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What are livery stables?

Friday 5th June, 2015

Livery stables are stables that are owned privately and opened up to other horse owners as a place to keep their horse in return for a weekly or monthly fee. Livery yards vary greatly in size and function, not to mention cost, and finding the right one for you and your horse is essential. Most livery stables offer grazing paddocks, fresh water and stabling as standard for horses and ponies, yet others may have additional facilities such as segregated grazing, a ménage for schooling, horse walkers or even built in cross country courses. Many livery yards also provide hay and feed for their stable mates at an additional cost.

The type of livery yard you choose will depend on your schedule, your horse’s needs and your budget. The more assistance you require and the more facilities you would like access to will of course be reflected in the price. Livery yards can be divided into four main categories;

Full Livery

Full livery is the term given to a fully managed yard, where horse owners pay a premium for all their horses needs to be met, including feeding, grooming, mucking out and exercising as necessary. The yard staff are responsible for the horses welfare at all times, with the owner having free access to their horse. In addition to providing secure stabling in which to keep their horse and fresh grazing in which to turn their horse out during the day, full livery often includes bedding, hay and feed supplies. This livery is the most expensive option for horse owners.

Part Livery

Part livery allows the horse owners flexibility in that they can request certain aspects of care for their horse to be carried out, such as feeding, watering and mucking out, whilst they take care of the rest. Horses on part livery are not usually groomed or exercised by the yard staff. This option is particularly beneficial for horse owners who have a busy schedule and may struggle to visit their horse twice a day to attend its needs.

Do it yourself or DIY livery

DIY livery is the most popular option, where yard owners provide the grazing and stabling facilities but the horse owner meets all the needs of the horse, including feeding, mucking out, grooming and exercising. These yards are not usually managed or staffed therefore all responsibility for the well-being of the horse falls solely to the horse owner, making it a much more cost effective stabling solution.

Working livery

Working liveries are usually managed riding stables that offer horse owners a discount in stabling fees in return for allowing their horse to be used in riding lessons. The owner has full access to the horse at all times, but the riding school reserve the right to use the horse for lessons at their leisure. There may be the option of part or full livery within this agreement too, which offers flexibility to busy horse owners.

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