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Factors to Consider

Factors to Consider

First things first, you need to be honest with yourself – honest about the hours you can give to your horse and the money you can afford to spend.

If you have all the time in the world and no money, DIY livery could be the best solution for you and your horse. If you have a full-time job or family commitments, then full livery might be the most sensible option.

Either way, your horse needs attention every day of the week, which means you need to be realistic about how often you can get to the yard – once a day, twice a day, once a week etc – and then budget for the level of assistance you will require to cater for all of your horse’s needs.

Other factors to take into consideration include:

  • Facilities – are the stables of adequate size? Will they protect your horse from the elements? Is there rubber matting? Does the yard possess an arena for client use? Is there an indoor arena for when the weather turns inclement? Do the training facilities satisfy the number of clients or will you be fighting for space? Are there shower areas? Are they heated? Is there a solarium, a horse walker, an all-weather menage? Is paddock or turnout time a given, and if yes, for how many hours a day? Is there a tack room or storage area available?

  • Training – is there a qualified instructor at the yard offering lessons if wanted? Are you able to invite instructors to the yard if there is no trainer available or you are of a riding standard beyond the scope of the resident instructor?

  • Feed and bedding – your horse needs to eat and have a clean bed to sleep in so you need to know what is provided by the yard and what you need to buy in. Some yards provide everything – minus the supplements and shavings – so that’s haylage, straw, hard feed etc Other yards might supply a certain amount of shavings and straw.

  • Hacking – is the yard nestled within a wooded paradise surrounded by rolling hills, acres of green and barely a car in sight or is it bang in the middle of the M25? If you’re a happy hacker at heart, this is clearly something you will need to consider.

  • Extras – if your horse is on medication, will the yard staff administer it? Will they hold your horse for the vet or the farrier? When it comes to rug season, will they rug up, take them off, or will you be charged for this?

  • Personalities – being part of a yard makes you an automatic member of a close-knit community, so you need to get on with the yard owner and other clients and, more importantly, you need to be able to trust them with your horse. So, do your homework. Ask around, spend time at the yard to see how they handle their liveries, and take time to assess their training methods to find out whether they correspond with your own. 

  • Livery payment – is it affordable? There’s little point in your horse living like a king if you have to work all the hours God sends to fund a life of luxury you never get to see. 


Although this will vary from county to county and country to country, you may be asked to sign a contract that sets out the responsibilities of the yard in terms of your horse’s care and details your own responsibilities as the owner.

Again, these responsibilities will vary from yard to yard, but if you have agreed to place your horse at a yard for a specific reason or purpose, then make sure that’s spelled out in any contract. And always read the fine print. It’s a bore, but one that may save you stress in the future.

And finally, it’s show me the money time. Again, prices will vary depending on the type of livery you choose and the facilities on site. There may be add-ons for solarium usage, turning out or, as mentioned, rugging up. There will be a marked difference in price when it comes to location and also the reputation of a place. So, the short answer here is, the price of livery is the price you are willing to pay – and those prices can range from a couple of hundred pounds/dollars and euros a month to more than a thousand per horse.

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