Would you stay or would you go!?

alsxx

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Have been at my current place 14 years, we privately rent about 4 acres, with a couple of stables. We had it for a bargain price as the roof had been blown off and so we paid to repair it along with all maintenance in exchange for a low rent. Over the years we've done a lot to to it (it was pretty neglected) and spent a fair old bit in the process. There is no mains electric so again wired up solar and lights. Water supply a bit of a dodgy arrangement coming from an adjoining field, but the landowners don't pay any water bills.

I've just had a rent increase, which after 14 years I'm absolutely not quibbling over and it's still a very good price. However it does put up by a fair amount each month. The stables are ancient, riddled with woodworm and have been patched up as much as is possible; they really need replacing entirely - I need to spend a considerable amount before the winter comes, which I was going to do but now I'm thinking twice. The landowners wouldn't be able to have them repaired/replaced as they don't have the cash flow. I have no other facilities and the hacking is OK but not amazing. Its also a good 15/20 min drive from home, which I know people do but I'm really noticing the cost of diesel going back and forth twice a day. When I add that to the extra rent I wonder if I may as well pay DIY livery and have facilities and less of a journey.

So I'm at a bit of a crossroads of shall I stay, or go. Have started putting feelers out locally for any DIY, or sole use which I doubt would come up. Am I mad to walk away from a sole use place, albeit one that needs quite a lot of money spending on it (and considering the money I have spent on it, must be a few thousand over the years)?
 

Patterdale

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For me it would depend what the local DIY yards were like and what the cost difference was going to be.

Or would subletting be an option? That way you retain the field in case DIY doesn’t work out. OR, is the rent low enough that you could keep it on, but just ticking over and use it only for turnout if needed, so no stable maintenance costs?
 

milliepops

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Very personal decision. How much would you use the facilities that a livery yard might offer? Would there be any drawbacks? E.g. do yards around you offer enough turnout etc? Will you mind sharing space after all this time?

I have 2 on livery and the rest at home .... I would not want to give my spaces up on the yard because for me it's important to have an arena and people around etc. It makes the compromises worth it.
 

meleeka

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If you want better facilities/stables I suspect you will be paying more for them. You are getting a good deal because the land owner doesn’t have to pay anything for the upkeep so it depends if you’d rather do the work yourself or indirectly pay someone else to do it.

Round here, sole use is rarer than hens teeth so if someone has that, they rarely move on.
 

Amymay

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I’d go DIY in your shoes, if the rent has increased to make it financially in-worthwhile.
 

alsxx

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I'm certainly in no rush to find somewhere else; it would need to be the right yard rather than any old place. Facilities would be a huge pro though, with my youngster but also 2 daughters 1 of which is coming off the lead, we have to box to use an arena currently. But equally finding a yard that allows kids will be hard, and a huge pro of where we are is their ability run wild and free 🤣

But equally I am strapped for time, I work full time, 2 kids and then juggling/squeezing everything else in is really hard, so paying extra for the maintenance side to be taken care of would be a godsend. Equally it would have to be somewhere much closer to home to minimise the time and fuel expense too.

I feel a pros and cons list coming on 🤣
 

bouncing_ball

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Depends if you actually have good DIY / Assisted DIY yards closer to home.

I drive 25 minutes each way as that is where the good turnout all year, good hacking, good arenas are.

There are loads of closer yards, but don’t have decent arena, have too rich grass summer, are boggy / limited winter turnout / no off road hacking / off road hacking has nasty roads to access etc.

I would maybe have a chat with your landowner, and explain about the maintenance needed. He might be willing to offset you making the investment against the next 3-5 years rent so he does pay for it, but in stages so not as much direct impact on him.
 

TheHairyOne

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In your shoes Id hold out where you are for the nice summer months and pray your stables survive one more winter. Then in the depths of winter go tour the local yards and check out their fields/turn out situation/yard atmposphere etc.

Having had a look at a fair few yards I dont believe what I am told (unless its from someone I know well who is already there), especially regarding winter arrangements.

Better the devil you know sometimes!

Maybe invest in a small scooter to get to the yard at the times you dont take the children?
 

Annagain

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Would the landowners be open to selling and could you buy if they were? If you're doing all the upkeep anyway you may as well invest in something that could be an asset. It would also be future proofing things a bit as if you have two kids and they both ride, at some point you're probably going to end up with 3 or 4 horses - that all adds up at livery. At least with your current setup it doesn't matter (within reason) how many horses you have.

If that's not viable I'd keep an eye out for something else but not jump until / unless you find the right place.
 

WelshD

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I was in your shoes about 18 months ago and chose to move to a yard, it was an absolute revelation and I wouldn't have gone back to a field. minimal maintenance (the odd screw for a loose hinge here and there so as not to whine to the YO) meant so much more time for my pony and his rider and they came on in absolute leaps and bounds with proper hacking and a good school.

My biggest problem was condensing years of posessions in to a space a few pallets wide at the new yard

I did keep my field on for a couple of months 'just in case' so there was a cost there
 

Hormonal Filly

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For me it would depend what the local DIY yards were like and what the cost difference was going to be.

Or would subletting be an option? That way you retain the field in case DIY doesn’t work out. OR, is the rent low enough that you could keep it on, but just ticking over and use it only for turnout if needed, so no stable maintenance costs?
Definitely depends on what the local DIY is like.. in my area a good DIY yard is like hens teeth and all of them are quite expensive. Most are in all winter, or out a lot but have rubbish facilities. No where is perfect. I’d love a place like yours but would understand I’d need to box out for lessons and such.

Id of thought you’d be better off staying where you are and trailering too and renting out facilities elsewhere, depending how often you use them.. but I have no idea what you’re paying, how many horses you have etc.

If you go to DIY you have to deal with the other liveries too, which for me (although we have 2 lovely liveries I get on well with) can be a pain in the arse.
 

Polos Mum

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I would go an have a look at alternatives, impossible to decide the value of what you have now vs. DIY if you've not seen them or got up to date prices.

Lots around here have increased pricing recently for the change in electric/ feed / staff costs.
 

maya2008

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I couldn’t take my kids on a yard. Too stressful worrying about them going too near someone else’s horses etc. My compromise in a similar situation (we don’t need stables but have no exterior fencing) is to put in what I need but ensure it is movable. So I have the fancy electric fencing, and when we eventually go, it will come with us. Could you put in a couple of mobile stables that belong to you and could be removed if you ever go?
 

Fieldlife

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Freedom to turnout when you please is pretty priceless.
Assuming the land you have is well draining.

I have in past had freedom to turnout as chose, but on low lying clay soil in a wet winter. Horses struggled to walk in the resultant bog, and didnt really want to stay out.
 

Fieldlife

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It’s still better than being on diy with the fields closed for weeks .
Not really, who wants to turn out on paddocks you cannot easily walk in! So deep it sucked shoes off. So dangerous for causing injury etc.

Horses assuming I got them to the field didn’t want to stay out.

I did know it was clay, but was misled that it didn’t get over hoof deep in winter! And then we had a wet winter and mud was quagmire!

Next year, land held until end of January, and was still dry, but I didn’t want to stay once I had found a viable alternative.
 

gallopingby

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So you’ve been able to rent for a good time in return for maintenance and are now considering the cost of relocating as you’ll have to spend more money. If you had your own place you’d still have to do this as well as either have purchased the land etc at £xxxxx per acre Or pay for facilities at the going rate? Sometimes better the circumstances you know!!
 

Cinnamontoast

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Do a list of pros and cons - what facilities do you have compared to what you would have? Do you mind being told when to worm/what to use, when you can/can't turn out etc? How much is it compared to livery and how much is the hay/straw on a yard?
 

alsxx

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Wow so many replies, thanks all, lots to think about! As I say, I'm not jumping to move but rather weighing my options and it's good to get other perspectives too.

So you’ve been able to rent for a good time in return for maintenance and are now considering the cost of relocating as you’ll have to spend more money. If you had your own place you’d still have to do this as well as either have purchased the land etc at £xxxxx per acre Or pay for facilities at the going rate? Sometimes better the circumstances you know!!
It's not all about the money, that's more the push that's making me reconsider as it makes it less worth the hassle. If I had my own place the cost wouldn't be an issue, and frankly I'd have had new stables and attempted pp for a school by now. But a combination of lack of facilities, time travelling, faff makes the option of a yard quite appealing to a time strapped mum that wants us all to spend more time riding/less time repairing things. For what I have, I'll now be paying market rate I'd say, so for market rate I'd rather pay more (than I am currently) and have better facilities, but the rest has to make it worth my while.

Freedom to turnout when you please is pretty priceless.
This is a definite perk of staying, granted.

I couldn’t take my kids on a yard. Too stressful worrying about them going too near someone else’s horses etc. My compromise in a similar situation (we don’t need stables but have no exterior fencing) is to put in what I need but ensure it is movable. So I have the fancy electric fencing, and when we eventually go, it will come with us. Could you put in a couple of mobile stables that belong to you and could be removed if you ever go?
Haha that would be hard, and another upside of staying put! Mobile stables are a good suggestion, the problem is no where is really suitable to place them unless tearing down existing stables and putting them there, and I'd need to investigate that as I'm sure they would expect whatever replaced them to stay, otherwise I guess I'm potentially devaluing their land.

I was in your shoes about 18 months ago and chose to move to a yard, it was an absolute revelation and I wouldn't have gone back to a field. minimal maintenance (the odd screw for a loose hinge here and there so as not to whine to the YO) meant so much more time for my pony and his rider and they came on in absolute leaps and bounds with proper hacking and a good hacking
I hear you, this is what is so tempting. I have a 4 year old who I want to really focus on, as well as 2 girls that ride, it really is either or. I can't ferry back and forth and it's either I go along and ride and the kids don't, or they ride and I don't. Life really does get in the way to make anything more impossible. So the thought of finding a yard closer to home (if and a big if) means it would be easier to pop back and forth. And facilities in the winter would be amazing.
 

dorsetladette

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Can you not speak to the land owner about the increase and the amount you had planned to spend on the stables etc.

Along the lines of 'as you can see the stables are in need of some repair before the winter comes, I've priced up the materials to do this and they come to X i was planning on paying for this myself but as the rent has increased I'm going to struggle to cover this myself. Could we come to some arrangement that I either have reduced rent for X months to cover the materials?'

If landlord says yes to this it sets a precedent for future jobs that need to be done. Or he'll just put the rent back to the same and leave to status quo as is.

I don't see the diesel cost being reduced by being on a DIY yard unless there is one at the end of your road or you start paying for assistance, which i recon will probably out way the savings.

I'd honestly stay put unless you really need facilities. But this comes from someone who doesn't 'do' people at the best of times. And the politics of yard life would just stress me out to much. Been there, got the T-shirt, burnt the T-shirt and definitely not risking doing it again.
 

alsxx

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Would the landowners be open to selling and could you buy if they were? If you're doing all the upkeep anyway you may as well invest in something that could be an asset. It would also be future proofing things a bit as if you have two kids and they both ride, at some point you're probably going to end up with 3 or 4 horses - that all adds up at livery. At least with your current setup it doesn't matter (within reason) how many horses you have.

If that's not viable I'd keep an eye out for something else but not jump until / unless you find the right place.
No not at the moment sadly. I currently have 3 and 6 sheep there, although the sheep are fattening so not a permanent fixture... I'd love to buy it as then I would happily do what is needed as it would be an investment, currently its someone else's.
 

Fjord

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I think your answer is really going to be determined by what DIY yards you can find in your area. Have a look around first or post on local groups and see what's available. Good luck, it's stressful even thinking about moving!
 

Rocky159

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Stay where you are!! I’ve just come back into horses and previously always rented sole use/almost sole use of varying quality and loved it. Can’t put a price on being your own boss. This time round no sole use about. Had to go on livery. What a nightmare. Did all my research but they never tell you everything. First yard very lax and free for all to the point of being dangerous. Second yard where ‘nice’ YO turned out to be power-crazed bully with chronic OCD and lots of new ‘friends’ who were anything but. What you have is priceless and should not be given up lightly, even if you have to think outside the box to keep making it work for you! 😊
 

alsxx

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Stay where you are!! I’ve just come back into horses and previously always rented sole use/almost sole use of varying quality and loved it. Can’t put a price on being your own boss. This time round no sole use about. Had to go on livery. What a nightmare. Did all my research but they never tell you everything. First yard very lax and free for all to the point of being dangerous. Second yard where ‘nice’ YO turned out to be power-crazed bully with chronic OCD and lots of new ‘friends’ who were anything but. What you have is priceless and should not be given up lightly, even if you have to think outside the box to keep making it work for you! 😊
Lol obviously my 14 years away has made me forget all the livery yard antics! No I do remember, and hear about it too! I do miss company though. If the right yard is out there at some point in the future who knows 🤷‍♀️
 

I'm Dun

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Leave. I just gave up a yard very similar sounding. I went from 3 horses to 1 and I think I'm probably saving about £50 a month in actual bills, but would be loads in not travelling out to school hires etc. But I have a school, there's little competitions held on site, people around, someone else to do the maintenance etc.
 
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