If you’ve ever spent time on a livery yard, chances are you’ll have experienced one or more of the following…
1. The mystery of the missing things (and who stole them)
“Where are my scissors? Who keeps stealing them?” shouts the wild-eyed woman with the hairy-legged cob. Everyone rushes around looking for them, not wanting to be accused of being the Mysterious Scissors Thief, only for the livery to find them in her tack box, or under a haynet, or in her car. She is, you all gradually realise, a scatterbrain. Yet Scissors-Gate continues indefinitely.
2. The person who borrows things and forgets to put them back
Your stirrup leathers, your whip, even your bit — you have a riding lesson in five minutes and some vital piece of kit is missing. The borrower isn’t a thief as such, just someone who has no personal boundaries when it comes to helping themselves to other people’s stuff. After all, they mean to replace it before anyone’s noticed it’s gone. They just don’t. This can be very confusing if you’ve also got a scatty livery who loses stuff. Beware!
3. The kicked horse
Someone’s horse gets kicked in the field, and all hell promptly breaks loose as everyone tries to work out which equine was the attacker, while vigorously defending their own nag from any such accusation. Later, it turns out that the horse managed to injure itself rolling, but by then it’s too late. Half the liveries have already quit in a huff. Forget famine or climate change, when World War Three does finally get underway, you can guarantee a kicked horse will be behind it.
4. Hay wars
Hay is included in your livery tariff. As far as you’re concerned, this means you’re free to stuff your extra-large haynet to bursting point. Your YO is not so keen on this idea. Hence lots of passive-aggressive notes left about the place saying things like, “There’s far too much hay on the muck heap. You’re over-feeding your fat horses. Stop doing it immediately, or face the consequences, which include death or dismembering.” Well, maybe not that exactly. But words to that effect.
5. The evil horse saga
There’s always one horse on every yard that’s a total fruitloop. Its adoring owner is oblivious to the fact it’s trying to kill her, and although she’s nearly always bruised and bandaged from being kicked/bitten/bolted with/bucked off, she’ll tell anyone who’ll listen how talented Satan is, and how they’ll be taking the eventing/dressage/showjumping world by storm, just as soon as she’s recovered from her latest injury. Meanwhile, everyone on the yard breathes a sigh of relief when Satan and owner return from a quiet hack round the block in one piece.
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6. The yard-hopping liveries
They’re everyone’s best friends when they first turn up at the yard, offering you advice on your horse and bringing it in from the field for you, even though you didn’t ask them to, and actually, it’s a bit annoying. The YO is their new BFF and they’re all going to be godmothers to each other’s kids. Yet, a few short months later, those liveries leave in a storm of threats and recriminations. You find out that they’ve done the same at just about every yard in the county. Why? Who knows!