Yard owners and managers often come in for some hefty criticism especially on the equestrian forums.

I don’t envy them; from managing the grazing and maintaining the yard, to resolving livery squabbles and caring foe our most precious equines, they have a tough job.

I’m sure that there are bad’uns out there but mine are great. The husband and wife team (and wider family that chip in) do everything they can to ensure the yard is a happy place for their liveries and their horses.

Twice this summer I’ve gone away and both times Abbey has required medical attention. The first time, she was bitten on her girly bits and, just like last time, she was very uncomfortable (who wouldn’t be!)

The YO tended to her bite, working out that aloe vera was more soothing for her than the sudocrem I’d been applying. Applying it couldn’t have been easy with Abbey dancing like she’s on hot coals, with added tail swishes.

I can tell that the YO was patient, kind yet persistent with Abbey as my girl is still relaxed and happy to have her tail lifted when being groomed.

This holiday, it’s been an eye infection that has had the YO taking on the role of veterinary nurse.

The YO has kept me up to date, liasing with the vet and administering medicines as required.

I’m very lucky that when I’m away I know Abbey is in the care of the YO who will treat her with the same love and attention that I lavish on her.

It’s even more reassuring that it doesn’t stop when I am there.

One notable example happened at night a few years ago. The YOs were woken up by strange noises coming from the fields. They got up and found Abbey and her fieldgate running round, obviously upset.

As it was winter, both were rugged. So they caught them, brought them in, changed their rugs into sweat rugs and let them dry off. Then they swappes their rugs back to outdoor ones and turned them back out. All of this in the middle of the night.

As experienced horse owners, they are always keeping an eye. They have amazing diplomacy skills, gently mentioning any concerns they have or changes that might be considered by their liveries.

They tread very fine lines skilfully and while it’s not always plane sailing, they are always kind and considerate, even when they have to say ‘no’.

So here’s to all the brilliant yard owners out there 🥂. Thank you. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into caring for our horses and the places we keep them.