6 things livery yard owners really, really hate – so don’t do them!

  • While owning a livery yard might look like a dream for some horse owners, running a livery yard is far from an easy task. Managing to balance the books, comply with employment law, undertake all the necessary maintenance on the land and buildings, while also keeping your liveries (and their horses) happy can be a huge challenge.

    So whether your yard owner likes to run a tight ship, or has a more easy-going attitude towards their clients, there are still a few things sure to get even the most chilled individuals hot around the collar…

    1. Bringing horses out of their stable without picking out their feet

    There’s always one livery who forgets to do this, and walks their horse across the yard leaving a trail of dirty straw/shavings and poo behind them, like those kids in Hansel and Gretel with their biscuit crumbs, only more disgusting. It’s safe to say this livery is probably not the yard owner’s favourite, particularly if the yard has already been swept.

    2. Leaving the lights on

    So your yard owner is just relaxing in front of ‘Enders, when she happens to glance out of the window and spot that Fluffy’s light is still on in his stable. The resulting explosion is worse than that time Max Branning did that thing with Stacey.

    3. Not clearing poo out of the school

    If your trusty steed drops his apples while you’re riding in the arena, pick them up, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! The same goes for putting the jumps away after you’ve used them, rather than just, well, leaving them there. In other words, clean up after yourself. If not, know that your yard owner (and most of the other liveries) will have something to say.

    4. Know-it-alls

    There’s at least one of these on every yard. They are fonts of knowledge on everything from bitting to feed to grand prix dressage, and more than happy to share with you their advice – direct from Charlotte Dujardin herself, a close personal friend of course – on how to do the perfect flying change. You’ve never actually seen them ride, because their horse always seems to have something wrong with it, but this doesn’t stop them telling everyone else what to do. Including the yard owner. Strangely, this rarely goes down well. Funny, that.

    5. Using the muckheap as a dustbin

    If you actually want to see steam come out of your yard owner’s ears, chuck an old piece of baling twine on the muckheap. If the muck is spread on the fields to fertilise the grass and make hay, there’s a good chance a horse will end up with that manky old piece of baling twine back in their haynet. Alternatively, if your YO pays someone to take the muck away, prepare to be handed the massive bill for the repair of the large mechanical equipment involved when your baler twice causes it to breakdown. To avoid all such risks, just put it in the bin instead.

    6. Out-of-control dogs

    Dogs are great. We all love dogs. Except there’s a time and a place for them — and it’s not having a great big love-in with the other liveries’ hounds on the middle of the muckheap. Or playing a fun game of tag with your, or someone else’s, horse in the field. Keep your pooches under control or leave them at home. Your yard owner will thank you (or at least, not chuck you off the yard for breaking the rules. It’s nearly the same thing.)

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