DIY livery yards are often wonderful places full of happy horses with understanding owners who are helpful and supportive of their fellow riders, but they can also be hot-beds of tension and trouble. So if you want to enjoy spending time at your livery yard in 2015, here are a few suggestions for New Year resolutions that both your livery yard owner and your fellow liveries are sure to thank you for.
1. Be tidy. We know horses have an uncanny ability to poo just before you get on to ride and that it’s difficult to avoid losing some bedding on the way to the muck heap, but spending a few extra minutes cleaning up after you and your horse will be much appreciated by everyone.
2. That includes the muck heap. When someone has spent time perfecting the steps and sweeping the front, it’s truly disheartening to have a fellow livery dump their muck in an untidy fashion at the front. If everyone forks their muck up and keeps the shape, then it’s less work for you all.
3. Put things away. Whether that’s returning mucking out gear to its designated place or not leaving your grooming kit strew around the yard while you’re out riding, putting things away means other people can find what they need and reduces the likelihood of your stuff disappearing.
4. Be supportive, but don’t interfere. If you see someone is having problems and they ask for your help, by all means offer your advice or assistance. But don’t wade in if your opinion hasn’t been requested and don’t discuss the issue with all and sundry behind that person’s back. That’s bound to cause ill-feeling.
5. Don’t ‘borrow’ things without permission. ‘Borrowers’ can be a real problem in some yards, particularly when items disappear without a trace. Ask if you can borrow the thing you need and return it in the same or better condition than it was when you received it. And ALWAYS return it. Borrowing something without returning it is stealing!
6. Be considerate in the manège. Whether that’s putting away the jumps after you’ve used them, picking up your horse’s droppings or avoiding riding at the most popular times if your timetable allows you to do so, all of these will be appreciated by your fellow liveries.
7. Pay on time. It’s an obvious one, but late payers are never popular, especially if they can find the money for the latest Ariat boots or a smart new Kingsland jacket, but struggle to pay their bills.
8. If there is a problem, speak to the yard manager. Most issues can be resolved with good communication with the relevant people, while moaning and groaning between you is only likely to make the matter worse.
What would you add to our wish list to help ensure your livery yard is an enjoyable place to be? Or what are your major bugbears that you’d like to change? Let us know below…