Owning a horse is a big financial and emotional commitment, so choosing the best livery yard is vital. After all, it will be your beloved horse’s home for many years to come and a vital source of support for you both. So how do you go about selecting the right livery yard which suits the needs of both you and your horse? Reading this ‘how to’ guide is a great place to start.
Remember whether you’re dropping off or picking up your equine at the yard, insurance for a horsebox is essential for protecting your vehicle.
What type of livery?
The first decision you’ll need to make is what sort of livery suits your lifestyle best and what your budget is. The main types on offer include:
DIY – Do it yourself livery means travelling to your horse twice a day and performing all stable and horse care duties yourself.
Part Livery – This normally includes the cost of the stable, paddock, bedding and hay. There may be a turn-out or bring-in service included, too.
Full Livery – This complete package includes being turned out and brought in, mucking out, food and water. Grooming could also be included, as well as appointments with the farrier, vet and dentist. Training might also be included in the package, but this is likely to come at an additional cost.
Clearly choosing the right livery option for you is a balance. For example, those on a budget will probably want to avoid full livery as it can get expensive. But if your time is limited and you can afford it, then it could be the ideal option for you to make sure your horse gets the care it needs.
Always work out beforehand how much you can realistically afford for livery services. Don’t forget to leave a buffer for unexpected costs and factor in travelling costs, too. By signing a livery agreement you could be taken to court if you don’t hold up your side of the bargain.
The British Horse Society runs a livery yard approval scheme to make sure you’re in the very best hands.
Choosing a location
When you’ve decided on your budget and type of livery, you’ll need to consider location when finalising your shortlist of potential yards.
The distance between your home and livery yard will have a big impact on cost and time. If you’re travelling there twice a day, it needs to fit into your day-to-day life. Importantly, if there’s an emergency you’ll want to be able to get to your horse quickly.
Being fully covered is something all responsible horse owners will want. As well as providing horsebox insurance, Equesure also provides horse insurance and horse rider insurance to keep you both safe.
What are your needs?
Speak with the yard owner or manager and see how you get along – do you think they’ll treat your horse in the way you would want?
There are many different factors you could consider depending on your personal circumstances. For example, if you and your young daughter both want to ride and livery your horses together, a yard with other children around could be a good choice.
Or maybe you’re looking for a very sociable livery yard with regular group hacks? Or perhaps you like to keep yourself to yourself?
Whatever your needs, choosing the right livery yard can help you to feel comfortable and happy with where you’re keeping your horse. A recipe for many happy years together!
What are your horse's needs?
Like their owners, horses come in all different shapes, sizes and temperaments. An old horse nearing retirement will have different needs to a hot-blooded thoroughbred for example. Your chosen livery yard will need to be able to meet the demands of your individual horse.
Also keep in mind what you plan to do with your horse and what facilities you’ll need for that. For example, if competitive show jumping is your objective then you’ll want a yard with a jumping arena and facilities to help you work towards your dream.
The following are typical facilities and services which most yards offer and are worth considering:
- Arenas – From indoor or outdoor, dressage or jumping, sand or grass the options are endless. Are you happy to travel to other yards to use their facilities or do you want a dedicated place to use in all weathers?
- Lunging facilities – Is there a lunge arena or do horses lunge elsewhere?
- Quality of hacking – Are there bridleways nearby? How far do you have to travel for a good, safe off-road hack?
- Stables – Are the stables of a good standard suitable for your horse? And are there other facilities on offer such as horse showers and horse solariums?
- Paddocking – Adequate well-maintained grazing is essential. And are horses turned out in groups or individually?
- Turnout time – Are horses turned out all day or is there only limited turnout?
- Preferred suppliers – If you want to bring in your own feed or instructor for example is that going to be a problem? Some yards insist you only use their preferred suppliers.
Find specialist horsebox insurance at Equesure today
For every choice you make in your horse’s care you’ll want the very best advice from experienced professionals.
When it comes to protecting your transport, the team at Equesure has over 60 years of experience in the equine insurance market, finding cover for models by Equi-Trek, Empire, Tristar, Ascot and many more.
Obtaining insurance through Equesure can give you a range of benefits including:
- Comprehensive and third party, fire and theft cover
- Cover for social, domestic and leisure
- Business use available
- No claims bonus not required
- Windscreen cover on comprehensive policies
- Personal accident cover available on all comprehensive policies
- Values up to £750,000
- Legal cover available with all policies
- EU cover included on all policies
- Breakdown cover including vehicle and horse recovery
Getting a horsebox insurance quote is easy with Equesure.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.