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livery yard v keeping them at home - pros and cons

(23 Posts)
MitchyInge Sun 27-Sep-09 19:52:09

interested in people's thoughts about this, having fallen in love with the lifestyle of keeping horses at home whilst house-sitting - not that it's an option for us at present, but who knows what the future holds!

it's a very different experience from life as a livery customer, would like to know what you lot see as the main pros and cons of each though?

Owls Sun 27-Sep-09 21:35:03

After years at livery with various horses, I now keep two youngsters at home and I'd say the following:-

Pros: Total autonomy. You turn out/bring in when you want. Dandy/body brush doesn't go missing or if it does look no further than your dogs' hiding place. Nobody to give unsolicited, unhelpful, confidence sapping advice. Rolling out of bed at the weekend, down the stairs out the door wearing nothing more fetching than a baggy tee-shirt and wellingtons, turn-out horses, then back into warm house to put kettle on and make toast. Do everything in your time, follow your own rules.

Cons: Nobody to give advice, talk things through when you're having problems. No ready, good to go hacking mates. Holidays/days out have to be planned with military precision. Lack of a menage/decent schooling area.

Actually, I think it's the absence of people just to chat with/help out occasionally that I miss the most. When you're at a good yard with like-minded people the conversation, laughs and general jokiness is great.

Although all things considered I prefer keeping at home. smile

Be interesting to see what the others think.

Pixel Sun 27-Sep-09 22:04:12

There is only one person at our field that I would trust to look after my horses anyway, most of them haven't a clue so that's not something I'd miss if I could bring them home.
If I didn't have to pay field rent I could afford a bigger pony for ds.
Taking ds to the field is difficult, really he needs someone else to watch him, mainly because of the other horses. It sounds much more appealing to be able to nip outside to throw hay in the shelter while he is glued to the telly!
I wouldn't have to put up with people who don't ragwort their paddocks so the seeds blow all over mine, or people who think they know everything but actually know very little (like someone whose obese shetland has been lame on and off most of the year who told me ours looked 'tucked up'. Funny thing is we were waiting for the vet to come and do jabs and he congratulated us on keeping her weight perfect). Those people drive me mad.

Can you tell I'm having trouble thinking of any negatives? grin. Oh yes, I'd have no-one to share vet call-out fees with. What a shame.

Pixel Sun 27-Sep-09 22:06:36

There is only one person at our field that I would trust to look after my horses anyway, most of them haven't a clue so that's not something I'd miss if I could bring them home.
If I didn't have to pay field rent I could afford a bigger pony for ds.
Taking ds to the field is difficult, really he needs someone else to watch him, mainly because of the other horses. It sounds much more appealing to be able to nip outside to throw hay in the shelter while he is glued to the telly!
I wouldn't have to put up with people who don't ragwort their paddocks so the seeds blow all over mine, or people who think they know everything but actually know very little (like someone whose obese shetland has been lame on and off most of the year who told me ours looked 'tucked up'. Funny thing is we were waiting for the vet to come and do jabs and he congratulated us on keeping her weight perfect). Those people drive me mad.

Can you tell I'm having trouble thinking of any negatives? grin. Oh yes, I'd have no-one to share vet call-out fees with. What a shame.

Pixel Sun 27-Sep-09 22:07:21

Doh! Stupid computer said it hadn't connected. blush

Butkin Sun 27-Sep-09 22:53:19

I've had horses at show livery, hunting livery and "home" (renting stables and land within walking distance of our house) over the last few years and each has it's good and bad points.

The benefits of doing things ourselves are mainly:

a) cost - so much cheaper to pay one monthly stable/land rental for our 4 horses.
b) flexibility - nobody to answer to as long as we don't go go mad and start keeping llamas etc!
c) security as nobody else has access to our tack room etc.

The drawbacks are:

a) We have to do them twice a day, 365 days a year, unless we organise somebody to look after them for a few days whilst they are out at grass and even then we worry.
b) we have to do all the maintenance which includes topping and fertilizing the paddocks, do repairs to fencing, stables etc.
c) lack of menage, horsewalker, equine spa etc like which livery yards have.

I think for the horses/ponies we have now it suits us to keep them at home but if we have a top show horse I'd still put it with a professional.

MitchyInge Mon 28-Sep-09 09:26:32

Presumably you could befriend a nearby yard that has the facilities you miss at home, lots of people hack to ours to school, have lessons etc. Not that we have anything glamorous like an equine spa, or even an indoor school.

This is probably a whole AIBU thread in its own right but it drives me crazy when my stuff disappears, and worse when I see my horse in someone else's bridle and mine is nowhere to be found - grrrrrrrrrrrr.

It might be within my reach to just get a small plot of agricultural/grazing land now that prices are coming down again (and have nearly paid off mortgage!) so am going to become obsessed with give that careful thought.

skihorse Mon 28-Sep-09 11:21:49

Home:
Pros:
i) You can do what you like, when you like - all your stuff is where you need it to be
ii) There's nothing sweeter than a face through the kitchen door. grin

Cons:
i) All the maintenance is yours
ii) No more "drink after work" - you must get home to feed
iii) If you live in a sub-alpine climate like I was you'll be up at midnight breaking the ice on the trough and up again at 6 breaking the ice... repeat ad nauseum for 4 months
iv) You have to be home for hay/feed deliveries and to receive the farrier/vet
v) nobody to hack out with, nobody for a friendly chat after a ride
vi) No last minute nights/weekends away. I had to go away once and all I could do was chuck 15 bales over the fence and buy another water trough. (Not a good feeling!) Going away for 3 weeks was awful - I managed to get a local farmer to take them at his place but when I got home they'd lost a shitload of weight and had been fighting.
vii) No walker/arena

Yep, I'm pretty negative about it but to put that in to perspective I was living in an area where I wasn't fluent in the language, I was single, my mental health was pants and I hated my full-time job. Not a great combination!

I would do it again, but only if I had a really good network around me, one of us was working from home.

Owls Mon 28-Sep-09 22:24:16

Mitchy, totally understand that thing of people 'borrowing'. I used to have that at livery with an "Owls won't mind" tagged onto it even when I wasn't asked before. Tbh, I really didn't mind as such but it was a bit irritating when I'd put my saddle on and realise stirrups leathers were not my length. grrrr. That's when the stirrup leathers were even left on the saddle.......

But if you buy some land, you'll want mains water and electricity. Possibly stables or applying for planning permission/building regs plus associated costs. Then, as we've all said, if you need to go away, travel for work, whatever, somebody reliable to oversee things.

But agree with Butkin, if you need to get horses competition fit you are better off at a yard with good facilities.

If, however, you've thought all these things through, then I have to say go for it. Even with the downsides having your own run of things is good. Nay, great, if you find a good instructor who can cope with an uneven paddock. grin

NB to Skihorse. I am referring to the milder climates of England not what you had to go through. Sounds grim.

MitchyInge Tue 29-Sep-09 12:00:20

Don't talk to me about stirrup leathers! Aarrghh! I would (possibly) mind less if they nicked borrowed both, but why is there always just one missing? And if it's for use as a neck strap, where is my bloody iron then?

You'd think a one-legged kleptomaniac would be easy to spot even around the busiest yards but I've never got to the bottom of that one.

Hadn't really thought about the electricity, although the plot (which is not even for sale yet but might be soon) I had in mind has a field shelter and water. Skihorse's experiences sound absolutely gruelling and I think I'd struggle to fit in say 3 feeds a day around work plus everything else. Unless I find a husband who is a posh groom or something, or win lots of money and have a full team of staff to do everything?

Pixel Tue 29-Sep-09 17:11:01

We haven't got electricity and I don't even miss it now. I'm lucky in that I mainly can go along in daylight but we have got a light in the shelter that works off a car battery, or you can get solar panels to put on the shelter roof (very cheap in Maplins and no electricity bills!). Even your clippers can be cordless, I've just got some nice little trimming ones that run for 45mins on a full charge.
Ooh I'm envy! Even if I had any money you just don't get plots of land for sale round here, let alone with water and a shelter already on it. It sounds great to me. smile

Pixel Tue 29-Sep-09 17:15:53

And just think, no more stabling = no more door-kicking! The shoes will last twice as long.grin

Pixel Tue 29-Sep-09 17:21:52

Oh I have thought of a drawback, having to take your tack from home every time you want to ride as it isn't safe to leave it at the field no matter how secure you think your shed is. Someone up the road from me got hers stolen last week. Her field is surrounded by houses but nobody noticed anything.

Butkin Tue 29-Sep-09 20:21:14

We've always taken out saddle/bridle home with us when horses on livery. Don't like the idea of other people "borrowing" it and when they ride them for us they use their own tack.

Water has been a bit of a nightmare this dry summer. We've got a trough with automatic valve in the Summer paddock but as the two Section As are on starvation behind electric tape we've had to dry water up to them in barrels every other day.

We have them out all the time in Summer except when we bring them in for the farrier. From November until March they will be in at night.

MitchyInge Fri 02-Oct-09 15:57:02

it will probably remain a pipe dream for a while but thanks for all the stuff to think about - everyone in real life is pointing out the urgent necessity of various repairs to my house

Pixel Fri 02-Oct-09 17:56:19

Butkin, when we were at a big yard we all had 'lockers' to keep our tack in, ours was actually a big old-fashioned double wardrobe, converted with saddle racks down one side, shelves down the other, and bridle hooks inside the door. T'was fab. The tack room door had a good lock as well, but there is always someone who can't be trusted isn't there? It wouldn't even occur to me to 'borrow' someone else's equipment and it drives me mad when people somehow think it is ok. I sometimes hanker after our old yard just because I would be having a much easier time with dhorse if we had a decent school etc, but I'm not sure if my blood pressure could ever stand sharing with a load of people like that again!

MookySpinge Fri 02-Oct-09 22:25:06

I'd LOVE my own locker - even just for the now and then things, or somewhere to stash carrots and brandy diet coke and other daily essentials.

Shouldn't complain about the leathers because someone else has lost a whole saddle AND a double bridle shock. It makes me think about insuring my tack, worthless stuff that it is I'd freak if it all disappeared at once. Tack room obviously locked and has an alarm fitted so it's 'one of us' which is horrible to think about.

Pixel Sat 03-Oct-09 00:43:34

We've got an old trailer with the gap above the ramp filled in. It's fairly secure (and you couldn't tow it as it's collapsed) but I still wouldn't leave tack in there. Great for rugs/fence canes etc though. It's a bit of a struggle to get in and out the tiny groom's door, I'm always bashing my head!

skihorse Sat 03-Oct-09 17:12:24

I've got a lovely yard provided locker with shelves and saddle racks. Still not enough room for all the crap though - is there ever?

Jajas Sat 03-Oct-09 17:24:16

I've got a mare and foal at livery and it is a lovely little yard with really nice people who I think I would miss no end if I had them at home.

I wouldn't consider keeping them in a field isolated away from accommodation, although keeping at home must be really nice. The thought of looking out of the kitchen window and seeing them whenever you like sounds wonderful.

skihorse Sat 03-Oct-09 18:13:14

jajas Yeh, it's all fun & games until they're in the kitchen snuffling through your fruit bowl! grin

MookySpinge Wed 07-Oct-09 22:16:55

That piece of land has been sold to someone who lives more or less next door to it. Really disappointed although when I trespassed on it the other day I could see why the owner isn't using it for his horses, deeeep holes where they have sunk into the mud. It's really boggy and grim.

Such a fab location though, miles of hacking, zero traffic, much closer to home and there is mains electricity!

MitchyInge Wed 04-Nov-09 14:42:01

awww, got drunk and spent the night at the yard last night - it was really nice to see them last thing at night and first thing in the morning

maybe I could make a habit of it but don't think my liver would cope

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