Not On My Yard - Do's and don't at a livery yard
Hi everyone, my names Tayah and I’m delighted to be a part of Tottie this year as one of their #Select17 girls! I’m 19 years old and am currently based in the South Leicestershire area where I live and work. Horses are a huge part of my life and I have been riding since I was 8 years old, I currently have a beautiful gypsy cob mare called Arabella who I’ve had for the best part of 2 years now. We are mostly just happy hackers but this year we are hoping to get out and about a little bit and try our hand (and hoof) at showing.
As some of you may or may not know, my family and I run a small DIY livery yard on the farm that we live on. We have a total of nine horses split between four owners (three of those horses belong to my sister and I!) so it’s a fairly close knit “community” up here! However, just because it is a small friendly yard, it doesn’t mean that it is without rules. All yards should have a set of rules in place as standard. This doesn’t mean to say that the yard should be ruled with an iron fist and all enjoyment is forbidden, no, it's to ensure that order is maintained at all times and accidents and fallings out are kept to a minimum.
You tend to find that on bigger yards, you have bigger personalities and multiple large personalities have a tendency to clash. Whether it’s the way we muck out, what we feed our horses or how many times a week we ride - we all have a preference in the way we go about these activities and when somebody else interferes with our routine, things can get a little hairy! We don’t always 100% agree with everything everybody else says, after all, we’re only human. But a difference in opinion is where it should end. Never try and force your beliefs onto someone else, it's rude, it's obnoxious and it makes you look a bit of a wally! There’s nothing wrong with offering advice but if they don’t want to accept it, just leave it at that. Understand that people do things differently.
Occasionally you will get a certain type of livery on your yard. He/she will mostly likely believe that they are a horsey God and that their way is the ONLY way. If you’re not doing it their way then you are doing it wrong, they’d like to believe that their equine is stations above your own and that therefore if their horse is better than yours then they must also be better than you. No. Definitely not. We have horses to have fun, we want to enjoy our time at the yard and enjoy the people we meet up there, after all a livery yard is a great place to meet new friends.
It is important to know that when you step on to a yard, you are equal to the people around you. Nobody should be favoured over another individual and you should all be treated with a mutual respect. Treat each other as you would want to be treated. Most yards will not tolerate any form of bullying but in some cases the bullying slips under the radar and people suffer in silence. If you have a problem either with another livery or with a certain rule on the yard, go straight to your yard owner! We cannot help you if we know nothing of the situation.
As an example, I have included a basic shortened template of what our yard rules look like. The majority of the rules are aimed at keeping the yard safe and tidy but there are several rules aimed at keeping the yard friendly…
- If you make a mess, clean it up
- If you go through a gate, close it behind you
- Do not leave your horse tied up and unattended
- If you turn the lights on, turn them off
- If you have a problem, contact the YO directly
- Help each other out
- Support and encourage each other
- Only offer advice when you’re asked and deliver in a constructive manner
As long as you stick to your yard rules and you try to be as social as possible with the other liveries, things should run quite smoothly. After all, life is much easier when we all get along! Some of you may have heard of the “Not On My Yard” campaign that was set up back in January 2016 by Samantha Thurlow, Alan Jones and Nicky White also known as Tudor Rose Equines. “Not On My Yard” was the first official anti-bullying campaign from within the equine world and their aim is to raise awareness within the industry that encourages riders of all abilities to go out and try new things and to encourage riders and all those involved within the industry to follow “a code of conduct which demonstrates that bullying of any form will not be tolerated”.
Thousands of equestrians got involved using the #notonmyyard hashtag, posting about their own experiences and supporting each other. Various fundraisers took place during anti-bullying week (14th-18th November) and many top equestrian brands got involved too, including Tottie! By raising awareness, we hope to stamp out bullying and inequalities throughout the entire equine industry, whether it's on livery yards, in the show jumping, racing or dressage world and even in riding schools - there is just no need for it!
Bullying at Tottering Hall Farm (my families livery yard) will not be tolerated and if anyone is caught undermining another livery this will result in an immediate eviction from the yard. Bullying is neither big nor clever and bullies will no longer be entertained. If you or a friend is experiencing bullying within your yard, please speak to your yard owner or yard manager! You would be surprised with what they will be able to help you with. There is absolutely no point in suffering in silence, speak up and stand up for your rights.
Please remember; be confident, be considerate and be careful! We are all in it to have fun, so try not to spoil it for each other!