The mine field that is livery yards can be split into some simple terms, so here goes!
Grass livery: where you rent a field from someone or a space in a field if the field is massive. This works very well for the summer and is a handy way of keeping costs down, however if the field doesn’t have shelter, this can be harsh on your horse. Make sure that you have a durable type of horse (rather than a dainty ex racehorse!) if this is the choice you make. Bear in mind that you still need to pay for hay, bedding, a stable (if there is no shelter) and any feed or extras you would like to have for your lovely horse.
DIY – Do It Yourself: this livery means that you pay for a stable and they have turn out (if applicable to the yard) but that you do it all, so you bring your horse in, turn it out, brush it, faff with it basically. If you would like help this will be an extra costs – each yard is different but on average it is about £3 a job – you will be expected to pay for your own bedding and hay and feed. You may have to get specific bedding and hay, as applicable by the yard. Some don’t like shavings on their muck heaps for example.
Part Livery – this is mainly where you get help one end of the day – so if you are doing your horse in the morning, mucking out and putting them out in the field – the yard staff will help you to bring them in in the afternoon, it may cost you more for the small jobs of rug change overs or washing off legs. This depends on the yard completely. You will be expected to pay for your own bedding and hay and feed. You may have to get specific bedding and hay, as applicable by the yard – see DIY for why!
Full Livery – this is where everything is covered under your cost. Some livery yards allow riding to be included in that price as well – so for example, you might pay £100 for hay, bedding, horse being looked after both ends of the day and then you have to pay additional for your own feed, vet bills and farrier.
Those are the basics for what the breakdown of livery yards are. Different yards have different expectations for what each package includes, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you say yes – it can be a fright if your budget doesn’t fit your first invoice!
Bear in mind that wherever you go – you will be expected to pay your farrier, vet bills and feed additional.
Extras that some livery yards include in packages, but not all are putting your horse on and off the horse walker, changing rugs, washing off legs, changing bedding for you, cleaning tack, holding your horse whilst the farrier does their shoes, hanging a new hay net for night or day, taking your horse to and from the field, turning your horse out and bringing them back the wood shavings turnout, lungeing, riding, brushing off your horse, cleaning rugs!
Remember that a livery yard is someone’s business so getting something for nothing isn’t really in their thoughts – if you play nice, it tends to pay off!
Happy horse owning!