Moving yards can be a stressful time for horse owners, especially when you’ve got a timelimit for the move. But finding the right yard is so important to both you and your horse’s welbeing. So here are some of our top tips on what you should ask and consider when looking at new yards.
Why are you moving?
The first thing to make clear is your reasons for moving if you are moving by choice and not due to yard closing down/relocating etc. What at your current yard is making you unhappy there? It could be:
- The people
- The lack of facilities
- The cost
- The routine
Whatever your reasons, make sure you understand what they are, as you will want to find solutions to them in your new yard.
What type of livery do you want?
Are you happy with the type of livery you are currently on?
Full & Part Livery
Do you have a busy home/work life where you need the services they offer to look after your horse? If so, you should be looking for a yard where these services are also available, even if it’s on more of an ad hoc basis.
If you don’t need the services, and you are finding the livery quite expensive, looking for a DIY or Assisted DIY yard could work out cheaper for you. But remember, you may need to change your daily routine to look after your horse at this new yard.
If you are struggling to make DIY work for you and your horse, looking at other types of livery might suit you better. It could be as simple as finding somewhere what offers services or a freelance groom able to help when you need it. But if you are struggling to fit your horse into your day to day life, somewhere with more services could suit you better.
What facilities do you want?
Next you need to make a wishlist of what facilities your new yard MUST have and a list of facilities it would be NICE to have. These could include:
- Plenty of turnout
- Individual vs group turnout
- A stable
- An arena
- Horse walker
- Good hacking
- Lorry/Trailer parking
You can now combine your list of facilities with the type of livery you want to start narrowing down what yards could be suitable for you.
Things to ask when looking at yards
Once you have your list of yards that you think are suitable, it’s time to find out more about them to make sure they are the right fit for you. Some great things I think are good to know about a new yard are:
One of the first things you want to find out is how much it costs and what’s included in that cost. Does it include any hay or bedding? Does the price sound within your budget?
The yard routine
This is especially important for DIY yards. What time do people typically feed & turnout in the morning? What time do they bring in & feed? When do people typically ride? Do these timings work with what you want to do with your horse?
Ask if there are any specific yard rules you need to be aware of. Some yards you can only go up at certain times of day. Some yards you can only buy hay & bedding from them. What about using the arena? Do you need to book it? Can you bring your own instructor or do you need to use theirs? These little details can make or break how a yard works for you.
This is one of the most important things for me, the yard culture. I want to be on a yard of likeminded people so I can enjoy my time with the yard. Ask what the other liveries typically do with their horses. Are they happy hackers or are they out competing every week? Does that fit in with what you like to do?
Another great thing to find out is what the turnover of liveries is like. Good, friendly yards rarely have space as the liveries love it there and stay for years.
Last Updated on 26/01/2024