If you have a horse, you’re going to need a livery, unless you’ve got a field and a stable of your own, of course, and few of us have.
Livery yards come in slightly different forms, and it’s best to take a bit of time to find one that suits you.
At the top end of the market, there are yards that have a manager on hand all the time who will look after all your horse’s needs if necessary, from mucking out, turning out, and calling the vet.
Then there are yards where you do everything yourself. These don’t necessarily come with a stable, which makes them cheaper. You have to decide if you’re happy to have your horse living outside all year round, whatever the weather.
Most people find a yard that’s somewhere in-between these extremes.
Basic stable rent is unlikely to be less than £90 a month, and will quite probably be much more, depending on whereabouts in the country you are in. Then you will need to pay for straw or shavings, hay or haylage, shoeing, and vets bills. Some yards will provide staw and hay that you then pay for, in others, you will have to find it for yourself.
It’s handy to have someone to put out your horse in the morning, especially if you have to go to work or do the school run. Sometimes this comes as part of the livery fee, but often it will be extra, anything from £4 a time upwards. Some yards insist that only the yard manager can charge and do these kinds of jobs for you, which will work out expensive. Better to find a yard where you have a friend or a willing teenager who will get your horse in or out if you need them to.
The sort of yard you choose will of course partly depend on where you live and what’s available. If you live in the country, then your best bet might be a local farm where you might be either on your own or with a select group of horse owners. The main business and interest will be farming, with horses as a small sideline. This will probably work on a ‘do it yourself’ basis.
Alternatively, you might be near a larger yard, either town or country, that is run specifically as a livery yard. It’s likely that there will be more services here, as well as advice and back up. Maybe for the beginner, this is the best option. There are pros and cons for large yards. There’ll be lots of advice, but for the beginner, this can often be confusing. And a large yard will be busy and noisy, and if you just want peace and quiet, it won’t be for you.