For those of us not fortunate to have space at home to keep our horses, livery yards are key. But what makes a great livery yard? We asked you what you love or dream of on your livery yard and this is what you came up with…
1. A livery yard owner manager makes or breaks a yard. You could have all the facilities in the world, but if the person in charge isn’t friendly, understanding and helpful, a nice, big arena isn’t going to make up for it
2. Having like-minded people on a livery yard is very beneficial. Are you a happy hacker or serious competitor? If you’re one thing and the clients on a yard are the other, life with your horse can feel lonely. If you’re all singing from a similar hymn sheet, you can share goals and motivate each other
3. Attention to detail is paramount. Staff working on a livery yard need to be capable of treating clients’ horses as their own. A good level of care and focus with a “no problem” attitude is desirable
4. If it rains, your horse isn’t locked up 24/7. A key part of a successful and happy livery yard is good, year-round turnout to avoid your horse being kept like a battery hen. You shouldn’t have to accept that your horse will be shut in its stable if the weather forecast says it’s going to rain in two weeks’ time
5. Ad lib hay should be the norm. If you’re restricted on how much hay you can feed your horse, or aren’t allowed to feed hay in the field, your horse might be going hungry
6. A tidy yard often contributes to a happy yard, and this applies to staff and fellow liveries. If there’s stuff everywhere, it can feel chaotic and disorganised
7. A knowledgeable but non-interfering livery yard manager makes life easier. If you want advice on an ailment or training, being able to go to a knowledgeable yard manager is a great bonus. However there is a line — if the manager or fellow clients are giving their two cents when you haven’t asked them to, things can get difficult.
8. A manager that won’t tolerate hostility or bullying is vital. Many livery yards operate without any bother, but one bad egg can ruin life on the yard for everyone
9. Own a dog that visits the yard? Make sure you clean up after it!
10. Camaraderie between clients is a wonderful thing and creates a good atmosphere. Whether it’s asking how you got on at a show or being a shoulder to cry on
11. Livery clients must respect facilities as if they were their own. Things like poo picking the arena after use should be second nature
12. Safe and good off-road hacking come very near the top on people’s wish lists, and who could blame them?
13. Have someone on-site 24/7 is desirable from both a security and welfare point of view
14. Having a structured routine for your horse is important. For example, feed, turn-out and bring-in times should be fairly consistent to help keep your horse settled and happy