Stables and grazing

Discussion in 'Rural Diversification' started by Mac10, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Mac10

    Mac10 Member

    South East
    I know the horse subject has been done before but I'm after some dos and don'ts!

    I've got 5ac pasture and 5ac newish hay/grazing ley with a fairly modern open fronted barn. As I work off site driving machines for other people I'm looking to maximise what I can get from my patch.

    I'd prefer to rent it to someone starting off in ag with calves etc but sadly I don't for a minute think I could get the £25-30/horse/week for 4 or 5 horses.

    This is really my first foray into the world of horses and horse owners - so for those more experienced in this field than me - any do's/don'ts? how to vet owners? contracts?

  2. wilber

    wilber Member

    I would get a contract drawn up that basically says you can get rid of them as you see fit.
    Try and stick with people you know, or who someone else knows and can give a reccomendation.
    If you live away from site visit often when they are around and tell them to tidy up if they are getting messy.
    Try maximise your money by selling hay/using your tractor/machinery for cleaning or getting rid of muck.

    I'm sure plenty will be along with more helpful advice and others with the usual "dont bother crap".

    Try it, see if it works, try harder or change your ethics if it doesnt. Can always kick them all out if its not working for you long term.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    Janovich, smcapstick and JCMaloney like this.
  3. The hassle isn't with horses (although they are very selective grazers), the trouble comes from the people who come with them.

    Most important thing is an explicit set of rules from day one, and clear sharing of expectations.

    I rent a portion (as little or as much as I like) of a 5 acre field for £18 per horse per week. This includes a free stable, plus fencing and muck disposal, but no feed or bedding.

    The grazing is rough, with no spraying or fertiliser. I'm also at the other end of the country.

    Getting £30 per horse per week in Kent, Surrey or Sussex would probably not be a struggle if you're handy between villages, with decent exercise routes.

    To maximise income:

    • Provide forage and bedding
    • Think about some sort of 'livery plus' system rather than just DIY
    • Secure trailer or tack storage
    • Schooling arena (floodlit)
    • etc
    Still Farming likes this.
  4. 4course

    4course Member

    north yorks
    if you are just offering summer grazing on a diy basis you may not get the reliable type customers. usually those just wanting summer grazing are the fly by nights esp if you dont live within sight of fields, worth trying although think your estimated income is way too low for good grazing esp in the south east the biggest danger is getting some dealer type lass and always insist on payment up front and lock any hay etc up in your barn and beware, weve found the bigger the car posher the accent the more layers of make up the worse they are in paying ,demanding your time /facilities and causing general grief, best of luck having said that we have a fairly large diy stabling grazing set up which has been honed over the years and in general works well but do not let one person exert a power position or take in young unbroken stock or even worse colts
    borderterribles likes this.
  5. Mac10

    Mac10 Member

    South East
    Thanks for the valuable advice! I'm definitely trying to be as prepared as I can be before I start.

    There's a waiting list locally for liverys so should find it fairly easy to fill, so shouldn't be too painful turning away any that I don't like the sound of.
  6. Still Farming

    Still Farming Member

    Glamorgan Wales
    They'll just "use and abuse " wreck your place and move on "catching" you for everything in the process !!!
  7. Fleeced

    Fleeced Member

    There's a big difference between livery and renting a stable and grazing. Livery yards usually offer full / part / DIY livery along with the option to pay for rugging up / changing rugs / mucking out / turn out/ bring in /feed etc as and when required.
    Horsey folk often want somewhere to keep their horsebox / trailer too.

    Lots want all year turn out which trashes the land. Horses are selective grazers and it's useful to have some sheep in with them but lots of horsey folk want to have their dogs with them which brings its own problems. The rule of thumb for horses at grass all year is traditionally 2 acres for the first and 1-2 for each one after. As people learn more about PPID and laminitis that's more debatable and often people will need restricted grazing or 'starvation paddocks' using temporary electric tape.

    Somewhere secure for tack and equipment is needed.

    An open barn would need something done to stable 4-5. They are dangerous in small communal spaces and will kick each other and fight if they can't get away.

    Schedules / policies for worming management are a good idea as is ensuring clients are insured.

    I think you'd need to decide if you wanted to run a livery yard or just offer some grazing with shelter.
    Janovich likes this.
  8. Dry Rot

    Dry Rot Member

    Someone should expolain that Fleeced is referring to the horse owners here. not the horses (I think!;)). At least, that's been my experience.
    Kevm, hindmaist, Grassman and 4 others like this.
  9. @Mac10 , draw up a contract laying down the basic rules & get them to sign it , insist on payment in advance on the 1st of every month . We do part livery & keep their horse passports , at least they can't do a runner with no passport . If you're not happy about something they're doing tell them . Good luck .
    Nearly and JWL like this.
  10. Chasingmytail

    Chasingmytail Member

    Newport, SE Wales
    I have nothing positive to add apart from contracts aren't worth the paper they are printed on, references are meaningless and you must be paid in advance with held deposit (holding money is the only way). We attracted every nasty pastie in the area and after references and promises these ladies changed overnight and brought nothing but trouble to our farm. Rules would need to stipulate the pasture management and be ready for the whole field to be turned into a pissy weedy quagmire (not here but seems the way around this area). Must have good rotation, water in every paddock, electric fence and no barbed wire. Livery is divided up into class, a low class will attract the same (ie no money but have at least 2 horses) and if you want to aim for the middle to high be ready to be on the phone for every moan and request as these people want the world as their horses are their babies. Best of luck its def not easy money. I will never entertain someone else and their horse here ever again.
  11. I can't agree that contracts are a waste of time . One of our liveries stopped paying her bill & abandoned her horse , the signed contract was useful in court as we had put in it that we could sell the horse to settle any outstanding monies .
  12. It all does sound similar to residential letting. There are dream tenants who do everything by the book and more, then there are the tenants from hell who are nothing but trouble from day one.
    Janovich and rob1 like this.
  13. theboytheboy

    theboytheboy Member

    As somone else has said. Take a deposit!
    We also ask for copies of insurance, horse passport, proof of earnings, references. We have a contract as the view is its got to better than nothing.

    We provide Womers and the schedule and bill them for it.

    We decide when 24 hour turn out starts and stops or when to move fields based on conditions.

    As a result of this regime we are 50 % empty but would rather be empty and not earning than full and still not earning as full of bad payers.
    Forever Fendt likes this.
  14. bobk

    bobk Member

    I sell forage etc to horse fraternity and by and large they're fine , but wouldn't even consider livery .
    Grassman likes this.
  15. 4course

    4course Member

    north yorks
    oh, and dont forget rates, tax ,vat, planning and above all insurance
  16. D14

    D14 Member

    You have to be firm and not afraid to confiscate their kit and horse if they don't pay. From what I have seen first hand is horse owners truly believe the world owes them, so if they can't pay, then think it should be free because you feel sorry for them. A local guy to me has the job sorted and what he does is as follows. 60 horses in on grazing deals where by they pay £15/horse/week. For that they get 2 acres but only 1 acre available at any time so the other acre can recover. He has 130 acres down to this permanently fenced into 10 acre paddocks, so in a 10 acre paddock there is only 5 horses if that makes sense and its partitioned off internally with electric fences to create the smaller paddock. He then has 100 acres of wheat and 100 acres of grass he makes haulage off.

    There are 40 stables which are charged at £40/horse/week but also include the grazing as above. Water, electricity are also included. But total number of horses is 60. His turnover form this is £1900/week.

    They have to buy straw off him for bedding as he will not let them import straw and they can only buy hay/haylage off him. His reasoning for this is purely weed control which he is anal about. They can buy in alternative bedding such as shavings but have to ok it past him first. He charges just under the local average price for straw/hay so that they don't argue with him about the cost.

    They buy their own other food and sort their own vet and meds out and have to insure their horse against normal things.

    He does everything around the yard such as supply the straw/hay when required and clears the muck heap when full. If somebody does not pay he has been known to sell the horse and equipment to recover the outstanding rent although he does not get many issues as they all know where they stand with him. He's doing all that himself and uses farm contractors for all field operations.
    Janovich and JCMaloney like this.
  17. Fleeced

    Fleeced Member

    £55 a week for DIY stable and grazing? They must be insane.

    Labelling all horse owners is the same as labelling all farmers. There are good and bad in both sectors.
    Janovich, rob1, wilber and 1 other person like this.
  18. Sounds like I get a seriously good deal :whistle:

    If I had a yard with suitable buildings and grass I would consider doing livery, but only full livery. Real shortage round here but would need minimum of 5 horses to make it work.
    Janovich likes this.
  19. D14

    D14 Member

    It says £40/week for stabling with grazing and £15/week for just grazing.
  20. £160 a month for grass and a stable and nothing else?? :nailbiting:
    Still Farming likes this.

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