Equestrian Needs Ltd


Once you have identified the type of livery you require, finding facilities to suit you and your horse’s needs can be time consuming and fraught. The best way is generally by word of mouth but many good liveries are available locally, so you should also check local publications and stored along with websites for advertising.

When selecting a yard, there are a number of aspects to consider.


You may choose to locate your horses near your home or perhaps near to your workplace depending on from where you will most often be travelling. You should consider how long it will take you to travel particularly if traffic increases during rush hour which is also generally feeding time.

Weather conditions are also an important factor, a rural location may be fabulous during the summer months but may require a 4x4 to reach during the winter months.


Your horse is both precious to you and valuable therefore safety and security are paramount.

Some yards are BHS approved which means they run annual inspections to ensure that your yard is in top condition. If you are a livery yard and would like to be approved, you can read more about the scheme here

BHS Approval Pack
Estimated Size: 1.6MB

The livery yard should have sufficient insurance in place. As a minimum, Public Liability Insurance is recommended as this type of policy provides cover for any injury to any person entering the premises and also provides cover for any damage caused by horses to a third party.

Fire procedures should be visible along with any fire safety equipment. Smoking should be prohibited. Many stables are made of wood or have wooden doors and frames and along with bedding and hay, a fire can start easily and spread rapidly.

First Aid equipment for both humans and animals should be available to be able to deal with injuries quickly. Medicines should be stored appropriately and particularly attention paid to substances such as regumate which can be very harmful to pregnant women.

Livery yards due have obligations under Health and Safety and more details can be found here

H&S Guidance for Riding & Livery
Estimated Size: 1.51MB


Many yards experience theft of equipment and occasionally horses. Points to look for include

  • Good fencing and gate security particularly if the yard is road facing.
  • CCTV cameras and visible deterrents
  • Is there someone on the premises at all times?
  • Is there somewhere secure to lock your tack and equipment? Items are sometimes “borrowed” in livery yards and not returned.

Turnout policy

Turnout policies can vary and include shared, rotated, turn out on alternate days or very restricted.

  • Paddocks are often shared and are sometimes segregated by gender. It is important that agreeable horses are mixed to reduce the possibility of injury and that more vulnerable horses are not subjected to the field bullies.
  • If you plan to have your horse live out, the grazing should have shelter and a water supply.
  • Fencing should be secure and robust enough to withstand attacks by horses who have little respect for boundaries.
  • Regardless of the availability of turnout, paddocks should be well maintained, poo picked regularly, rotated to avoid poaching and regularly checked for ragwort.

Value for Money

You will have your own requirements with respect to the facilities to be provided and the key is to find the yard most suitable for your individual needs. If you do not require many facilities, you may be spending more than is necessary for what you use.

Facilities on offer may include

  • Outdoor arena (including floodlights)
  • Indoor school
  • Lorry parking
  • Rug washing and drying facilities
  • Horse walker
  • Gallops
  • Wash boxes
  • Off road hacking
  • Solariums
  • Therapy facilities such hydrotherapy pools
  • Cross country fences

Whilst some may be included, there may be an additional charge for others. Some may also be available all the times whereas others, such as the arenas may need to be booked.

It is also important to consider what other costs are not included in your bill to ensure you budget appropriately, such as:

  • Standard vet visits, vaccinations, teeth checks
  • Farrier
  • Worming programme
  • Feed, forage and bedding

Rules & Regulations

Some yards operate a number of policies and what can begin as a minor inconvenience may escalate to a major annoyance so it is best to check your understanding beforehand. There should be a clear written policy to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Visiting times, is access to the yard restricted during particular times?
  • Presence of children and their supervision
  • Are horses with vices permitted? How are they managed? (box walking, crib biting, windsucking and weaving) Whilst it is not proven that stable vices are passed through watching another horse, there can be strong views.
  • Bedding policies. Some yards will provide their own bedding which is included in the cost, if this is not suitable for your horse, say for example, due to allergies, what alternatives are acceptable and is there any additional cost?
  • Are new horses isolated? It can take up to 3 weeks before some respiratory diseases become evident. During this time, horses should be in separate airspace with separate mucking out, grooming and cared for by different people or after others.
  • Since July 2009 the owner or main keeper of a horse is responsible for ensuring it is correctly identified which means in practice that the livery yard manager should hold your horse’s passport, you can find more information here

Don’t be afraid to visit several yards until you find the right one. Chat to other, you may spend a lot of time in each other’s company so it is best if you can all get along. Some yards operate a waiting list so you may not be able to move to your yard of choice immediately.

Good luck with your search!

Last Updated: March 2012