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What to look for in a livery

The livery yard visit

Visiting prospective livery yards

Hopefully, you’ve been able to use Livery Finder’s search facilities to narrow down your search to a few possible yards and have arranged to visit them. Make sure that you arrive on time and suitably dressed. You will want to be able to visit all areas of the yard and therefore ensure that you have a warm coat and wellies with you to allow you access all corners of the yard in comfort. Even if you leave your jacket in the car it’s always worth bringing as exposed sites can be cold even on a warm day.

Take your checklist and a pen to write down details that the yard owner may give you along with your initial impressions to allow you to compare yards later. If you want to take photos, always ask permission and don’t be offended if they refuse as this is to protect the security of the horses and tack on the yard.

Areas to visit on the yard, what to look for and what to ask

Look at:
  • Are they large and airy?
  • Do the stables look be big enough for your horse to turn around and lie down?
  • Are they well drained and ventilated?
  • Do they look clean and well kept?
  • Is the area around the stables well swept?
  • Is there enough space to groom your horse?
  • If a horse is the stable during your visit, does it look to have enough hay?
  • Does the hay and haylage storage area look clean and regularly maintained?
  • Is it clean in the feel room? (Remember:spilt food and vermin go together.)
  • Are the beds of sufficient depth?
  • Which stable will your horse be in?
  • Do you have a choice of bedding options?
  • What type of muck out regime is used? i.e. deep litter vs full dig out
  • How often are the beds skipped out per day?
  • Can the hay be fed form the floor, haybar or haynet?
  • How often do the horse get hay refills?
  • What is the feeding regime, i.e. how many times a day, on what and are there any restrictions on brand?
  • If DIY, are you allowed to buy in your own forage, bedding and feed, or do you have to buy from the yard or yards supplier? If you have to buy from the yard, check the quality on offer before you move your horse there.
  • Are there any extras you’ll need to buy yourself?