Making big decisions…
After owning and caring for my own horses now for *coughs into hand* 35 yrs, the time finally arrived when I had to make a massive decision about Rocky’s future…
I had been at the same yard for 6yrs and was very happy, however a house move and a growth in my coaching meant the distance to travel to the yard was becoming time consuming, a place became available on a yard nearer home and the decision was made to move there with Rocky, however from day 1 Rocky wasn’t truly happy, it was a big busy yard and I know my boy and I knew he was upset, 6 weeks passed and he had settled down, however a second issue now ensued, there were no lights in the school and the dark nights had descended upon us, meaning that the time I had available was spent transferring poop from stable to muck heap and a distinct lack of exercise for Rocky, in fact I had also enlisted the help of a lady on the yard to sort Rocky out when I couldn’t get there as I was so busy coaching or working in our shop, I was seeing Rocky about 4 times a week, if that, making me very unhappy and Rocky turning feral!
My fiancé Dean was being as helpful as possible, with helping muck out while I rode a couple of times a week, but then his own work got busy and I was back to square one, no riding :(
I spent hours mulling over what to do, should I just resign myself to the fact that winter had won the time battle? Should I get a sharer? Should I even *cringes at the thought* sell Rocky? Oh what to do?...
After several sleepless nights, I had a thought… Full livery? After all I was hardly seeing poor Rocky anyway! However, the costs, what would they be? How would it work? Would Rocky be happy? Oh god, here we go again, more decisions….
Dean and I sat down and discussed all the above options, even the selling him one, which was very swiftly put to bed by Dean, apparently that will never be an option! So finally the discussion about full livery was reached, immediately the question was “How much will that cost”? I admit I had already done some figures for what I was currently paying on DIY with help from the lady on the yard and all associated costs with owning a horse, I can tell you that it is a VERY interesting exercise to do, if a little scary!!! Anyway, the cost of what I was already forking out weekly was reached, (you REALLY don’t want to know!) and we discussed potential livery yards.
My criteria was simple, I needed the following:
· Somewhere Rocky would be happy, this was paramount
· Somewhere that I could ride after work, an indoor would be a bonus so I can ride through winter weather
· Somewhere I can use my own Vet/Farrier/Physio etc
· Somewhere I can have as much/little to do with Rocky’s daily routine as required
· Somewhere I can trust the people looking after rocky
So the search began…
After many conversations and pulling of hair, tears and tantrums (!) Dean and I settled upon Castle Farm, in Over Wallop, Vanessa offered everything we needed, and Rocky had been there to compete so knew the venue and always felt happy there.
So on the 18th November after our lesson with Karen at Pepperwood Park, we loaded Rocky up and set off to his new home, his face was a picture when the lorry ramp went down and he saw Castle Farm, as he knows it for competition, and he was tired after his lesson so I can only imagine him saying “what, I’ve just worked my socks off for you and now a competition?!”
Vanessa met us and showed us his new house and field, Rocky was suitably suited and booted and taken to his new field, where he said hi to his new buddy next door, then promptly set out to eat as much grass as possible!
We finished sorting his extensive (!) wardrobe and equipment out, and when finished parked louis (the lorry!) up and set off home, stopping to drop Rocky’s headcollar off at the field gate, where we were greeted with a lift of the head and a look that said “yes, did you want something?” then back to eating, a look that only a horse owner would know! At that point Dean and I said simultaneously “he’s settled straight away” as last time he was running wildly around the field very upset and wanted to come in, not this time, he looked like he had lived there forever!
Being as he was now on full livery, I didn’t need to go back that evening, although I admit I thought about it! I text in the morning to check up on him and Vanessa said “he’s a real character, and had been very good”, so I was happy and a little relieved.
So for you eagle eyed people reading this, you may have noticed that was a week ago the move happened, and I can wholeheartedly say Rocky has been superb, very relaxed and back to being the horse I know he is, his work is picking up and the joy of being able to work him at night is fabulous! Vanessa has taken care of him just the way I would, and for me to say that, it must be good as my standards are incredibly high!!!
Cost wise, it may be slightly higher than DIY for someone who lives close to their yard and can go twice daily without any problems, but seriously peeps, go and write down EVERYTHING including your time, and work out exactly how much DIY really costs, it amazed me!
In the meantime, I shall be found happy and content doing what I love – riding!