Choosing a livery for your horse or pony

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  • Published on Tuesday, May 8, 2018
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Many of you have had to face the fact of having to move your horses ... Professional transfer, follow-up of partner, travel lust, internship, studies, and probably many other reasons. Let's start by concretely and effectively targeting the points that will help you move your horse in the best conditions.

You wish to ride as regularly as possible? Leave your office in your riding gear to go straight to the stable?

Think of a place that will be significantly equidistant from your workplace, and your place of residence. Not great advice you will say!... However, It is easy to be seduced by a lovely livery, where you will feel very comfortable - but that may very quickly take you 30 kilometers away from home! Think of the traffic factor ... Working in town is the daily routine of many riders. You have everything handy, which could be called the bible of modern times: Google associated with Mappy. Not bad for avoiding having to personally undertake long, time-consuming trips.

Of course, as an expatriate, you do not know the name or the reputation of the future place that will accommodate your dear companion. Again, the basic instinct will be to consult Google, with all its suggestions which are more or less reliable. Without mentioning the addresses of stables that no longer exist, or that have changed owners - lack of website updating.

You can chance the word of mouth, by questioning your colleagues, the local garage, or the lady, who in front of you, waits her turn at the supermarket cash register. The one who makes a phone call to a friend, telling her she's totally late to get her daughter at the pony club.

You will still not have your answers to the questions: "Field? Field/Stable? Stable/Paddock? 2 or 3 meals per day? Haylage or hay? Riding arena available? Sand arena watered and harrowed daily? "

You will have to go onto Equirodi! Indeed, many places are listed on the site and will allow you to filter out a certain number of questions. The prices, the facilities offered, the staff, and photos that will help you to decide and plan ahead.

Do not forget, however, that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, especially in terms of feelings.

You will have to make phone calls at each 10-minute break you have in the morning, at lunch and in the afternoon.

Important topics to ask when making phone calls

Equestrian centre or private livery?

Would you prefer a calm place or a lively place...? Do you prefer the privacy and peace of a private livery, or the excitement of an equestrian center? The private livery will easily offer a personalized welcome.

Type of accommodation (field, stable, both….)

Either you will focus on the easiest solution for your horse with stable & paddock accommodation or you will opt for mostly outdoor accommodation. This can make your life easier somewhere along the line, if you cannot come to ride regularly. In any case, stable/ paddock accommodation must include a number of outings to the paddock each week. The stable must be a minimum dimension of 3mx3,5m ...

Discipline predominantly practiced

Except for in equestrian centers, where versatility is often required, a private livery will probably have a specific discipline. According to that you will know if this discipline will be suitable for your own activity. However, consider that you will have a real pleasure in sharing your experiences.

Frequency of meals, hay and stable cleaning

Generally, when a horse lives in a stable he must be fed a minimum of 2 rations of hay and two meals. The livery must be able to offer more, depending on the exercises the horse is doing, and what the owner wants. Also, if your animal needs supplements, this must be taken into consideration and followed carefully by the staff. The stables must be cleaned of a maximum of dung and urine, in a daily manner!

Management of rugs during outings in the paddock

If you want your horse to go out into the paddock with the correct protection, that's perfectly understandable. There should be no additional charges. In the case of rugs, the conditions may be different. Nevertheless, a private livery has fewer horses than a club. This should allow for more comprehensive monitoring. Today, most places belonging to private owners do not require an extra fee for the management of rugs.


You must be able to leave your equipment in situ. This does not necessarily imply that you have the possibility of storing your 15 rugs ... Nevertheless, according to the season, you have to be able to leave everything you need. If possible in a properly ventilated space, and sometimes even, heated. This helps to prevent mold, preserve leather, and keep a good hygiene. In any event, the tack room must be locked at night and during the day when nobody is on site.


Safety is non-negotiable. You are entrusting your horse to professionals, this includes 24-hour surveillance. The diligent professional will notify you of any change noted in your horse.

Size of stables and field

A stable must be a minimum of 3m by 3m. More space will always be a plus. Also, take a look at the locks. Is everything completely secure? Door lock and foot operated latch, height of the door .... 

The paddock dedicated to your horse should allow him to stretch to a minimum. A conscientious team will make sure your horse stays in the same paddock. For health care in the first place. On the other hand, know that a clever owner of an equestrian yard, will ask you to worm your horse the morning of its arrival, and will tend not to leave him out before he is certain that your animal will have been able to expel all its parasites.

Sand arena with lights, inside arena, lunging ring ….

Every place dedicated to the horse and its owner must comply with several safety rules. The height of the quarry's lices, the kicking boards in the indoor arena, the height of sections of the lunging ring... Everything must be designed to guarantee your safety and that of the horses. In this respect, cleanliness must also be rigorous. A ground strewn with dung can tell a lot about the quality of management. The quality of the ground is also to be observed. Drainage must be efficient.

Dedicated farrier

If you are coming from quite a distance, you will probably have to get a new farrier. The owner of the stables will be able to advise you on someone that will shoe your horse. If you have any doubts, if you are advised to change the type of shoe, or that you are told to get a piece of equipment, don’t hesitate to get your new farrier in contact with the previous one. It is an effective way to have a perfect follow-up, without any problems. The professionals can exchange their opinions between themselves and you will have peace of mind.

Care in case of wounds

As part of a full board livery, where your horse is supervised by professionals, it is good that small punctual treatments are proposed. Whether it is about cleaning a superficial wound for a few days, a dietary supplement that needs to be given in the meal, or a cough medicine given if there is a small cough. If, on the other hand, your horse is in a situation where his condition requires more care, every two to three hours ... You may need to turn to a recovery specialist, for appropriate care, or offer an interesting financial contribution to the owner of the stables. The idea is it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Livery contract in due form, with or without prior notice

Today, many equestrian properties are protected against possible disputes with a livery contract. This has the merit of fixing several points, and announcing the rights and duties of each of the parties. In a sense, this is reassuring. You will have to find the rules of procedure in this contract, the services duly noted that are proposed to you, and the points which you will be required not to violate. Increasingly, like real estate contracts, you will be subject to a period of notice if you wish to leave at any point. This is a legitimate way for the owner of the livery to consider a new resident after you leave.

Other places choose to build on trust and mutual respect. To avoid unpleasant surprises, choose to always ask any questions that come to you. It should be noted that the feeling you will have when going to visit the livery will be your first indicator.

A closed and secure space

There is no need to be an outstanding observer to see broken fences, gates in bad condition, or, the opposite, clean fencing, strong fence handles, and sturdy stakes. Also check if there is a busy road nearby. In this case, put yourself in the shoes of a horse, and consider the consequences of an escape. If even in this case (a little extreme, but not impossible), you consider that the catastrophe cannot happen, because the space does not allow to escape on a road, in a wood or any other place ... This is because the layout of the property has been properly thought through.

This list is not complete of course. The comfort of your horse and yourself plus a pleasant atmosphere, is what you are looking for in a place.

Once these points are mentioned by telephone, according to your requirements, and after considering your feelings, think of going for a surprise visit to the places that have caught your interest. In all politeness and without intrusion, walk around and have a good look around you. In what state are the horses? In what state are the stables? Is there light? Is the place clean and ventilated? Try to find someone to be introduced to the owner / manager of the premises.

The best, if you find a place that seems to please you, is to go there a second time. A little zeal does not harm anyone, and details not seen during a first visit could jump out the next time.

The most sensible advice would be to tell you: I take my time. Waiting an extra month to move your horse will not be the end of the world, nor will it change the usual cheerful friendliness of your sweetie.


No place is perfect, but try to target the non-negotiable points you would like to see applied. In this case, prefer a stable where you are assured that your horse is out 4 times a week in the paddock, rather than a structure where you will be promised daily, weekend and public holidays including - knowing perfectly well that a trainee and a groom in a stable of 45 horses will not be able to satisfy these demands.

Note if you are being sincerely questioned about your horse. The owner of a stable makes business, the pensions for horses are a livelihood ... Nevertheless, the ambition of long-term and concerned places, remains above all the well-being and the gentle routine of each horse. The person should ask you about the status of your pet's vaccinations, deworming, the type of food it is used to eating, how it behaves with other horses, humans, possible allergies, the frequency of shoeing ...

The idea of all these points, is not to make you paranoid, but to anticipate not having bad surprises. You were stressed not being with your horse on a daily basis, now that he is going to join you, avoid disappointment, hassle, and get started in your new life with peace of mind.

Find a livery yard for your horse
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