So, I really am quite awful at keeping up to date with my blog. I was doing so well, and then went blind. So I think we can excuse my lack of updates. I’ll try write a few posts to catch up before 2018!
I moved Bonnie yards in September and decided to compile my ULTIMATE CHECKLIST of what I looked for when I was considering moving her (I am happy to report I am the happiest I have ever been at a yard, almost 3 months in).
I think we can all agree that on the basis of picking a yard, two major things must be considered before you even look into ‘luxuries’:
- Can I access the yard easily? (is it too far, can I get public transport, cycle?)
- Can I afford to pay to keep my horse/pony here?
Everyone knows that horses are very expensive animals. These two factors, to me, were the most important when I was looking at the yard I was planning to move to.
Some other questions I asked myself were the following:
- Was the arena well kept? Did they have enough jumps that I could make a course?
This was a big factor in my decision. Lots of arenas are big enough to flatwork in, but making a full jumping course at home is a challenge especially if you are on a green horse (no one wants to end up plonked into the wings just because you needed that extra stride). Having the space and means to do that was a big part for me, since I like to train a lot at home (as it is a lot more cost effective, but you can also set up whatever you please – you aren’t set to someone else’s design). If you are a dressage rider, you may want to consider if you are able to effectively set yourself up a mock arena for practising your tests. A well kept arena is also important – you don’t want a bad surface that will freeze or flood immediately. Absolutely useless in the Irish weather! You want to make sure the people want to look after their yard. If they don’t want to look after and maintain it, chances are the yard won’t be that great in the long run for you or your trusty companion.
- Was there anyone to help me on site if I needed it?
In the case of my health, it is essential for me that should I need Bonnie taken care of, this was available by someone who has the knowledge to care for a horse with her temperament. In my case, it couldn’t have worked out better; Bonnie can be ridden and cared for at an extra expense.
- Was the stable suitable for Bonnie’s needs? Would she be happy in the type of stabling?
Bonnie isn’t bothered much by moving; taking her on holiday so often means she can walk into anywhere and call it home. A big thing for us was that our new barn is an American-type barn, where she would be facing other horses. In the yard she was at previously, she was facing a wall but was able to see outside. We got the selection of two stables; one at the door, where she could overlook the yard and see up to the walker, or one further into the barn that would provide more shelter from the wind and rain. We opted for the room with a view, as we can always rug her up and she is more settled when she can see outside.
- Was anything included in the price I would pay for livery?
More and more yards are switching to complete DIY where you provide your own hard feed, hay, bedding etc, whereas before it was usually a no-brainer that at least your hay got included in the package (at least, this was the case for yards in my area). When we were touring the yard, we made sure to ask what would be included in the price that we were paying.
- How did the turnout work? Was turnout available?
I was going to be moving Bonnie from a yard where there was turnout year-round, in the winter months from 9-12 daily on hardstanding pens and in the fields in summer where plans varied from 9-12, morning-evening or 24/7. Bonnie is a foodie; she ADORES the field. So this had to be a major consideration for the sanity of my horse when moving.
- How does the billing work? Many yards are happy to let you pay your bill when it best suits you (whether that be weekly, every 4 weeks, or monthly); so it was an important question to ask. Was there a receipt given on payment? Keeping a track of each bill date is vital, also are there any additional hidden costs e.g pay to use the arena lights?
All of these questions popped into my brain, and if you are reading this and considering moving, why not add anything I haven’t thought of in the comments below this post?
I’ll see you next time!
Be sure to check out all my social media in the mean time – I even uploaded a new video (I’m on a roll here)
Check out my Rydale BLACK FRIDAY HAUL below: