7 types of horse/owner combinations you will meet on (almost) every livery yard

  • If you've ever kept your horse on a livery yard then you will be aware that they are home to all sorts of characters (both horse and human). Here's just a few you might come across...

    The retrained racehorse

    “Charlie” raced in three bumpers as a youngster but proved to be lacking in enthusiasm in this department. “Ridden out but tailed off” was the most commonly used phrase on his race notes. Thankfully all was not lost and his doting owner Debbie has invested all of her love and patience into her beloved retrained racehorse. Six years later, the pair can be found dominating the local unaffiliated competition circuit and their matchy-matchy wardrobe makes them the envy of all on their livery yard.

    The professional amateur

    Kate is a serious competitor and has her sights set on Mitsubishi Motors Cup glory at Badminton thanks to her ultimate British Eventing grassroots horse, “Jack”. Together they have never been out of the top five at the 28 BE90 and BE100 competitions they have tackled together. You rarely see Kate or Jack on the yard as they are always off in the lorry either having lessons, cross-country schooling or competing. Kate and Jack are always immaculately turned out and you have a strong feeling that their tack costs more than your car.

    Can-do cob

    “Bob” is the four-legged version of a saint. You can’t see his legs for feathers and his favourite things include hacking and being turned out 24/7. You can often find his owner Debbie either poo-picking his field or moving the electric fence to extend the grass strip available to Bob in his restricted grazing.

    Au naturel

    “Spirit” doesn’t get ridden, but he is an expert when it comes to joining up with his owner, Shirley. The only tack Spirit is familiar with is a rope training halter and he is well versed in Parelli. Shirley is massive fan of all things “natural” and can most often be found running around the arena with Spirit shadowing her every move.

    Speed queen

    “Wizz” goes everywhere flat out. Competitors dread the sight of her and her rider Jake turning up at the local showjumping show as they are unbeatable against the clock. Wizz is renowned for jumping out of her field and is sharp at both the back and front ends so liveries take a wide berth around her stable. Jake’s turn out skills may leave a lot to be desired, but you forgive him because he’s a 14-year-old school boy and at the end of the day, he and Wizz seem to be happy in each other’s company.

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    The pony everyone wants

    “Freddy” has a list of people who would sell an organ to own him. There is nothing this pony can’t do, from crossing any hunt country to winning at HOYS (Horse of the Year Show) and being on every area team at the local Pony Club. His rider Poppy is fiercely competitive and her mother always makes sure her daughter wants for nothing when it comes to Freddy. Poppy can’t remember the last time she turned up to Saturday lessons at school, but as her mother says, that’s the sacrifice you have to make if you want to be the best.

    The pony nobody wants

    “Bella” knows all the tricks in the book when it comes to doing the exact opposite her pint-sized jockey, Sam, asks her. She even has her own nickname on the yard: Bella the b**ch and is rumoured to be the devil in disguise. Sam is unwavering in his dogged determination to win over Bella, despite his fall count now rapidly approaching 100.

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