The BHS is launching a livery yard approval scheme to help yard owners and clients

The British Horse Society is planning extend its current approval system to include livery yards.

Recently, DEFRA minister Elliot Morley highlighted the fact that while catteries and kennels have to be licensed, livery yards do not. He has suggested that this may change with the modernisation of the Protection of Animals Act.

The BHS is currently putting the finishing touches to the plan which it is hoped will be launched in July and will run alongside the BHS’s current approval scheme of riding schools.

Yards will be expected to cover the cost of an inspection and will pay an annual registration fee.

BHS spokesperson Nichola Gregory said: “This scheme will run under the umbrella of the BHS approval system. We hope to offer livery yard owners support and advice,as well as make them aware of any changes in law and legislation that affects them.”

Livery yard owner Emma Homewood, believes the new scheme is a good idea: “At the moment anyone can set up a livery yard. This new scheme will be anexcellent way of ensuring that livery yards provide a minimum standard of care. It will also be re-assuring to know that we have someone to turn to for advice in the event of difficulties.”

The scheme will also offer horse owners someone tocomplain to and can act as a mediator in the event of a dispute. Currently many owners face the dilemma of whether to complain and run the risk of being asked to vacate the premises along with their horse.

The approval scheme will be welcomed by most horse owners as Sarah Biggs explains: “I had been at my livery yard on DIY for about two months when the problems started. My horse wasn’t being turned out everyday and when he did, he was left standing in a wet New Zealand. I spoke to the yard manager who said I was being a “fussy mother”.

“Things got worse – his water was always dirty and his bed wasn’t getting mucked out. Complaining seemed to have made matters worse . In the end I had to move yards, I think licensing is a good thing as people wouldn’t be able to get away with only offering half a service.

According to Nichola, the BHS is dealing with an increased number of people complaining about livery yards, these include welfare cases and inadequate standards of care.

“Under the new scheme the BHS will be able to investigate these reports and if necessary revoke the approval , although we hope it won’t come to this.” says Nichola. Read more about livery yards: