Livery yard owners (aka YOs) have a lot to put up with. While some can be a bit sergeant-major-ish, insisting all the forks are lined up at precisely 90 degrees to the wheelbarrows, and that there’s not so much as a blade of hay outside any of the stables, others have a more resigned — sorry, relaxed — attitude towards their liveries.
But there are still a few things sure to get even the most chilled of YOs hot around the collar…
1. Turning horses out without picking their feet out first
There’s always one livery who forgets to do this, and walks their horse across the yard every day 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 YO’s favourite.
2. Leaving the lights on
So your YO 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 the 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 YO (and most of the other liveries) will secretly hate you.
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 YO. 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 YO’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 in their haynet – so make sure you take it back later. If your YO hasn’t already rammed it down your throat, that is… 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.
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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 YO will thank you (or at least, not chuck you off the yard for breaking the rules. It’s nearly the same thing.)
What else causes your YO to get hot under the collar? Let us know below…