Working livery contract expectations

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
Hi everyone,

This is my first post, so apologies if it's in the wrong place!

I’ve ridden for many years but I’ve recently become a first time owner when I bought my lovely warmblood mare. I’m having some problems with the yard though, and I was wondering if anyone can let me know if I’m overreacting?

The horse is at a yard that’s primarily a riding school, which is how I found her. I rode her for about 3 months before purchasing her and the YO agreed that she would stay on working livery. I’m fine with this because generally it’s only experienced riders that can ride her and the instructors are really great and I know she’s in good hands. These are my problems:

1) I got my working livery contract yesterday after chasing for 3 weeks. The contract was £50 more per month than we’d previously agreed. YO says that because my horse is big (16hh) she can’t possibly do it for less than the new amount. Which is weird because it’s not like my horse grew overnight or is a new addition.
2) The contract doesn’t have anything in it about how many hours she needs to do in order to earn her keep. When I ask they just say “oh, we’ll work with you” but won’t give me an idea of hours and refuse to put it in the contract
3) My lessons don’t count towards the ‘earning her keep’ quota even though I pay the same for my lessons as non horse owners
4) One of the staff does lessons on the horse. I’m happy with this because the staff member is a great rider and it’s good training for the horse BUT YO says that the staff member’s lessons don’t count towards her working livery quota because the lessons are free and in exchange for the staff member schooling other horses - not even my horse!
5) The rules of the yard aren’t prominently displayed anywhere and you have to just guess them. When you do something wrong, although the staff are wonderful, the YO holds a grudge for ages, making it really difficult to be there.
6) I’ve arrived twice to ride at pre-agreed times only to find her being used in the riding school either directly before me or right after me.
7) The YO is not approachable to talk to about these problems. She waves her hands, says she’s never fallen out with anyone and just dismisses me, it’s really frustrating.
8) There’s nothing in the contract about turn out, and she currently gets 10 minutes a day, even if the weather is nice (!!!!)

I’m looking at moving her onto full livery. The cost of full livery at that yard is the same as other yards with better facilities, year-round turnout and YOs that seem a lot more professional. I just really want the use of my horse to be clear rather than vague and “we’ll work with you”.

Am I being unreasonable with any of these points? I know all yards have problems and there’s no perfect yard, but I expect there to be a basic level of understanding and expectations - is that reasonable?

Thanks so much!
 

SusieT

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 September 2009
Messages
5,926
Visit site
you are entirely right - your horse and your trust is being abused, working livery rarely works imo and even less when they want their cake and to eat it too. I'd move
 

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
you are entirely right - your horse and your trust is being abused, working livery rarely works imo and even less when they want their cake and to eat it too. I'd move

Thanks for the quick reply! It's not so much that the horse is being abused, but my trust (and niceness!) definitely is!
 

Palindrome

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 July 2012
Messages
1,740
Visit site
It sounds like they just want to go on like they did when she was theirs, rather unreasonable if you are now paying livery and lessons on top of buying the horse. I would give notice and move her to a private yard.
 

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
It sounds like they just want to go on like they did when she was theirs, rather unreasonable if you are now paying livery and lessons on top of buying the horse. I would give notice and move her to a private yard.

Thank you, I'm really relieved that other people see this as a problem too!
 

be positive

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 July 2011
Messages
19,396
Visit site
you are entirely right - your horse and your trust is being abused, working livery rarely works imo and even less when they want their cake and to eat it too. I'd move

I agree, I have always felt the YO is getting a far better deal than the horse or the owner, they get a horse to use when they want with no risk or outlay and in this case they have even sold the horse to you so know what the benefits are, move somewhere new and start as you mean to go on, the horse is yours now enjoy her but do be prepared for her to be a bit more lively or test you when her workload decreases.
 

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
I agree, I have always felt the YO is getting a far better deal than the horse or the owner, they get a horse to use when they want with no risk or outlay and in this case they have even sold the horse to you so know what the benefits are, move somewhere new and start as you mean to go on, the horse is yours now enjoy her but do be prepared for her to be a bit more lively or test you when her workload decreases.

I'd love for her to be more lively - she's the most 'relaxed' (I actually mean lazy) mare I've ever encountered. She's the most relaxed HORSE I've ever encountered!
 

sarcasm_queen

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 December 2010
Messages
340
Visit site
Number 6 sounds very familiar...

Some working livery contracts work brilliantly, others just seem to be a way for the YO to make more money without losing any of the benefits of the horse being theirs. Very much sounds like your contacts falls into the second group.
 

be positive

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 July 2011
Messages
19,396
Visit site
I'd love for her to be more lively - she's the most 'relaxed' (I actually mean lazy) mare I've ever encountered. She's the most relaxed HORSE I've ever encountered!

Well that will be a bonus then, she is probably fed up with doing lessons and a break will do her the world of good.

One yard I taught at had a working livery whose owner used to book a lesson so she could give him a rest for that hour, not really fair on her but he was doing far too much as he was a reliable horse.
 
Last edited:

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
Number 6 sounds very familiar...

Some working livery contracts work brilliantly, others just seem to be a way for the YO to make more money without losing any of the benefits of the horse being theirs. Very much sounds like your contacts falls into the second group.

It sounds like it :( It's such a shame as the yard staff are lovely and they care for each horse like it's their own. It's just the YO really. :(
 

DirectorFury

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 February 2015
Messages
3,342
Visit site
Move to another, better, yard. Life's too short to put up with ***** and badly run yards. Working livery only works when expectations of YO and horse owner are clearly communicated up front which has obviously not happened in this situation.
 

neddy man

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 June 2013
Messages
2,889
Location
south yorkshire
Visit site
You do not mention horse or 3rd party insurance, i hope this is included on the RS policy (by law they have to have insurance), if not your policy may be invalid please check both carefully.
 

Goldenstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 March 2011
Messages
46,503
Visit site
Dredging back into my memory working liveries worked three hours daily paid tuition with the owner riding counted towards the total as did staff lessons .

I would get out of there .
 

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
Move to another, better, yard. Life's too short to put up with ***** and badly run yards. Working livery only works when expectations of YO and horse owner are clearly communicated up front which has obviously not happened in this situation.

I was hoping the contract would include those terms. The yard makes a big deal about being BHS approved, and BHS says that you need to define working livery expectations in the contract, so I was surprised not to see anything in there.
 

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
Dredging back into my memory working liveries worked three hours daily paid tuition with the owner riding counted towards the total as did staff lessons .

I would get out of there .

I found a lovely yard today, very professionally run, lovely stables and with a very clear contract. It's a bit gut-wrenching that I have to move her from working livery to full livery (DIY isn't an option for me) but that's just horse ownership, I guess.
 

Toby_Zaphod

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 August 2005
Messages
9,279
Location
Midlands
Visit site
You'll be well out of the riding school, they are taking the mickey out of you & using your horse whenever they want. The contract with them should have everything in it but it obviously doesn't. Take your horse to another yard & enjoy her. :)
 

Sugar_and_Spice

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 June 2012
Messages
5,245
Location
the North
Visit site
YO's make or break a livery yard IME. I also believe it doesn't work when you buy a horse and keep it on the same yard it's already on, always ends up with people commenting how the previous owner didn't do things this way or that way etc, and if the previous owner is around a lot of them seem to find it hard to let go and accept the horse is no longer theirs. When you move to a new yard you move there as horse and owner without any previous history. Your riding school owner was definitely taking the pee. You could always consider getting a sharer if you wanted to, now you're off working livery. Also some yards offer part livery, it's not always a choice between DIY or full livery. Good luck at your new yard.
 

zaminda

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 August 2008
Messages
2,333
Location
Somerset
Visit site
I know other people who have bought horses to keep on working livery on the yard they bought them from. It has never worked, as YO continues to treat them as their property. Have you got the passport? Good luck with moving, and you could always find a sharer if she does need more work!
 

nessie19

Member
Joined
17 April 2016
Messages
20
Visit site
Thank you so much to everyone for your responses! I do have her passport as well as a bill of sale (which I drew up myself and insisted they signed!). I've given notice and we'll be moving soon :) :)
 

Tiddlypom

Carries on creakily
Joined
17 July 2013
Messages
22,545
Location
In between the Midlands and the North
Visit site
Glad you're moving, it's clearly not working out as it should be for you.

I will say that when I got back into horses as an impecunious and time poor young adult, I kept my new horse as a working livery. It worked well but there was a very clear agreement in place. The RS could use him for 2 hours per day, and up to 10 hours per week. I could ride him for one hour per day.

He was happy enough, and very fit! I got him out of working livery as soon I as could afford it, though. I wanted him for myself. It hadn't done him any harm, though, he went on to get to Medium dressage with me and to win several RC ODE's.
 

Arzada

Well-Known Member
Joined
10 April 2012
Messages
2,441
Visit site
Thank you so much to everyone for your responses! I do have her passport as well as a bill of sale (which I drew up myself and insisted they signed!). I've given notice and we'll be moving soon :) :)
Well done on finding a new yard. I hope you'll both be happy there.
 

Deltaflyer

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 September 2014
Messages
776
Visit site
I lasted all of two months keeping my boy on working livery. You're doing the right thing moving your horse.

I never felt I bonded with Sam until I had him all to myself. I was just another person that rode him as far as he was concerned.

I got fed up with arriving at pre-arranged times only to find they were using him because one of the school horses had become unavailable or they'd simply not read the messages I'd written in the diaries.

Also, I wasn't happy with the calibre of riders they were putting on him bearing in mind although a little saint, he was very green and the last thing he needed was very novice riders who couldn't help him when he was unsure. It caused me a lot of issues the main one being his hatred of going in the school as he'd got utterly fed up with only mainly being ridden in the school. I discovered afterwards that he'd also been used for XC lessons, something that wasn't mentioned specifically by the YO and something I would never have allowed. I didn't like him being used for jumping lessons either. I also got fed up with them never using the clean saddle cloths I left for him and he ended up with lumps under his saddle area and they never cleaned his tack even though it was part of the agreement.

Having said all that, I couldn't fault the general care he received.

My yard did however, have a written contract outlining how many hours per day WLs are used for and that they would contribute half the shoeing costs (they don't do that anymore).

After experiencing WL, I'm afraid I would never have a horse on that type of livery again.
 

McFluff

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 April 2014
Messages
1,793
Visit site
Glad that you found a new yard. Good luck.

You are right to want to be clear about expectations. I know of a yard that does working livery very well, but expectations are clear, care is fantastic and it all just seems to work - for horse, school and owner. Without that clarity I can imagine things can go wrong quickly.
 
Top