Moving yards dilemma(16 Posts)
Dd’s horse is currently at what’s pretty much our closest (affordable) yard. Dd normally gets there by bus and it can take up to an hour each way (25-30 minutes by car). It’s not a perfect yard (does such a thing exist?) but we’ve been overlooking some of the downsides because it’s been relatively convenient.
However, dhorse has been out 24/7 over the summer but it doesn’t look like he’s going to get his stable back for the winter. He doesn’t like being out all the time when it’s cold - he’s clipped and takes after his TB mum in his view of cold and mud. It’s also hard getting him ready for competitions if he’s out overnight. So dd’s been looking at moving him.
She’s getting a moped for her birthday so will be more independent and able to get to a wider range of places. There are a couple of yards which are a bit further out but will take her about 35 minutes to get to by moped. They’ve both got lots of turnout and have stables free from the end of next month. They’re cheaper but more assisted DIY than where she is now (eg she’d have to make up haynets/feeds and get bedding etc delivered) so not a huge cost difference when you take everything into account.
My worry is that dhorse has been on the same yard for 5 years - his old owner is the yard owner. Will he be able to cope with the change?
Hmm tricky one. Most horses cope OK with a move of yards, are unsettled for a period of weeks and perhaps have a few hiccups with herd dynamics but generally they then settle fine. Of course all are different and some will take it harder than others so you know your horse best in this regard - how is he when away from home at shows as this can be a bit of a guide although not a definitive answer to how nervy he will be in new surroundings?
My bigger concern would be practical impact on you/DD. Couple of qs, how old is your DD - I assume teens from the moped? As she goes through exam years I (personally) would be wanting her on a yard where there's more help not less. Having own horse and riding/competing regularly plus studying and a social life is usually enough of a commitment for teens without having a lot of yard jobs to do on top every day, so that would be a concern for me.
The 35 min moped ride would be a bit of a worry too depending on the type and quality of roads, especially in winter, that could get pretty unpleasant in rain/frost/ice so would be good to have the bus as a back up if she stays at current yard, and she can then do a bit of revision on the bus as well.
What are the facilities like at new yard vs old yard, aside from the stabling? Also people, can she have lessons from current instructor at new yard and will she have people to hack out with and generally support her? If the yards were broadly similar, I think I might be inclined to keep him where he is and rug him up to the max, perhaps try a different clip to keep as much hair on as poss without overheating him in work, I know it looks less smart but leaving legs and bib hairy does keep them a bit warmer... next summer then maybe consider paying to secure/keep a stable through summer (I assume this is why he's 'lost' it, you swapped to grass livery only in summer?) so it is guaranteed for next winter?
Thanks @maxelly - she’s 16, nearly 17, currently doing A-levels at an online school (she has school-anxiety/phobia and is being assessed for possible ASD).
Current yard pros are:
Horse happy and familiar with the routine/surroundings
Accessible by public transport
Huge school which no one else uses
Free trailer parking
Current yard cons:
No stable over winter
Too many horses in the geldings’ field
No hacking (have to box out)
No one else competing/doing PC/much riding at all (see huge school point above!)
Arena surface is very old sand with uneven surface
New yard pros:
140 acres of grazing vs 20
Stabling over winter, 24/7 turnout in summer
Lots of other kids/teens there (she knows quite a few from PC)
New surface and mirrors in arena
Jumping field in the summer
Lots of events (fun shows, clinics etc)
I know some of the other parents there who’d keep an eye out for dd
New yard cons:
Not easy to get to by public transport (possible but not great)
Have to pay for trailer parking (£25 extra per month)
Arena gets very busy in winter months after school
Dd’s current instructor can go to new yard, dhorse is very sociable - loves going to shows and had a ball at PC camp. I share your concern about dd riding there and back in the middle of winter though ...
you say its assisted DIY, so could someone else do the morning chores (or at least just turning out) so she just has to be up once a day?
Is it possible for her to get a lift there if the weather is bad?
Yes there are grooms there who can turn out/bring in so she would only need to go up once plus liveries help each other out. I could take her sometimes but not every day so she does need to be able to get there independently most of the time
DHorse will be fine and the yard sounds much better, especially the hacking.
How will Dd cope with the moped in bad weather?
She can get two trains there if need be - it takes around an hour so not ideal but not much different for her than now
OK, with that info I think I'd move - you/DD certainly sound keener on new yard than old, it seems to have a lot of pluses and the cons can be overcome. Do look into whether you can buy in some ad hoc or regular help with the yard jobs though so she can have an easier night or two a week come exam season, I think it's worth it!
Thanks everyone - we’re going to look at another yard on Monday and then make a decision. Dhorse can be prone to mud fever unless he has a chance to stay dry so I don’t think keeping him where he is without a stable is going to be feasible, especially with the number of horses currently in the field, it’s going to be a mud bath before Christmas...
I wouldn't move the horse from a yard where your DD can get there independently and the horse is settled.
Horses do not need to be stabled and frankly I struggle to believe that any horse would prefer to stand in a space smaller than most peoples bathrooms for 12+ hrs a day. Most horses stables are smaller in relation to size of the horse than the old battery hen cages - which are rightfully now illegal. Why do we continue to inflict these conditions on our horses? I also dispute that they would be warmer at least outside they have space to move and keep warm.
I'd move him. 24/7 turnout in winter is absolutely fine IF the fields are up to it. If not you end up with a mud-bath or standing water, no grass, no shelter, no respite from the weather if fields are frozen for weeks on end.
My elderly TB and my other pony lived out last winter for the first time in donkey's years. However I have absolutely loads of grazing to myself, the land is very sandy and well-draining and doesn't collect standing water, there is loads and loads of natural shelter and 2 field shelters. The ground got poached in front of the shelter and down where I hung the hay-nets but as I have 2 good sized fields I could keep moving the hay-nets.
He was fine - lost a fair bit of weight but he was happy in himself. Rugged up to the eyeballs and on plenty of feed and ad-lib hay,
On the other hand, the other yard you've identified sounds better for a variety of reasons. It's always handy to have a stable in case the weather comes in horrendous, or the horse needs stabling for illness/injury.
What I would say, as a moped rider myself, is that 35 mins in the depths of winter isn't really do-able. She will freeze within minutes (my journey takes 10 minutes and I am shivering before I've gone half a mile, even with thermals, several layers and 2 pairs of socks.) Also - the slightest bit of ice on the roads and my ped is lethal. Love it to bits in the summer, but with the nights already drawing in I know I won't be doing my horses via moped for much longer!
I think your main problem will be the journey. It sounds as if your horse will settle to move. When horses are sold they have a new yard, new routines and a new owner and I think that can be very yard on them. But IME they can cope well with a new yard and the same owner, so long as you're sympathetic to what they need.
I cycle a lot. I think your DD will find a 35 minute journey on a moped in winter very hard and without a lot of road experience potentially quite dangerous. Sorry, others may well disagree but I'd be looking for an alternative to that.
Another one saying that the horse will be absolutely fine; I’m always amazed how quickly mine settle and they’ve moved loads of times, including for short term periods such as loans when I was pregnant.
Make the decision based on yourself and DD; I would say that having others to ride and do things with is extremely valuable personally.
We’ve made the decision to move him. The factors which clinched it are having other girls her age around to do stuff with (she’s quite lonely at her current yard), lots of places to go hacking and much better turnout fields. We can work around the journey - in good weather she’ll go by moped, otherwise it’ll be a combination of train and mum taxi.
She’s only got 2-3 years of ‘care free’ riding left - eventually she’s going to have to work out how to combine uni or a job with riding and then things like the yard being ten minutes closer might make enough of a difference to make compromising on other aspects worthwhile. But while I can support her I’d like to as much as possible - she’s so lovely and has really struggled with her mental health in the last few years - her horse has been her salvation.
Sounds like a plan. If she gets in a rota with four other girls Monday to Friday she only has to go up one weekday morning. Soooo worth it!
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