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.