Understandably, owners often find it hard to send their horse away for backing and/or schooling. Here are a few things to think about when you’re selecting the perfect yard for you and your horse….
ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
The best way to find a yard that is going to best suit you and your horse is to get a personal recommendation from someone you know and trust and who approaches their horses like you do. Speak to others who have sent their horse away, ask what their experiences were like - not only in terms of the quality of training but in the service they were given as customers. There are so many yards and professionals who offer these kind of services and all will have their own way of doing things and approach to training horses. What you want to find is someone who is a good ‘fit’ with how you approach working with horses. I will caution here that not all you hear about a yard or professional is necessarily true so go with your own instinct in the end.
GO AND VISIT A NUMBER OF YARDS
I always advise people to go a visit a few different yards when considering sending their horse away for training. By getting to meet the people who would potentially working with your horse in the flesh you’ll have a much better understanding of who they are. A look around the yard will say something about the standards they maintain and a quick look at the other horses in their care may hint to how they are cared for. Ask about their approach to training - do they use ‘gadgets’? are they quiet and sympathetic to the horse? Will the main professional on the yard be the one riding your horse or will it be a trainee? How often will your horse be worked? Try if you can to watch them work with another horse so you can see for yourself how they interact with the horse and one another.
CHECK THAT YOU CAN VISIT AT ANY TIME
We always have an open-door policy on our yard but I’ve heard of other yards that restrict access for owners of horses in training. Make sure you know and are happy with the arrangements for visits at the yard you are considering.
CHECK OUT THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
You have probably already have a look on Facebook at the yard’s page and checked out their photos and videos however it’s worth looking a little closer at how they communicate with people on their page. Do the staff associated with the yard have their own profile pages? Do they conduct themselves online in the professional way that you’d want to on the yard? You can often gain a little insight just by doing a little extra research.
KNOW WHERE YOU STAND IN TERMS OF AGREEMENTS AND CONTACT
Every yard will have a different arrangement in terms of the contract they’ll ask you to sign and how they’ll keep in contact with you. At KA Equestrian we have a standard training agreement that we ask all owners to sign just to keep us all covered. We keep in very regular contact with our clients and take photos and videos most days that we can share. Some owners will agree to let us share their horse’s progress on our social media channels whereas some will prefer it’s kept private. We keep a written training diary for each horse each day which the owner will get on completion of their horse’s training along with a DVD of their horses journey - it’s a nice keep-sake for the owner.
KAEquestrian on YouTube
It can be tricky finding just the right yard for you and your horse but hopefully these tips will help you find the perfect ‘boarding school’.