Lifting the lid on livery yards

  • The Horse & Hound Great Livery Survey found that costs vary widely across the country, but generally follow the old adage that “you get what you pay for”.

    Naturally, DIY livery clients pay the lowest fees, the great majority paying less than £75pw, and, outside the south-east and Channel Islands, less than £50 – 18% of DIY livery respondents nationwide pay less than £25 per week, although what is actually included varies tremendously.

    However, if you are prepared to pay more, there is no lack of facilities available for DIY clients – more than half have access to off-road hacking and/or a manŠge and 20% to cross-country fences.

    Working livery – where the horse is used in a riding school in exchange for a reduced livery fee – is another way of cutting costs. However, this type of arrangement seems to be less popular than in the past – working livery clients made up a small percentage of responses to the survey.

    The definition of part-livery can vary tremendously from yard to yard, a fact that horse owners should bear in mind when shopping around for a yard. The range of services and facilities is reflected in the greatest array of costs – 35% of respondents pay £75-£100pw for part-livery, 6% pay less than £25pw and 1% pay more than £125pw.

    The main factors affecting costs seem to be location and facilities rather than standards or levels of care. Most part-livery packages include turning out to grass, fetching in and administering veterinary care, but many owners worry about how horses are handled by yard staff and if medicines etc are always administered correctly.

    Full livery is popular with owners who work full time or who have the type of horse which requires a high degree of care. Charges ranged from £25-50pw to £125-150pw, with the majority (36%) in the £75-£100pw bracket. Unsurprisingly, the south-east was the most expensive area, with all owners paying more than £125pw.

    However, there are again variations in what clients get for their money. Tack cleaning is charged as an extra in 36% of yards, while routine grooming is extra for 20% of clients.

    Yards offering full livery seem to be well equipped: 82% have a manŠge, 47% have an indoor school and more than halfhave a seasonal show jumping paddock.

    Those prepared to pay for the privilege of competition livery naturally enjoy the greatest range of facilities and service at a cost varying from £75pw to £150 plus. All have access to either a manŠge or indoor school, schooling is included in the package and on-site instruction or clinics are readily available.

    Competition livery is still far from all-inclusive, however – even at £100 per week, clipping and administration of veterinary care are charged as extras by some yards. However, levels of satisfaction were the highest among this group.

    Don’t miss an in-depth report on the survey’s findings in today’s Horse & Hound (10 October), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

    Read more livery yard news:

    You may like...