How to Find the Most Suitable Livery for Your Horse
There are a lot of factors that go into deciding which livery is the best choice for you and your horse. The options may seem overwhelming. How do you know which one is the most suitable for your horse? Choosing the right livery is important to help ensure the well-being of your horse as well as your satisfaction as a rider. This articlewill delve into the specifics of what to consider when searching for a livery and how to pick the best one for you.
Perhaps the biggest factor that goes into picking a livery is cost. Of course, this shouldn’t be the sole factor in your decision because cheaper is not always better. The same goes for expensive liveries as well. You should decide on your monthly budget before you begin your search. The cost should be doable and not impede on your lifestyle, otherwise, it could cause financial strain later on.
Feeding and Grazing Schedule
A quality feeding schedule is one of the keys to keeping your horse in optimal condition.
When you are trying to find the best livery for your horse, ask about and evaluate their feed. How often do they feed? What type of grain and roughage do they feed? Ask to see their hay—is it in good shape? What is the turnout situation like? These are all great questions to ask. Some liveries turn out all of the horses together, some mayselectively group horses together, some may have private paddocks, and some may not turn them out at all. Considerwhat is the best situation for your horse. If your horse is low on the totem pole, they could get bullied if they are all turned out together. In contrast, if they aren’t able to go outside at all, your horse could be more prone to developing an ulcer and could become unhappy. Is your horse more solitary or does he love being in a herd? Knowing your horse’s personality is important to be able to find the best fit for him.
Full-Service Board vs. Self-Care
You might have heard both of these terms while searching for a livery. The definitions are fairly self-explanatory: with full-service, the livery is responsible for all aspects of their care, including feeding, turning themout, mucking their stalls, etc., while with self-care board, you as the owner as responsible for everything. Self-care board may be especially intriguing since it is typically lower in cost. A few things to consider when trying to decide between full-service and self-care are your financial situation and time restraints. If you do self-care, you have to be able to be out there every day to take care of your horse. You also typically have to buy your grain, hay, and beddingyourself. The cost of these can add up quickly, especially if your horse is a big eater, so try to calculate the monthly expense of these items and factor that into your budget.
Self-care can be a great way to bond with your horse and feel like you are more in control of their care, but it is not for everyone.
Liveries can offer lots of great amenities, but you may be wondering: what does my horse really need? It alldepends on what you plan to do with your horse. If you ride your horse every day, a covered or indoor arena would be more suitable for you in case of inclement
weather. If you just like to ride around the field and take your horse on hacks, the livery you pick might not need to have an arena at all. Instead, you may want to consider its location and what the surrounding land has to offer. Otheramenities, like wash racks, grooming stalls, and spacious tack lockers, for example, are commonly offered. Consider how much you plan to use these amenities and what benefit they will provide to you to help aid you in your decision.
Arguably one of the most important factors for finding a suitable livery on this list is the people. Talk to the people that work at and run the livery. See how well you “jive” with them. You are entrusting them with the care of your beloved animal, so it is important to make sure they are trustworthy people that you get along well with. If you plan to take lessons with your horse or put your horse in training, consider whether the livery has an instructor on staff and what their qualifications are. You also might be able to get a good feel of the livery’s atmosphere by talkingto the staff, if it’s a bad place to work (and potentially board), it will probably become evident when chatting with them.
Deciding where to keep your horse is not easy. There are many things to consider in order to ensure your horse’s happiness. Budget, feeding, turnout, what amenities they offer, and how you get along with the people are all factors that go into choosing the most suitable livery for your horse. Already found the perfect livery for your horse? Comment with some tips below for others who are still searching!