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Any horse owner only wants what’s best for his or her horse. As much as we’d all love to have our horses home with us, under our watchful eye, this simply isn’t a reality for the majority of horse owners in South Africa. This means we end up putting our horses into livery, trusting the stable managers to keep an eye on our beloved horses when we’re not around.

There are several things to consider when it comes to choosing a livery that suits your and your horse’s needs. This month we help you work through some of those checkpoints, so that you can make the best possible decision for your horse.

 

  • Budget
  • Location
  • Facilities
  • Feeding
  • Discipline
  • Coaching
  • Other services

 

Money matters

Your budget needs to be the very first starting point when it comes to choosing a livery yard. Horses are expensive, accidents can happen, and unexpected costs can come up all the time.

Ask yourself how much you’re willing to spend on your horse per month, and subtract the cost of the farrier, insurance (if you have) and any other routine monthly costs, such as supplements or physiotherapist treatments. Include at least another R500 that can go towards covering the cost of a vet callout fee if the need arises, or towards replacing fly spray, fly masks or grooming items. You will also need to factor in the cost of lessons, depending on what the instructor charges and how many lessons you require in a month. Once you’ve done all the subtractions, you’ll be left with what you can afford to spend on monthly livery.

Ask your personal network of friends for yard recommendations that fit your budget. Only go and inspect a yard that suits your budget, because the last thing you want to do is fall in love with a place you can’t afford. When you go visit the yard, be sure to ask what other costs you can expect besides the livery, such as a grass levy or compulsory supplements. Be honest with the yard manager about what you’re looking to spend, so that you don’t end up with surprises on your monthly bill.

Location

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Make sure that there is sufficient grazing in the paddocks, and look out for extra grass provided

The location of your yard is also important, because you don’t want the yard to be so far away that you can never actually get to your horse, but on the other hand the closer ones might be more expensive. Consider the cost of the petrol it will take you to travel to the yard, and how many days per week you plan to be there. If you want to ride every day, it might be worthwhile to consider the closer yard, if it means you can spare some time and petrol money.

If you’re a competitive rider, you’ll also need to think about the yard’s location in relation to competition venues in the area. If you’re a leisure rider who enjoys hacking out with friends, see if you can find a yard that is close to your friends’ yards, so that it’s easy to meet up for rides together.

Facilities

Once you’ve settled on a budget and an area, you’ll want to pick a yard that best caters to your and your horse’s needs.

The full article appears in the April issue of HQ (121) > Shop now