By Joyce Pearson
The most expensive of all your outgoings when you own a horse will be the cost of the living arrangements. Unless you are lucky enough to own your own land of course!
If you are buying your first horse then it is important that you make sure the arrangements are all in place before you make a move. After all, you don’t really want to be stuck keeping a horse in your living room.
There are many options available when it comes to your horse’s living arrangements, and it is important to work out which option will suit you best.
The most likely and convenient option will be a livery yard, which may also be known as a boarding stable. The type of board your horse will need is entirely down to the time you have available to look after him.
- Full Livery/board – This is the best option if you work full-time and have a busy schedule. With this type of livery your horse is completely looked after by the staff at the stable, this includes daily exercise and is the most expensive option.
- Part Livery/board – Your horse’s stall will be mucked out and he or she will be fed and watered, but you will be responsible for all exercising and training. This is the best option for you if you have some free time every day to ride or at least exercise your horse.
- DIY Livery – This means your horse has somewhere to live but that you are responsible for all of your horse’s care and for providing food and bedding.
- Working Livery – This is a great option if you are a bit strapped for cash or busy. You will house your horse at riding stables and, in exchange for letting your horse be used during lessons, you will get a discount. Your horse will get plenty of exercise this way.
Some yards will offer most of the above options but others will specialize in one or two types of livery, so before you start looking work out what you need from a yard. Ask the owner exactly what you will be getting for your money and if you will be charged extra for anything.
Find out about visits from the vet and the farrier and how regular they are; ask about the fire procedures, the bedding and feed used and also find out if you will be allowed to provide your own.
Make sure you take a good look around, be on the lookout for any potential dangers or problems and watch how horses are treated. Try and arrange your visit during a busy time so that you speak to other horse owners about their experiences.
Once you have chosen the ideal yard for your horse, make sure and have a contract between you and the owner that you both agree to.
Searching for the perfect yard can be time-consuming but it will be worth it in the long run. If you spend some time looking for the right livery yard from the get go then you will have the perfect home for your horse and won’t have to look again.
Joyce Pearson has been around horses her entire life and has been riding since she was old enough to walk. She currently owns 2 of her own horses and rides every day. She shares her knowledge on www.horsesjournal.co.uk.