Choosing a livery yard

Moving yards is a toughie isn’t it? Almost as bad as moving house. Would you ever move house to be closer to a better yard? That’s true dedication to your horse.
There are so many factors to take into account:
The facilities. Do you really need a horse walker? How often are you going to realistically use it? What about the arenas; some happy hackers never set hoof in one, some dressage divas never take a hoof out of them. Are 5 arenas really necessary? Jumps. Do you want that grassy jumping paddock you can only access 2 weeks of the year, between the ground being too boggy and too hard? What about that ore novice cross country course?
Most of us want a little bit of everything, personally I like to have enough arena space to ride, jumps I can put our, the odd log in the woods. But if I want to have across country schooling session i’ll pop over to boomerang and push my boundaries.
Hacking is a must, horses get so stale that even a nice track through the woods is better than nothing. I opt for fabulous hacking so I can fitten my horse easily.
Next we can look at the type of yard: do you go to a riding school, which has the benefit of optional lessons, but the constant power struggle of livery vs riding school. Should your opt for DIY or part or full? Or go to a yard which is flexible? A yard with staff, as opposed to the one run by a farmer in some unused barns, has the advantage of professional advice.
Then do you opt for grass livery or have a stable? There’s nothing I can’t stand more than those owners who don’t fork out the weekly rent for a stable, yet as soon as it rains one night want their horse to come in. It doesn’t work that way! I’d always opt for a stable, it’s nice to have somewhere to call your own.
Moving onto the fields; this can be another political problem: individual turn out? Not good for the horses mental well being unless he has neighbours over the fence, but you don’t have the endless arguments about poo picking, who’s horse injured the other, who’s turn is it to hay up, and should we rest this bit now or next week? My field arrangement works ok with 3, but I’m forever telling the one owner not to leave either of the other 2 alone; they don’t like it! One is a competition horse and the other has a history of ligament problems. So obviously neither horse owner wants their horse galloping around in distress.

So many factors to decide upon, and that’s before we get to the costings, supplies, storage etc. Which one is the most important factor for you?

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