Even more livery yards moving towards banning winter turnout?

Auslander

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I'd pay up to £100 per week for full grass livery year round (ie horse is looked after and fed and rugs changed, hay included and given as needed, all field maintenance done by owner of yard) with the same stipulations as above. I'd go a little higher for surfaced track system / surfaced turnout pens. Slight awkwardness if that my horse needs to come off grass during day in Spring / Summer but a trashed bit of field / a shelter that can be shut off would achieve this if no stable...
I have all the above (minus the track system), plus two schools, and good hacking, but I can't get anywhere near that for full grass livery, so I can't make the improvements I'd like to make to the land itself. It's a catch 22 situation!
 

DD

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The fact the YO is in the High Peak and mentions a yard with a track system makes me think I know exactly where she is. If it's where I think, it is particularly bad for winter turnout due to the soil type. There are definitely one or two yards in that area that have decent winter turnout - as far as I know, one of them is grass livery and horses are out all winter. However, there are better options for livery if you go slightly further into the National Park.
Is that Cown Edge?
 
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Mine lives out 24/7 thank god!!! I'm lucky enough to rent land a stones throw from my house... £65 pcm month for 5 acres, large field shelter, storage shed and incredibly well maintained fencing/land.
OP I really feel for your situation:(
There is no way on Earth I would be happy for my horse to be stabled 23 hours a day. I may get shot down for this but I genuinely believe that for the average horse/exercise regieme this is bloody cruel..!!!
If someone put their dog in a cage 23 hours a day there would be an uproar...I don't see why horses should be any different:(
 

mytwofriends

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We rent a little yard with 4 acres that we can manage as we wish. Only 3 horses. They're currently still out at night, in for an hour for breakfast and a haynet, and will stay that way until the end of November (or whenever we decide.) And then they'll go out every single day all winter long. If the weather is foul beyond belief and we decide they may prefer a day in - well that's up to us.

After being on a diabolical yard a few years ago that restricted turnout to one hour per day in winter (and that was more than fetlock deep in liquid mud, so no grass at all to pick at), and having my elderly horse break his stable door down in frustration, which was totally out of character - not to mention health issues such as his arthritis and swollen sheath - there's no way on earth I'd revert to that setup. I'd honestly rather not own a horse.
 

Jingley

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Wow i feel really happy, i rent 2 acres DIY, have 2 horses on their with field shelters and they live out 24/7 all year round; £120 PCM inc of poop pile removal, fencing, electric and water. I would not be happy with mine being in all that time. I do live in the East so its a bit more sandy. I would have thought up North there was an abundance of land, whenever i go on holiday that way im always amazed at how rural it is and how many fields there are so im surprised places are overstocked. Without knowing the area well, could you look for somewhere that prehaps isnt a yard, maybe someone who has some fields or a farmer who dosent have horses and see if you could rent a few acres and manage it yourself. Instead of looking for another yard??
 

Starzaan

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Right - Rant time and I won't be sorry to those I offend; sorry and all that!

I totally agree with Theocat, Elsielouise, Honetpot and others in the same vein.

People who want DIY or any other type of livery just do not have any idea of the running costs of having that sort of yard but think their £15 a week entitles them to everything they demand without any restrictions. By the same token, people who opened yards accepting too many horses for their land without doing their homework from both the financial POV and the toll it would take on their land are also delusional idiots.
Cheap and horses are not words that fit in one sentence; it just can't happen. If it is cheap, it will be rubbish and it's exactly the same when looking for livery.
Cheap livery will not be able to supply your needs for very long without having to make changes whether that means fencing failing badly, supplying (and charging) for extra hay when the grass has gone or restricting grazing at wet times of the year; even worse if you require someone to do jobs in your place. If a horse is stabled and turned out, you want those jobs and associated ones (mucking out, bedding down, feeding, filling haynets, changing rugs, picking out feet, turning out, catching in and so on) it's going to be at least 1 hour of time during the day spent on that horse; minimum wage is £7 ?? so that's an extra £35 a week at least on top of your grazing/stable costs alone; you can't expect it done for nothing.
Again, by the same token, you can't expect yard owners to allow all of their fields to be trashed during wet weather without some restrictions in place else the land is ruined, there'd be no grass for the next year and then you'd be moaning too. Weather has to be taken into account plus the type of land and the stocking rates too. Ideally, a 40 horse yard would need at least 80 acres to do the job properly so if the stocking rate is too dense you just know that will lead to problems when the weather is bad; whether that be by restricted turnout or whatever. It's up to you to do your homework for every season (including things like unprecedented rainfall which is common in the north west) Everything costs and in fairness to most decent livery owners, it shouldn't be them footing the whole bill from their own pocket, the livery charges should allow for all maintenance costs such as rolling, harrowing, repairs, hedgecutting and general upkeep let alone something so trivial as towards a wage of some sort. Most livery owners live on site, it's their home too so to a certain extent it needs to be run for their convenience too especially if there are common entrances and the house is on the yard, not tucked away from it. I wouldn't want anyone knocking about at 6am either unless it was a one off for a vet, cubbing or a show or at the other end of the day either; they deserve some quiet time and your cheap livery is certainly not a reason to expect access all hours as a right.

Put simply - If you aren't prepared to pay a decent price for livery of any type, then don't have a horse at all. Don't expect others to subsidise your hobby and then complain about it.
You'd be the one complaining if you were in the YO's shoes, believe me. I totally agree that livery yard owners need to be realistic in their expectations too, to not over stock, provide decent grazing, fences and so on, but don't blame them if they try to protect their property (no amount of livery will cover the damage caused) by placing fair restrictions when necessary.
Until it's your property, you don't have a say in the matter so if you don't like it, vote with your feet.
Absolutely this. People just don't seem to understand how much a livery yard costs to run. I have run my own yard and am now head girl on a very busy livery yard and riding school and I will never understand people who complain about realistic livery prices.

ETA - I don't in any way mean to offend or be rude, but I can't even imagine being on a salary anywhere near £40k. I am on almost half that and can afford to have my nightmare youngster on full livery to try and sort out his behaviour. Granted, it's not £800 a month but it's not far off, and I just have to make sacrifices elsewhere. The idea of a salary of £40k is the stuff of dreams for me!
 
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sport horse

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I am bemused. Liveries all want lots of turnout because it is not natural for a horse to be in a stable for large amounts of time (even if the horse is exercised and on a good dry bed out of the wet weather. It seems this is cruel.

The majority want individual turnout for most of the day at least.

So, their horse is probably in a small paddock fenced with electric fence from its neighbours, probably no hedge or trees for shelter. No friend to nibble and pass the time of day. Quite possibly nothing left to graze as the land is used for horses 12 months of the year. Turned out at whatever time of day the owner can fit in and brought in again at whatever time of day fits. The other horses are similarly brought in/put out at random times.

I know what I think is good horsemanship.
 

Spottyappy

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I am bemused. Liveries all want lots of turnout because it is not natural for a horse to be in a stable for large amounts of time (even if the horse is exercised and on a good dry bed out of the wet weather. It seems this is cruel.

The majority want individual turnout for most of the day at least.

So, their horse is probably in a small paddock fenced with electric fence from its neighbours, probably no hedge or trees for shelter. No friend to nibble and pass the time of day. Quite possibly nothing left to graze as the land is used for horses 12 months of the year. Turned out at whatever time of day the owner can fit in and brought in again at whatever time of day fits. The other horses are similarly brought in/put out at random times.

I know what I think is good horsemanship.
How I agree. Not sure when turnout in a herd morphed into individual turnout, but it is the most unnatural way of keeping a horse I have encountered.
I also think people do not realise the cost of maintaining a yard of any kind to a good standard. Not to mention the ever increasing cost of insurance.
I have my own private yard, thankfully. Just me and my daughter.
My horses are out 24/7 when ground conditions allow. If fields get very boggy, they are in at night and out by day. I have had 6 days in the last 4/5 years when I have not turned out and that has been due to high winds ripping off my neighbours barn roof and dangerous parts of it randomly flying round. He's not great at doing repairs, or those days would have been fewer!
 

Damnation

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I am bemused. Liveries all want lots of turnout because it is not natural for a horse to be in a stable for large amounts of time (even if the horse is exercised and on a good dry bed out of the wet weather. It seems this is cruel.

The majority want individual turnout for most of the day at least.

So, their horse is probably in a small paddock fenced with electric fence from its neighbours, probably no hedge or trees for shelter. No friend to nibble and pass the time of day. Quite possibly nothing left to graze as the land is used for horses 12 months of the year. Turned out at whatever time of day the owner can fit in and brought in again at whatever time of day fits. The other horses are similarly brought in/put out at random times.

I know what I think is good horsemanship.
I do not agree with individual turnout either.

Mine is out in a mixed herd, pleanty of shelter around the field including trees and hedgerow, daily turnout and a round feeder of hay in the field.

Reading this I realise I am so lucky to have found my current yard.

I will never leave.

One of the most expensive yards in my area only do half day turnout all year round and only in individual paddocks. Even if you have 2 horses they go in their own paddocks. I had no issue paying the price at all and the land is good, I'd be happy to have her in year round especially for the facilities, but my horse having no "mates" just seems incredibly unnatural to me.
 
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skint1

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My horse is not on individual turnout, he has a nice field which he currently shares with one other horse, it has a hill, it has high ground and low ground , it has trees, it has grass of varying greenness. I often drive by a yard that has those little postage stamp paddocks with no shelter or variety, I feel sorry for them but I know the type of livery I have is harder to come by these days so people have to do the best they can. I am grateful for my yard, and I hope I never have to leave. I'd pay more to stay there if I had to as well.
 

windand rain

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I rent a bit of land on sandy soil and it never gets muddy but if I had to keep my ponies in for more than 12 hours at a push I wouldnt own them
Mind you mine live in a stable herd are out 24/7 are happy and wouldnt thank you for a stable the only time you see one near a shelter is when it is hot they are always grazing in the open when you see them no matter how bad the weather. I do think to a point that horse ownership is too cheap they are as cheap to buy as a couple or three lessons. If you then get cheap livery people will buy too soon to avoid lesson costs especially if a whole family want to ride and the resultant crueltiy through ignorance is compounded
Yes I do think keeping a horse in an individual paddock, or a stable is cruel it is unnatural and totally unnecessary. If you cannot provide the seven lifestyle needs for your horse you shouldn own one regardless of cost
 

Cortez

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Being able to turn horses out, whatever the time of year, is dependant on the state of the ground. If it becomes too wet then it cannot be used, nothing to do with "banning" turnout, just it becoming impossible.

If people are not capable of providing sufficient exercise for their horses, then perhaps they should reconsider owning them? Keeping horses in 23 or 24 hours a day IS cruel; so get them out for exercise: simple.

Oh, and putting them in bare patches barely bigger than a stable, alone, is hardly "turn out".
 

Merlod

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I think because high end yards value facilities over turnout. The horses go in the school/lunge pen/walker everyday, sometimes they get a couple of hours out in the summer in a small individual paddock and in the winter all turnout is stopped.

Low end and very basic DIY yards don’t often have facilities so can’t charge high prices to make their money and thus the owners (often ex farmers in my experience) will just cram as many horses as they possibly can on the yard to make money. This often results in terrible ground conditions, “turf wars” among liveries and usually turnout being heavily restricted or stopped.

I am very lucky that I have my own yard, my horses live out in a herd, rotated between two big hill fields and only ever come in overnight during the winter.
 

Damnation

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Being able to turn horses out, whatever the time of year, is dependant on the state of the ground. If it becomes too wet then it cannot be used, nothing to do with "banning" turnout, just it becoming impossible.

If people are not capable of providing sufficient exercise for their horses, then perhaps they should reconsider owning them? Keeping horses in 23 or 24 hours a day IS cruel; so get them out for exercise: simple.

Oh, and putting them in bare patches barely bigger than a stable, alone, is hardly "turn out".
Its striking the balance.

You need to do best by your horse, but at the same time when you work 40 hours a week full time, exercising even for 2-3 hours a day isn't feesable, and to me isn't enough either. Not everyone is lucky enough to be around all day in order to facilitate the horses being in constantly but at the same time land is not cheap and sometimes it doesn't recover very well.

Something does need to change I think. Yards need to realise that horses need *something* whether that is surfaced turnout pens or other alternatives as a huge amount of their client base will be working people that simply do not have the time to grass walk their horse and ride for 3-4 hours a day minimum to get them out of their stables and sufficiently exercised.

That same client base also need to be prepared to pay in order for these facilities to be created in the first place.
 

paddi22

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Not sure when turnout in a herd morphed into individual turnout, but it is the most unnatural way of keeping a horse I have encountered.
it's awful and its just becoming more and more common. From chatting to yards who do it, one or two seemed to start because of liveries complaining about horses being bullied, kicked, uncatchable, too many rug tears. Or that it was too hard/dangerous to bring in with a group of horses around a gate. A few just said it was easier and less hassle for them to just seperate them out and have owners just interact with their horses.

The others seemed to do it as its easier to rotate and manage small seperate paddocks instead of one massive field.

it's definitely a step down in horse welfare though.
 

milliepops

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Individual turnout does have its place. Previously I would have been as militant as others against it. Now, I simply dare not turn Millie out with another horse... to do so will effectively write her off and I'm not prepared to do that yet.
I've had enough catastrophic field injuries to last me a lifetime. I'd dearly love to pop her out with a herd in a big natural field, but the inevitable rumpus that would follow will be the end for her. When we approach the end, then we can give it a go but I will have to be prepared to pts when one of the compromised legs gives up for good. As it is, she's back in work and feeling very chirpy so it feels totally wrong not to give her the best chance now.

I do hate the boring featureless paddocks, it's not how I kept my ponies as a kid but the horses don't appear to be suffering. They snuffle through the hedge, watch the comings and goings and get on with grazing.
 

paddi22

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as regards liveries having to work 40 hours+ days and not being able to exercise a horse enough, should there be an onus on the owner to hire someone to give horses adequate exercise, similar to how people get dog walkers? just musing!
 

milliepops

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Actually, thinking about it, Kira is happier in the open fields (that I consider boring) than she ever was in bigger fields with more variety (woodland, trees etc). She's definitely harking back to the steppes, she likes to be able to see everything around her and gets very worried by enclosed spaces or spooky trees. Horses for courses ;)
 

Amye

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Its striking the balance.

You need to do best by your horse, but at the same time when you work 40 hours a week full time, exercising even for 2-3 hours a day isn't feesable, and to me isn't enough either. Not everyone is lucky enough to be around all day in order to facilitate the horses being in constantly but at the same time land is not cheap and sometimes it doesn't recover very well.

Something does need to change I think. Yards need to realise that horses need *something* whether that is surfaced turnout pens or other alternatives as a huge amount of their client base will be working people that simply do not have the time to grass walk their horse and ride for 3-4 hours a day minimum to get them out of their stables and sufficiently exercised.

That same client base also need to be prepared to pay in order for these facilities to be created in the first place.
Agree with this completely.

I'm lucky that my boy is out during the day in winter. However I would be happy to pay more if the yard advised that they needed more to maintain that level of turnout.


I'm another not happy with the individual turnout that some yards seem to do. I like my horse to be able to go out and interact and graze with other horses in a herd. We have a herd of 4,they all get on well and there's no bullying as it's a pretty stable herd IMO. I've seen them snoozing together, playing together, grooming and grazing and it's lovely to watch them just being horses :)
 

Mongoose11

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I'd also be willing to pay a premium for the option of full grass livery but I wouldn't pay £100 a week; I would stretch to £70 though.

At the moment my horse has individual turnout because she is not comfortable with the company of other horses. I would love her to have a pony friend but anything the same size or bigger makes her very uncomfortable. She has the opportunity to talk/play/scratch with others over the fence but she never has and other horses certainly take the opportunity with others.

To everyone who talks of herd turn out as being ideal and 'natural', there is nothing natural about a herd where horses come and go as individuals all day, disappear for whole days and sometimes weekends or weeks! That is not a natural, settled herd at all.

I'm very lucky to have winter turnout but I want more. My mare is 16 and eventually I'd like her to have the option of 24/7 turnout. Where we are she will get 7-8 hours a day for the absolute majority of the winter months. Occasionally we have a few days in here and there but that can't be helped.

I have about 1.5 acres and she has lived on that very happily for two years. I section it in half in July and let it grow for the winter and she starts eating that around now. I am on clay but her field is not a problem because turn out is restricted when it's wet. If it wasn't or she was in a group, I can only imagine it would be truly awful.

It seems I'm looking for the impossible but my ideal would be 1-2 acres with part of it as hard standing so she would be on that during the night in Winter, free to move around and eat from hay stations. I can dream!

Anyone who thinks they should be entitled to anything more than a trash paddock for £25 a week is deluded.
 
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Luci07

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Don't be so quick to dismiss people who want or should I say need indivudual turnout for their horses. On our very small yard, we have a stallion and 2 late cut geldings. Both those geldings have to have individual turnout and the same fencing as the stallion. While both horses are nice to handle, they are a kicking, rug ripping pain in the a**e for us other horse owners. My gelding is big but really soft and the others were the same. We tried, but there is a limit to just how many times you will accept your horse coming in wth yet another injury. My own horse craves and loves equine company though has put up with being the only one in during the day but that is balanced by his love of feed and sleep!
 

Kathy657

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At our yard which is clay, they have to restrict turn out in the winter. They are still out at the moment, but the horses are desperate to come back in after a couple of hours. They start hanging around the gate and running up and down. None of them enjoy being out all day.
It makes me smile when people say it's cruel to have them in 24/7. What's worse ? Being out from maybe 7 am hardly any grass in the pouring rain or a nice dry stable with ad lib haylage? I know what ours prefer.
 
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I am a long time lurker on this forum but thought I would take the plunge today and actually post something!

This is a very interesting thread and has made me realise that I'm very lucky with my livery yard as we have all year round, 24/7 turnout. Although parts of the fields are generally fairly trashed by the end of winter, they are very well maintained and recover quickly in the spring. Owners are given their own field with some horses on individual turnout, some sharing (through choice) and of course some people have more than one horse anyway. Its a big yard - I have about 3 acres for my horse and 2 small ponies. We are allowed to erect field shelters if we wish and I've certainly noticed that over the past few years that there are fewer and fewer horses being brought in and stabled at night. Having had one of my horses on box rest for the last week, I just don't know how he or I would cope with very limited turnout! I appreciate that we can only do our best, and some situations are far from ideal, but I really struggle with the concept of stabling horses for the majority of the time (medical reasons aside)
 

ribbons

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Right - Rant time and I won't be sorry to those I offend; sorry and all that!

I totally agree with Theocat, Elsielouise, Honetpot and others in the same vein.

People who want DIY or any other type of livery just do not have any idea of the running costs of having that sort of yard but think their £15 a week entitles them to everything they demand without any restrictions. By the same token, people who opened yards accepting too many horses for their land without doing their homework from both the financial POV and the toll it would take on their land are also delusional idiots.
Cheap and horses are not words that fit in one sentence; it just can't happen. If it is cheap, it will be rubbish and it's exactly the same when looking for livery.
Cheap livery will not be able to supply your needs for very long without having to make changes whether that means fencing failing badly, supplying (and charging) for extra hay when the grass has gone or restricting grazing at wet times of the year; even worse if you require someone to do jobs in your place. If a horse is stabled and turned out, you want those jobs and associated ones (mucking out, bedding down, feeding, filling haynets, changing rugs, picking out feet, turning out, catching in and so on) it's going to be at least 1 hour of time during the day spent on that horse; minimum wage is £7 ?? so that's an extra £35 a week at least on top of your grazing/stable costs alone; you can't expect it done for nothing.
Again, by the same token, you can't expect yard owners to allow all of their fields to be trashed during wet weather without some restrictions in place else the land is ruined, there'd be no grass for the next year and then you'd be moaning too. Weather has to be taken into account plus the type of land and the stocking rates too. Ideally, a 40 horse yard would need at least 80 acres to do the job properly so if the stocking rate is too dense you just know that will lead to problems when the weather is bad; whether that be by restricted turnout or whatever. It's up to you to do your homework for every season (including things like unprecedented rainfall which is common in the north west) Everything costs and in fairness to most decent livery owners, it shouldn't be them footing the whole bill from their own pocket, the livery charges should allow for all maintenance costs such as rolling, harrowing, repairs, hedgecutting and general upkeep let alone something so trivial as towards a wage of some sort. Most livery owners live on site, it's their home too so to a certain extent it needs to be run for their convenience too especially if there are common entrances and the house is on the yard, not tucked away from it. I wouldn't want anyone knocking about at 6am either unless it was a one off for a vet, cubbing or a show or at the other end of the day either; they deserve some quiet time and your cheap livery is certainly not a reason to expect access all hours as a right.

Put simply - If you aren't prepared to pay a decent price for livery of any type, then don't have a horse at all. Don't expect others to subsidise your hobby and then complain about it.
You'd be the one complaining if you were in the YO's shoes, believe me. I totally agree that livery yard owners need to be realistic in their expectations too, to not over stock, provide decent grazing, fences and so on, but don't blame them if they try to protect their property (no amount of livery will cover the damage caused) by placing fair restrictions when necessary.
Until it's your property, you don't have a say in the matter so if you don't like it, vote with your feet.
Agree with every word.
I have stables standing empty and land that now has sheep on. The only equines i'll have here now are my own.
 

Cortez

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as regards liveries having to work 40 hours+ days and not being able to exercise a horse enough, should there be an onus on the owner to hire someone to give horses adequate exercise, similar to how people get dog walkers? just musing!
Or perhaps face up to the fact that they really don't have the time or energy to own a horse?
 

laura_nash

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It makes me smile when people say it's cruel to have them in 24/7. What's worse ? Being out from maybe 7 am hardly any grass in the pouring rain or a nice dry stable with ad lib haylage? I know what ours prefer.
These aren't the only two options though!! IMO both are cruel (in 24/7 or out in the pouring rain with no shelter and nothing to eat).

Its never completely simple.

I have known horses that lived very happily with only a few hours turnout at the weekend. However, they had almost continous human interaction all day, were in "pair" stables with their best mates (with a half wall between each pair of stables), were exercised 2-3 hours every day whatever the weather, and had a summer holiday (shoes off, out full time in lovely fields with loads of shade and out of work) for two months.

I have also in the past owned a horse that was completely happy living alone or on individual turnout (she was a very odd mare! I don't think she liked horses much).
 

milliepops

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Or perhaps face up to the fact that they really don't have the time or energy to own a horse?
well there's no shame in getting a freelance in to ride your horse if you don't have time, it keeps people in jobs after all :) The main thing is to be realistic about what you can and can't do. I love riding my horses therefore I bust a gut to make sure I get it done. I know other people who get help with theirs.
 

YorksG

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With regard to costs of DIY livery, if the owner works away from the yard, then their evenings and weekends are going to be eaten up by the maintenance work that is always needed. A number of people buy a yard, knowing that the costs will have to be offset by taking in liveries, so that will be the base line for the livery cost, quite possibly without any extra payment for the time that running the yard will "cost". When we were at livery we were very fortunate that the YO was onsite pretty much all the time. We have our own place (no liveries) and today I have had to twice get the youngsters out of one of the sheep "escapes" as the cob has decided that she can't feel the electric fence! I'm not sure how people cope on DIY yards with no-one about during the day, I would be constantly concerned about the trouble horses can get themselves into and it costs to have someone about!
 
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