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Livery - part livery, problems and responsibilities


For the past year a friend has kept her 3 with us, and it's worked out really well on a DIY livery basis - we help each other out, we're really similar, have the same ideas and it's all been great.

BUT - she's now moving on because the field she bought ages ago is finally ready, and I want to do DIY again.  Another friend has approached me because she wants to get a pony for one of her daughters.  The problem is that she's really not connected with the real world and seems to expect that she can manage this pony with her 9 year old doing the pony at weekends and her 11 year old coming down every now and then in the week.

This isn't going to work because we restrict the grazing in winter to day time only to save the paddocks.  Plus, I'm not at all happy to have children under 12, unsupervised who worst of all know nothing about ponies, trying to keep everything going.  I have tried to explain this to her, but really haven't got anywhere.

I really think she would be best off having me do the pony in the week, and the children (supervised by her) at the weekends.  I haven't offered this sort of livery before, so what I would like to know is what do people get for part livery?  I thought I could tell her that I will do it on this basis or not at all.

Do you think I am being horribly hard hearted?  I worry that if she doesn't have this poor  pony with me, she will get it stuck in a field somewhere where at best they will limp on, and at worst the poor thing will actively suffer.  BUT I'm really not prepared to have unsupervised kids around - my own 10 year old is only allowed to be around animals that I've been around first so I can check them out, but he's a sensible kid and has a real feel for animals, and I'm always around when he's with them, but I wouldn't let my little one around anything.  EEK!  Sorry, this is turning into a bit of a moan.  If anyone has any ideas on what else I could suggest to her, I really would be grateful.  I just don't want it turning into one of those awful fraught things.

 


I appreciate it won't be easy, but the best thing to say to this woman is NO and then find a livery owned by an adult who knows his/her way round the responsibilities of owning horses. Otherwise (and oh how this is the voice of experience) you will end up as unpaid groom and babysitter because you can't walk away from a pony that is hungry/thirsty/cold, you will end up dealing with farrier and vet. and you will still get moaned at if anything - ANYTHING- goes wrong.
Alternatively, charge full livery as I promise you will be doing all the work anyway.
The last time I got caught like this, she even sold the horse and the first thing I knew was when the lorry turned up to collect it. And me with a horse that could not BEAR to be alone.
I could write a book about it!!!!

If you took it on DIY you would end up doing all the work and probably providing the feed as well
Do you really want someone can't share with?

If you really don't want to say no,  I would make sure that you include all feed, hay, bedding in the price and charge a realistic fee for the work you will be doing.
I include feeding, turning out, mucking out, and getting in - I don't include grooming or tack cleaning. I organise worming and farrier but both are charged at cost.  It seems to work out well with all the essentials catered for.
It would be worth getting a contract drawn up and emphasise no unaccompanied children.

A last thought is that if she has no home lined up for the pony, will she buy it in the first place?


I would offer Part Livery only - I pay 360 / month, but have good facilities.

350 5 day part livery to inc 6.30am feed, rug change, turn out, bring in, 4.30pm feed, 10 pm hay and night check.  Feed, hay and 1 bale shavings per week included.  My horses (2) have a field of their own which is looked after by yard.

This is however DIY at weekends as they can't find staff and go to shows themselves then.  Most on this deal seem to get on with it or share am and pm shifts so only making one and not three trips a day!  At weekends they still get their 6.30am feed by the yard owners so as not to break their routine too muck - it's then up to you whether you get up and turn out early or wait and then ride or whatever...

They charge extra for "nursing" ie bandaging a sick / injured horse and holding for farrier if required.

We have indoor school, indoor walker, one large rubber school and one sand school and excellent hacking just for us.
 

Thanks everyone for your help.  I do already have a contract that I drew up with my friend with the 3, so I thought I should get the one with the pony-to-be over to coffee and go through the contract with her line by line so she understands exactly what she will get getting in to.  Can't see her little ones wanting to poo pick every day in our cold and windy field, which is in the contract... as is no unaccompanied children.

I have already told her that if I bring in/turn out etc I WILL charge her for it because I have to make my living, but I just don't think this has gone on board.  I think the suggestion of not taking them on unless it's on a full or part-time basis is a good one, so I am going to have to be tough, as you all say, and make sure we get everything laid out at the outset.  This is hard, because I hate confrontation and can be a terrible wimp (although the builders who chucked chain link fencing into our field this week wouldn't agree, but that's another story....)

I am amazed at what you have to pay for part livery - round here (Northants) it's around 35-40 (150pcm) for part, and 80 (345pcm) for full - maybe I should attach our yard to one of those huge trailers and tow it down to the south-east!
 
Sounds like this could turn quite nasty.  I agree you could end up unpaid groom and babysitter, plus if one of the children did get hurt you could get the blame.  On our yard no one under 15 is allowed on their own without adult supervision.  I pay 1.25 for turn out, which in the winter includes giving breakfast (already made up) rugging up and turn out at approx 7am. 1.00 for bringing in when gets dark so time varies. Skip out and evening feed and hay net (again already made up) 4.00.  So for full livery in the week works out at 6.25 per day on top of 75 rent per  month.

Unless you come to some agreement like this you could be put upon, as most caring people wont leave a starving cold horse through winter and a lot of other people rely on this. I had to move yard because of this.


I think the really sticky bit is going to come when after I've sat her down and gone through everything she needs to do, and she's STILL saying "Oh yes, I can do all that," that when I say "But I still think part or full livery is the only way forward," what I'm really saying is I don't believe her.  Whoopee.  I'll let you know how it goes - think I have to work this morning, but hopefully tomorrow we can get something sorted out.

We share fields with somebody who is entirely reliable (well, strictly speaking, she shares the fields with us, because she has the tenancy and we sub-let from her). I do not think I would wish to share fields with anybody who is anything less than 100% reliable and dependable, for all of the reasons stated above.

If this woman has not yet acquired the pony, may I suggest that first of all you invite her to do what we did for our friend before we acquired our first horse? Invite her and her children to spend this winter helping you with your chores etc. (the deal is you provide tuition in horse care and management; they provide their time and effort). Then, in the spring, you can start discussing with them the options for obtaining a pony of their own and moving it in. By then they will KNOW what each of the things involves, and you will know whether you really can depend upon them getting it right (under your guidance, obviously) or not.

Also, from our friend's hard practical experience, make sure that any contract you have drawn up includes a requirement that they observe whatever worming routine you wish to impose. It is more than frustrating if there is someone on the yard who will not worm at the same time and with the same wormer as everyone else, if there is no contractual requirement that they do so.
 
Thanks very much for this - yes, there is a requirement for worming at the same time, and keeping in for 48 hours afterwards.  Also in my contract is poo picking! - I am completely manic about poo picking the field and have decided that the next new thing in the contract will be a 10 charge on everyone if I have to poo pick all the time.  Not entirely sure how I will enforce this, however - maybe wheeling barrows of poo round to the front door so I can check them?  Date stamped poo?  Had better stop before I get completely carried away.
 

The yard we are at is quite strict about everything - most of it is common sense really.  We had an 11 yo girl come on the yard with a very green pony (novice owner +novice pony = well u no what!).  Any road, it seems at the place before where they kept this pony, they would perhaps visit it twice a week!  It was a real shock to them to come to this yard and realise it was a requirement to visit every day, muck out, keep things tidy etc, check on the pony's well being even if not ridden.  They really struggled.  Would not get lessons for the kid, who ended up in some dangerous situations, and just couldn't comprehend that this animal needed time spent on it.  The parents never came to the yard to help her unless she was ill, and never supervised her while she was riding.  She had to muck out and do everything herself.  She never took any advice either - seemed to know it all.  I would be very hesitant taking these people on and think you might end up doing quite a lot yourself.  Fine if a: you have the time, and b: they will pay for the extras you are doing.  If either of these do not apply then don't take it on.  A friend ended up looking after a girl's horse for a year for nothing because she was too kind hearted to say anything.  You have to look after yourself, or who will look after your neds?  Very difficult I know
 

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