New livery yard what questions

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19 April 2014
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Hi all!

I am going to look at a DIY livery yard soon and I was wondering what key questions should I ask the YO/YM? What sorts of things do you need to know before you go, or that you wish you had asked when choosing a livery yard? Anything from what their expectations of you as a livery are to do they have good hacking, please let me know your wisdom, hive mind!!

Thank you!
 

Midlifecrisis

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8 August 2014
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Turn out policy is important, is there someone on site to assist if you go away or have an emergency, space for storage, any time restrictions for being on or off the yard, can any trainer come to yard to teach, where to keep feed and tack, how many water taps are there (seriously we have 40 plus horses and one trickley tap), do you buy own hay or do they supply…same with bedding….is there a contract to sign…an intelligent worming programme, golly the list is endless..but you get the drift. First impressions of yard helps…is it tidy and well cared for. If you can speak to another livery out of earshot of YO that might be good.
 
Joined
19 April 2014
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Thank you both so much! Those are such brilliant thoughts, this will be my first horse so I want to make sure I cover all bases!
 

TheHairyOne

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18 January 2012
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All the above and storage options. It very, very expensive if you can only have 2 small bales of hay at a time. Its a total pain if the tack room isnt secure/no space/not provided and you end up having to cart tack/rugs etc back and forth. Or no space for feed etc. Shared equipment or does everyone have their own.

Opening hours. Ive seen some very odd ones around my way that would never fit in with work!
 

Trakky14

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Turnout in winter/summer, what time are you allowed on the yard until (you'd be amazed how many say no liveries on the yard after 6:30, do they not think people work?) can you store a trailer or lorry there, can you bring in lots of bales of hay/shavings etc...do they supply bedding/hay that you can buy or do you need to bring in your own. Does a farrier already visit the yard, if so who. Is there storage space in addition to tack etc. Can you book out the arena/school for your own use if you have a lesson or instructor coming. Do they do worm counts or worm all the horses together? how often? Do you need to have public liability insurance (some yards specify this) does the horse need to be vaccinated? (again some specify this).

Can you tell I've looked at a lot of yards the last few months?!
 

flying_high

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How far to get to the nearest bridleway / off road riding. I looked round one yard, asked this question and yard manager didnt know. I asked a livery on the yard, and said 40 minutes road hack to get to off road riding!!!!
 

neddy man

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south yorkshire
If you talk to any other liveries ask how long they have been there, the longer they have been there the more genuine answers you will get. As said by others amount of turnout in winter and summer, what the local riding is like, time horses have to be in by, is any assistance available for bringing in etc if you are running late, straw/shavings hay/haylage restrictions, single/mares only /geldings only /or mixed turnout.
 
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Wishfilly

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1 March 2016
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Thank you both so much! Those are such brilliant thoughts, this will be my first horse so I want to make sure I cover all bases!
As others have said, turnout- I know it sounds like we are all obsessed with this but it is a big deal.

I would ask:
-What are the options for restricting grazing if needed?
-Can you hay in the winter if needed?
-Will people bring in for you if your horse would be the last one out in an emergency?
-Winter turnout- I would ask about worst case scenario, and what people do in really bad weather.
-If individual/small group turnout I'd ask about water supply to fields etc too!

Storage as others have said is another big one especially if you don't have loads at home.

If there are facilities e.g. school I would ask how it works booking vs free for all vs limited booking- how often is the school in use, are there rules about sharing? Plus the same for any other facilities!

Does the yard organise vet clinics etc? This can be a huge moneysaver!

Try to chat to some of the other liveries if you can.
 

little_critter

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20 June 2009
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Probably too late now but if DIY what sort of time do other liveries turn out / bring in? I struggled at a previous yard when it turned out mist other liveried worked part time and stated bringing in at 2-3pm in winter. I worked till 5 and by the time I got there my two were stressing to come in.
Ditto if your schedule means you need to turn out at 7am, but no-one else is around at that time your horse won’t have any company.
 

Fjord

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19 July 2009
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Depending on your horse you may need to restrict / supplement feed so asking about options on that is often useful.
Storage (keeping tack at home is a PITA), contracts, any rules they have, turnout and hacking are all good questions. Oh and do they have a loo? 😁
 
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School booking- do you have to book the school (if so can they show you a snap shot- I was on a yard once where you couldn’t get into the arena, had to book well in advance)

Are there any particular yard rules? I was on a yard once where you HAD to poo pick every single day, without fail, even if stuck at work, chucking it with rain etc otherwise you’d get a text message. There was a WhatsApp group dedicated to poo picking

toilet? Electricity? Hot water (useful for bathing)

Is your horse worried about certain things? If so ask about that (eg is there machinery, farm animals, kids running around usually)

Can you put hay in the field in winter (or summer even). Some places won’t let you, even if there’s no grass because they don’t want the fields getting ruined so horses have no hay
 

Chianti

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20 February 2008
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638
Can you have your own vet and farrier? Years ago i went to look at a yard for part livery. Yard owner told me 'You can have any vet except *****. I won't have him on the yard'. Unfortunately ***** was my vet.
 

mariew

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23 February 2009
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513
Is your horse worried about certain things? If so ask about that (eg is there machinery, farm animals, kids running around usually)

..
Although this could also be perfect opportunity to get a horse used to it. I had mine on a dairy farm and both of us were petrified of the sods to start with, however we had no choice but to learn not to be so we were both fine with cows after a couple of weeks. She was bombproof with farm machinery after having got used to it at her breeders.

It worked really well when she could process scary stuff in a field, so she could move away then come back and stare dragon snort until she realised whatever it was wasn't going to eat her and was frankly a bit boring.
 
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