If you keep your horse at a livery yard, you'll know that the Yard Owner makes the rules, and everyone has to stick to them. Fair enough — unless your YO is completely bonkers. Here are some of the more unusual rules unlucky liveries have had to put up with...

1. All horses must be brought in at 2pm – on a DIY yard. Because bosses are really understanding when their employees disappear for an hour after lunch to see to their animals. Every day.

2. No riding in the school between 10am and 4pm, as that’s when the YO exercises her horses. She also reserves the right to kick you out of the school at any time. Better hope the hacking’s good round there!

3. All hay must be purchased from us. Price £8.99 for a small bale. What is it, spun from gold?

4. No liveries on the yard before 9am. Wee bit awkward on competition days. And on days when you have to go to work – ie, most days – in fact!

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5. No kettle in the tackroom. Cups of tea lead to bitchiness and gossip don’tcha know.

6. All forks must be lined up to the right of the wheelbarrows, which must be leaned up against the wall. Perfect symmetry being, of course, one of the most desirable traits in any yard.

7. No straw on the muckheap. Um – what are you meant to do with it then? Wheelbarrow it all the way home? Squash it into supermarket carrier bags?

8. No feeding in the horses’ fields. Even though they’re all on individual turnout, so no chance of it turning it into a mass kick-a-thon.

9. No hosing horses’ legs as it’s a waste of water. Even though you use the exact same amount of water filling up large buckets to wash your horse instead.

10. No rugs on your horses/the management reserves the right to change your horse’s rug for a charge if need be. Rugs seem to be a bugbear with some YOs. It’s always fun when you get a livery bill saying your horse has had its rug changed 30 times in one month, even though it’s on grass livery and always seems to be wearing the same rug when you get there…

11. No bringing in/turning out anyone else’s horse for them. Fair enough, YOs need to make a living by charging for extras, but not if one horse is going to be left on its own in the field, going nuts, because no arrangement has been made to bring it in.

12. No brightly coloured wheelbarrows on the yard. For pity’s sake, stop trying to brighten the place up already — yards are not meant to be fun.

13. Management reserves the right to lead your (perfectly well-behaved) pony in a chifney. To be fair, this wasn’t so much a ‘rule’ as a ‘thing that happened at a yard.’

14. Liveries must do the YO’s horses for her over Christmas. While still paying the same monthly rate for the privilege. Bargain!

15. Liveries must not ride each other’s horses. Even if they’ve got correct insurance — and it’s actually their own business and nobody else’s.

16. Liveries must not hack out alone. It’s a dangerous world out there, you know. Keep safe, people.

  • carla lane

    People need to think like a yard owner and see where they get, probably out of pocket, nervous wreck and suddenly a little respect for your YO!

  • carla lane

    Hang on, what about 100 things the poor YO has to put up with from the clients. Horse people are the most ungrateful spiteful lot. What do they expect YO’s to do,there is one of them and a dozen of you. Not all yards make rules that are usually bent! Some yard owners give everything they have and more and as soon as something doesn’t go the clients way suddenly the YO s name is mud!!!!! I dare anyone to try running a civilized yard for a month let alone a year, you need balls of steel!

  • Hope Jack

    I was at a yard where number 1 happened, I soon left!!!

  • Shae

    My favorite so far, and the reason I left the place, has been “Do not touch or handle any horse other than your own for any reason!”

    I upset the owner and got myself a notice to find a new place for my horses when I started asking about emergencies like a loose horse on the road, barn fires, or a horse returning to the barn with a saddle but no rider. (I was told to let any loose horse keep running. Insurance would cover it if the horse killed a person because a car hit it, but not if it broke my arm while I was trying to catch it…) This was also a place where all horses were turned out together. I wished to know what to do when one of the other horses approached me while I attempted to catch my mare and her donkey, especially since another lady’s horse had decided to be the “protector” of my two. My horse, donkey, and I are much happier and less stressed after leaving there!

    ETA: This was not a rule when I first got there. I and the lady I came in with had been there almost two months when the homeowner’s insurance for the owner changed and the new rule was made. Note: Insurance companies not specializing in equestrian needs should not be permitted to make the rules!