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Livery options
23

HRHUppity · 21/03/2021 07:34

I've been at my current livery yard for several years and, in general, have been happy. It's not perfect but the good outweighed the bad. However, since last March we've had new rules in place which, whilst understandable due to covid, have been massively inconvenient for me. It is looking increasingly likely that the yard owner will not relax all of these rules even after covid. Specifically, we have severely reduced flexibility on when and how long we can visit our horses. If these rules remain indefinitely then I would be very tempted to move yards but worry that the grass won't be greener. Even if they are eventually relaxed I feel a bit miffed that the last year has been so restricted over and above what any other local yard put in place.

Current yard pros-

  • nice liveries
  • excellent off-road hacking
  • indoor arena & outdoor
  • herd turnout
  • 15 min drive

    Cons
  • poor pasture management. Same field used all year with only 2 weeks rest in spring for spraying. This means no grass in winter and they don't have hay in the field. Never poo picked and the fencing is getting bad in places. In winter the gateways are horrendous.
  • poor maintenance of facilities e.g. half the lights in arena don't work, fencing. No investment in the yard, things break and aren't fixed.
  • mean with hay. Most horses have eaten their night nets by 6pm.

    There are lots of yards around and I'm happy to pay more for better maintained facilities. I've made some initial enquiries and it looks like for an extra £30 a week for full livery I could get better maintained facilities, extra care e.g. leg wash, picking out hooves, hot wash, xcountry course etc but potentially no indoor arena, individual turnout and a longer drive.

    I've no idea if Dhorse will be ok in an individual paddock but am ok with a longer drive and could live with only an outdoor arena.

    Arghh, what do I do?
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Megan2018 · 21/03/2021 07:43

I’d never use individual turnout, my horse would hate it. I think it’s unnatural and cruel. So that’s always been my bottom line.

I’m on really good 5 day part livery, we haven’t had any Covid restrictions-at the very start of lockdown we weren’t allowed to bring anyone with us on yard (partners, kids), and were asked to stagger coming up at weekends and to not handle each other’s horses. But all that stopped after a while and we are normal now (just social distancing, so 1 at a time in feed room etc). What restrictions do you have?

So in a nutshell, I’d keep looking if it was me. Definitely move, but not for individual turnout.

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Cocopogo · 21/03/2021 07:48

I wouldn’t want to lose the indoor arena.
You haven’t really said what the restrictions are

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HRHUppity · 21/03/2021 07:57

We have a rota during lockdowns which limits us to an hour on the yard. In principle I don't have a problem with this but it is not policed by the YO so some people ignore/bend it whilst others, like me, follow the rules. An hour also isn't long enough but it can't be any longer else all liveries can't have a slot when they want one as we're limited to 2 owners at a time.

The rule that bothers me most though is that we can't be on the yard whilst the staff are working, which cuts out half the day. Longer term this is the rule which will push me to leave as it prevents me going up in the mornings and really cuts into family life. Not an issue in lockdown but it will be when life gets back to normal.

Maybe I'm just pissed off at the rules and will revert to general contentment if they are removed. But the niggles I already had with the yard have pushed me over a line I think.

Some of the alternative yards do have indoor arenas. It's the individual turnout that puts me off.

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lastqueenofscotland · 21/03/2021 09:12

I wouldn’t go on a yard with individual turnout however I also wouldn’t be on a yard where the fields were so badly managed there was no grass for half a year and they are left without hay all night.

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NoProblem123 · 21/03/2021 13:28

Any livery that limits my time on the yard (outside COVID) would not justify amazing facilities.
Address the issue with the YO and ask what the business reason is and how that new T&C is reflected in your monthly price - hopefully this will be the end of it.
If not, I’d be leaving today.

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Polkadotties · 21/03/2021 20:45

I don’t see how a yard can justify timeslots after 29 March. I’m on a full livery yard and we’ve had timeslots since lockdown began but these are ending at the need of the month.
Competitions, clinics etc are beginning again so how can your YO expect slots to continue when people will be coming and going to competitions.

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Deliaskis · 22/03/2021 10:34

Have to confess we've always had indoor arena so that would be a big factor in our choices. Plenty of riding right the way through the snowy weather, when some of them stay in for long periods of time.

The rigid time slots would start to bug me. We started with a really rigid rota back last March, then as it settled in after a few weeks, the YO updated and amended to give people more time (e.g. more than 2 people could be on yard if they and their kit is all in totally separate areas). So we really feel like she's been really flexible whilst trying to be safe and sensible.

I can't see any justification for time restrictions when national measures are lifted, so would for sure not want to stay under those conditions.

Of the other gripes you mentioned, no hay in fields in winter/poor pasture management and also mean with hay in stables....either of those would be a no for me automatically.

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RatherBeRiding · 23/03/2021 13:01

I don't have a problem with individual turnout so long as they are next to other horses - I've experienced herd and individual turnout, and at least with individual you can keep your own paddock clean if they don't poo-pick, your rugs don't get torn by other horses, you don't risk your horse getting kicked/bullied and you can feed in the field. Mine have all coped fine in their own paddocks so long as they have company and can chat over the fences.

Poor paddock maintenance and no hay in winter/being mean with hay-nets is a massive No for me. I'd not be able to get past that regardless of how good everything else was. I've also never had an indoor arena, but then I'm not particularly into schooling and if the weather has been so bad I'd need the indoor facility I'd rather not ride at all!

I now rent my own grazing. No electricity, no hard standing, just field shelters and running water and local hacking. Absolute bliss!!

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maxelly · 23/03/2021 13:53

Yes the rigid time slots sounds OTT - like a PP our yard was quite strict with visiting right back at the start of lockdown in spring last year when none of us were riding anyway and the horses all had a 3 month field break effectively, but if they'd tried to impose that through winter when the horses were in desperate need of exercise I wouldn't have been a happy bunny, at all. Also the pasture/grazing management sounds really poor and I wouldn't like them not having constant access to hay - super important IMO.

The other yards sound better IMO, individual turnout not ideal but manageable in a good set up as others have said and so long as they get enough of it (I do have a bit of a prejudice that yards that do individual turnout are also sometimes the yards that whip them inside at the first sign of bad weather/mud), and you can def cope without the indoor arena, so long as there's a floodlit outdoor, you can ride outside in the rain/wind/cold, the only time we don't use ours is if it freezes in the snow which is literally a few times a year max in the SE (and when it flooded in the heavy rain this yearbut that's because YO cut corners on the drainage Blush )...

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Dobbyafreeelf · 23/03/2021 16:42

Tbh I wouldn't keep my horse at either yard! I would keep looking.
In my opinion horses shouldn't be stabled at all. It's totally cruel to shut them in spaces smaller than your average bathroom. We protest about battery chickens, call keeping dogs in crates cruel but allow our horses to be treated in exactly the same way - paying thousands for the privilege!
I'd be looking for a well run yard with 24/7 turnout in a herd environment. If not I would be finding a field to let. Anything less would not be meeting the needs of your horse

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HRHUppity · 26/03/2021 16:49

Visited a couple of yards so far. One is a no go as they don't turn out much over winter. The other is pretty bloody perfect except it's part livery i.e. DIY on weekends. I quite miss mucking out but driving over twice a day isn't ideal. Can pay the yard to provide occasional cover but I'd be relying on buddying up with another livery to share turnout or bringing in each weekend. 24/7 turnout in summer though. Yard is approx 17 mins away although I haven't driven it at rush hour yet. Calculating the day rate it's only a couple of pounds a day more expensive than my current yard but they only include 1 bag of shavings a week compared to the 2 I get now. Their stables were very big too so I'd be looking at at least an extra bag a week, probably more but only in winter.

Visiting one more next week, massively more expensive than my current yard (£5 a day more), outdoor arena, off-road hacking, ridiculously massive stables, walker, separate winter grazing but in at night all year. Roughly same distance as perfect yard.

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Dobbyafreeelf · 26/03/2021 17:08

@HRHUppity

Visited a couple of yards so far. One is a no go as they don't turn out much over winter. The other is pretty bloody perfect except it's part livery i.e. DIY on weekends. I quite miss mucking out but driving over twice a day isn't ideal. Can pay the yard to provide occasional cover but I'd be relying on buddying up with another livery to share turnout or bringing in each weekend. 24/7 turnout in summer though. Yard is approx 17 mins away although I haven't driven it at rush hour yet. Calculating the day rate it's only a couple of pounds a day more expensive than my current yard but they only include 1 bag of shavings a week compared to the 2 I get now. Their stables were very big too so I'd be looking at at least an extra bag a week, probably more but only in winter.

Visiting one more next week, massively more expensive than my current yard (£5 a day more), outdoor arena, off-road hacking, ridiculously massive stables, walker, separate winter grazing but in at night all year. Roughly same distance as perfect yard.

@HRHUppity perfect for you maybe but NOT for your horse! Why would you even consider somewhere that doesn't meet their basic needs! 24/7/365 turnout should be an absolute MINIMUM requirement. It is nothing short of cruel and neglectful to be stabling horses on a regular basis.
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Megan2018 · 26/03/2021 17:21

@Dobbyafreeelf oh do shut up. What nonsense.
I’m all for maximising turnout, we stable minimally. But my laminitic can’t be on grass 24/7. I tried a track but she jumped out. I tried a turnout pen with hay and she jumped out and needed surgery as she severed a fecking artery.
She is happy in for short spells. In an ideal world I’d have access to sparse unfertilised grazing. I’d also not have to put my child in nursery - but I do and it’s fine. Stop being unhelpful and take your agenda elsewhere Hmm

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Dobbyafreeelf · 26/03/2021 17:27

[quote Megan2018]@Dobbyafreeelf oh do shut up. What nonsense.
I’m all for maximising turnout, we stable minimally. But my laminitic can’t be on grass 24/7. I tried a track but she jumped out. I tried a turnout pen with hay and she jumped out and needed surgery as she severed a fecking artery.
She is happy in for short spells. In an ideal world I’d have access to sparse unfertilised grazing. I’d also not have to put my child in nursery - but I do and it’s fine. Stop being unhelpful and take your agenda elsewhere Hmm[/quote]
@Megan2018 no I bloody well won't! Do you think keeping chickens in battery cages was ok then? Or leaving dogs trapped in a crate all day is ok? No thought not! So why s it ok to do it to horses??? Just because it's the traditional way of keeping horses doesn't mean it is ok. You wonder why we have such high prevalence of gastric ulcers, laminitis and the likes in horses now.
You say you have a laminitic horse you are doing them no favours by keeping them locked in a stable. Movement is the key to recovery. As is a reduction in stress, keeping horses confined and in isolation is one of the biggest causes of stress in horses. It doesn't have to mean grassy fields even an open barn system is better for their welfare.

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HRHUppity · 26/03/2021 17:28

Dobby, you sound like a bit of a loon. If I had my own land then rest assured I'd have Dhorse out 24/7/365, but I don't have my own land. Along with the large majority of horse owners I'm reliant on livery. And 24/7/365 doesn't provide sufficient income for land owners so simply isn't on offer. Not here at least.

And the yard is perfect for my horse, not for me.

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Dobbyafreeelf · 26/03/2021 17:31

@HRHUppity

Dobby, you sound like a bit of a loon. If I had my own land then rest assured I'd have Dhorse out 24/7/365, but I don't have my own land. Along with the large majority of horse owners I'm reliant on livery. And 24/7/365 doesn't provide sufficient income for land owners so simply isn't on offer. Not here at least.

And the yard is perfect for my horse, not for me.

@HRHUppity I'm not a loon thanks! I just stand up for a horses welfare 😡 you cannot provide adequately for a horse so don't have one! I bet you would be the first to criticise a dog owner not providing the right environment for them. So why is it ok for horses to be treated so badly!
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Megan2018 · 26/03/2021 17:41

@Dobbyafreeelf
I expect the only horse you have experience with is a My Little Pony

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Dobbyafreeelf · 26/03/2021 17:50

[quote Megan2018]@Dobbyafreeelf
I expect the only horse you have experience with is a My Little Pony[/quote]
@Megan2018 err no I have 3 of my own and had a total of 7. I have also spent more than 20 years working with them in various capacities. You try to belittle me because you know you I am right. It's very sad really.

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Loshad · 26/03/2021 20:12

Its very blinkered Dobby tbh, i am really pro turnout, and certainly would never be on a yard where the horses were kept in all winter but periods of stabling do not necessarily have to be harmful. It especially depends on the type of horse you have.
Mine are at home and my little herd come in every night when i get home for tea, and haylage and a sleep. I am rigorous about no disturbance and if i ever go up early they are still down and sleeping.
They get turned back out at 10pm.
Particularly in winter they don’t get the same quality of sleep outside, even though they have a big field shelter and a shelter belt of tress in the winter paddock ( and ad-lib haylage) It also allows me to tailor feeds accurately to needs, check them over, and look at dry legs at 10 pm rather than permanently muddy and wet ones. They have an idyllic lifestyle, and the young eventer repays this in spades with competition success and it simply ludicrous to suggest them spending a few hours every evening in the stable is harmful

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Dobbyafreeelf · 26/03/2021 20:37

@Loshad

Its very blinkered Dobby tbh, i am really pro turnout, and certainly would never be on a yard where the horses were kept in all winter but periods of stabling do not necessarily have to be harmful. It especially depends on the type of horse you have.
Mine are at home and my little herd come in every night when i get home for tea, and haylage and a sleep. I am rigorous about no disturbance and if i ever go up early they are still down and sleeping.
They get turned back out at 10pm.
Particularly in winter they don’t get the same quality of sleep outside, even though they have a big field shelter and a shelter belt of tress in the winter paddock ( and ad-lib haylage) It also allows me to tailor feeds accurately to needs, check them over, and look at dry legs at 10 pm rather than permanently muddy and wet ones. They have an idyllic lifestyle, and the young eventer repays this in spades with competition success and it simply ludicrous to suggest them spending a few hours every evening in the stable is harmful

@Loshad but there's a big difference in being stabled for a few hours and being stuck in for 12+ hours. I myself have brought mine in for a few hours to dry out when stables were the only indoor option. What I strongly disagree with is horses being kept in for long periods of time.
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HRHUppity · 17/04/2021 09:37

So, I've found a yard. It's currently full but I'm on the waiting list. It's been exceptionally difficult to find somewhere that has either sufficient grass in winter or allows hay in the field. A shocking number of yards advertise all-year turnout but then won't turn out if it's wet/windy/snow etc.

The yard I've found has 24/7 herd turnout in summer, although in reality it's most of the year depending on the weather. This year they went out in Feb. They have separate winter grazing which is in much smaller paddocks but you can put massive bales of hay in. They are in at night in winter with ad lib hay. They also host loads of events in summer which we usually go to, so it will cut down on travelling which is good as horse is a real stress head when taken out and about. They also have staff who actually seem to care about the horses. Example being yesterday - in weather like we have now, warm in day, cold at night, my current yard will leave rugs on as they can't be arsed taking them off for the day. New yard goes to field and takes rugs off for day. It's simple things like that I have wanted.

Downsides are that it is twice the distance of current yard and only has a small outdoor arena with a weedy floodlight. Looks rideable on videos I've seen though and this move is about suiting the horse, not me. Hacking doesn't look as good as current yard but I think that's unbeatable really, we are spoilt for bridleways for miles.

Oddly, although I set out looking to spend more on livery (to get what I wanted) this new yard is much cheaper.

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catinbootsx · 17/04/2021 09:47

@lastqueenofscotland

I wouldn’t go on a yard with individual turnout however I also wouldn’t be on a yard where the fields were so badly managed there was no grass for half a year and they are left without hay all night.

Totally agree with these two points
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CrotchetyQuaver · 17/04/2021 09:56

Good luck with your search. Personally I would prefer individual or small group t/o over herd t/o so long as there were other horses all around them. Hope you find somewhere nice.

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