There was a livery meeting on Wednesday night. I was impressed with the owner – she presented a very well thought through, interesting and involving session on the current state of the business and the changes she plans to put in place to turn things around.
She gave a break down on how much it costs her to livery our horses and showed why she needs to bring in new business to fill the gap that riding school was supposed to fill. That was really interesting, seeing it broken down to how much each individual thing costs per horse, per day, even down to the water bill, etc.
She outlined which staff were staying and which going, and gave us her reasons for deciding who to keep on, all of which were fair.
She has some future plans which include a little shop selling hoofpicks etc. and equestrian wear, which sounded quite good, should she get permission to go ahead, but the most immediate plan will be the introduction of a doggy-daycare with a canine hydrotherapy unit. As my horse is not bothered by dogs I don’t have a problem with this idea, but unfortunately the little stable block I share with the teens is the one place where she could house that venture. I had heard that rumour on the grapevine but it was confirmed at the meeting.
When I heard the rumour a few days ago I headed round the yard checking out the empty stables. There is one that, because of the arrangement of the buildings, is tucked around the corner so that the horse is looking out onto a brick wall and can’t see anything else. That one is empty. Anywhere but there, I thought, because the wooly boy is so firm in his opinion that any sound outside must be looked at. He doesn’t fuss about machinery, clippers and that sort of noise as long as he can have a calm look at it and then go back to his hay. I don’t tie him up in the stable to groom or pull his mane because if he can’t look out, any noise worries him. If he can look calmly out then he’s fine with just about anything happening on the yard, but I’d hate for him to be stressing about sounds he can’t see all day every day, so any stable but that one.
So when she confirmed that my block would indeed have to move into different stables I was worrying about that one. She mentioned 3 large stables that she wanted the 3 largest horses in of the 5 affected (i.e. not me) and said the others would probably go one on the main part of the yard (which is where the no-view stable is) and one between the scary dressage trainer/dealer of the shiny warmbloods and another rider who I find very intimidating. Oh no! It looked like a choice between him being permanently stressed in the main yard, or me being permanently terrified between these two very professional riders who don’t hesitate to share their opinions of others, not always in an encouraging way. Then she mentioned that if we really didn’t want to be in those places she’d be able to shift the unsold school horses around and put those in the empty places. Phew – there’d be other options. They probably wouldn’t be the most desirable locations, but there would be other options.
After the meeting I approached her and asked her not to put me between the scary people! She said that she’d been thinking I’d be better on the main yard where I’d have support from lots of other riders. Somewhat hesitantly I asked her if she meant the stable facing the wall? “Oh no, not that one!” she said, much to my relief, and showed me on her plan which one she meant. At present there’s another horse in it but he’ll be moving elsewhere and it will be cleaned and painted for me. The one she’d thought I’d like is indeed just what I would like. It’s brick-built, rather than the wood-built block we’re in at the moment, and so it will be much cooler in summer and I’m hopeful that it will be a little more sheltered in winter due to the courtyard shape of that part of the yard. Also my stuff will move into a more secure tack-room. The stable is smaller than the one we were in, but it’s quite big enough and I hope there may be a resultant saving on bedding costs, but that may be wishful thinking. The white painted walls are more welcoming somehow than the wooden stables. The only negative I’ve found so far is that, unlike almost every other stable in the yard, it doesn’t have a tap in the stable (yes, I know we’re spoilt!) so I’ll have to get him a couple of smaller water buckets so I can fill them and move them, as his current one is too heavy for one person to move when it’s full. The nearest tap is only about 3-4 meters outside the stable, so water is not too far away. One of my new neighbours who also hasn’t got a tap said that she prefers it without one because she’s known the taps/pipes to cause flooded stables (and I do know of a horse who broke his tap off once so she may have a point). He will be moved as soon as the new stable’s been cleaned and painted over the next few days, although tack and rugs will not move yet as they want to do some refurbishment of a rug room first as well as needing to get new keys cut and distributed and new spaces in rug/tack rooms assigned and labelled.
So while I’m nostalgic about losing the company of the posse of teens, most of whom will now be scattered around the yard, there are going to be real advantages, including the advice and company of adults. I’ve learnt a lot from the teens and their parents (including learning a few things I don’t want to do with my horse 😉 ) but it will be good to get to know the other adults on the yard better. There’ll even be more for Drifter to see than he has at the moment.
In other news, I’ve given in and had him clipped. Although these aren’t the best pictures I can really see how much he’s filled out since I first had him clipped back in January.