full of fresh water.

I used to love sorting the muck heap too, I used to do it every day, It would be square and compact, new barrow loads would be made in to a step etc Im not there as much anymore plus no bugger else helps out and the owner wont let anyone take away the muck.

The smell is shocking, of course I know a stable will smell, especially in this heat but its so bad it burns your nose and throat. The barn stables are wooden and the partitions are starting to rot.

MitchiestInge Mon 27-Jun-11 22:49:10

I don't understand why you don't just move? 23 is surely not too old to travel amd settle in a new home. Don't think the yard owner can be compelled to bring it up to the standards you'd find acceptable and it sounds like you are fighting a losing battle. Can't imagine some external authority coming in and laying down the law about any of it, probably not breaking any laws, it is probably just a shit yard.

dappleton Tue 28-Jun-11 09:37:06

Sounds disgusting, I would also move. It doesn't sound as though the yard owner cares about the state of the yard and if the other owners can't be bothered then nothing will ever improve, it will just get worse the older everything gets. Plenty of horses settle into new homes at the age your horse is now and it seems like this place really is on the verge of being very dangerous even if you feel your mare is safe for now.

SilverSky Tue 28-Jun-11 12:14:41

OP sounds as tho they are letting the place go to pot and as everyone pays their livery and there are no complaints then they have no incentive.

I think you should look for alternative accomm for your mare.

Pixel Tue 28-Jun-11 14:54:55

I'm another one who says move. We've moved ponies older than 23 and they were fine.
Even though you work hard to keep your own stable etc in good condition, I wouldn't be happy about what was going on behind my back. Things like unsuitable horses being put in your paddock sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

MitchiestInge Tue 28-Jun-11 15:10:12

It's one of those things that can feel a bit unthinkable until you do it and then you never look back!

Actually I keep looking back and thinking 'glad I don't have to put up with that or that or that any more . . .' it's back to how it should be, the thing that makes everything else in life make sense. At least have a look around?

Disasterpiece Tue 28-Jun-11 15:19:49

Im really not going to move her. I know you all think im stupid not to but like I said she is happy ans safe. It is the only yard within 20 miles that has all year turn out. Since we brought it up with the other owners there is only her another mare and one gelding that go in that field, they are all very well behaved around each other and have been firm friends for years.

MitchiestInge Tue 28-Jun-11 15:25:06

I don't think you're stupid, just didn't understand. Now I do - it was a surprise to me how few places allow horses to live out 24/7 or even, as you say, have turn out in winter. Mine would go nuts.

On the other hand I would find it very hard to keep handing over money to someone who didn't respect my custom enough to respond civilly and effectively to complaints. You could try reporting them to the council - they must pay business rates? But what would you do if the closed the yard down?

Disasterpiece Tue 28-Jun-11 15:36:36

MitchiestInge Thanks. I was starting to feel a bit attacked and as if people were thinking I was putting my beautiful girl, Heidi at risk. I absolutely am not. she is very healthy and happy. She still acts like a 5 year old. Shes a 13.2 SHP but can out gallop anyone on the beach!

The plus points of the yard are the fantastic grazing 24/7 in summer and then from October/November until March she is out 6am-7pm so as far as grazing goes it is fantastic. another plus point is there is a small tack/feed shop attached so we never have to go further than 10 meters for hay, feed, bedding etc.

Its just the state of the rest of the yard and fencing that isnt good enough for other horses. Its not my responsibility but how van you sit back and watch a horse in a rotting/damp stable and in field that they either jump out of or get cuts from.

Not a clue what would happen if it got closed down.

I just think while the horses are all out then it perfect timing to get something done about it.

I think ill get together with my mum and anyone else that cares and wrote a list of things that need to be done and see how much we can do. Maybe if we do the bulk of it then the owner may be more inclined to sort out the grids and fencing as priority.

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Tue 28-Jun-11 20:39:04

I suppose there is the other way of looking at things, the other horses on the place aren't your responsibility, you can't help every horse in the world, and they have owners who should care about their welfare. Your horse is happy and healthy, and until one of those other horses is in danger, there is nothing else you can do, but keep your own animal safe, and don't do anything to directly harm any of the others.

SilverSky Tue 28-Jun-11 20:49:38

What saggy said. Exactly that.

Pixel Tue 28-Jun-11 21:07:55

Didn't mean to sound like I was getting at you.blush

Just that you said "Now others have started putting their bug 17handers in there who are taking all of her grazing. there are no longer nay rules as to who grazes where and there have been a few rigs trying to mount her. she shouldnt be out in that position.", but you didn't say you'd already sorted it out so it sounded worse than it was.

Disasterpiece Tue 28-Jun-11 21:17:44

I know I cant be responsible for the others but its only a matter of time before one of them crashes through a fence, jumps through a gap and ends up on the roundabout or motorway or breaks a leg down an open grid.

It is 100% down to each of their owners and the yard owner. Weather they do anything is all down to them.

Its just sad

Sorry again for awful spelling blush my laptop is just waiting for a quote on a new part. This keyboard is tiny! Too tiny for my stumps.

dappleton Wed 29-Jun-11 07:17:47

Disasterpiece - if its really that unsafe for the other horses then perhaps consider calling the RSPCA, it doesn't sound bad enough that they could do much but they might make some recommendations on the fencing at least - considering the busy road nearby - and it might just be enough to shock the yard owner and other owners to sort things out a bit. Just do not let on it was you that called them!

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