Aberdeen Livery & Related Questions

I am moving to Aberdeen area from outside the UK in a few months.
Since I am not from the area, I am hoping to get recommendations for livery stables in the area. I would need something that provides turnout service/feeding and ideally the mucking (at least on weekdays) as I will be studying at the university and would not have the time in the mornings. Any recommendations for what/who might be suitable (and info on prices etc!) would be great.
I am a show jumper, so a facility with a good arena and some jumps would be ideal.
Also, recommendations for good farriers, vets, tips, anything like that is greatly appreciated.

P.S. What sort of blanket weight is recommended in the winters? I’ve been told its cold, for example is 220g turnout enough in winter? If not, what are recommendations?

Thanks so much
Dappled Days

I’m presuming you are American. The UK has a very different horse culture from the USA.

UK ‘stables’ or ‘yard’ = USA ‘barn’.

Livery generally comes in 4 types: ‘full’ in which all care is provided by the staff, including exercise, ‘part’ in which the owner does an agreed amount of the care and staff do the rest, ‘DIY’ when the owner does everything and ‘working’ when the horse works off a proportion of the livery costs by e.g. being used in school lessons.

No one leases horses from a trainer, but loans and share arrangements are often made between riders and horse owners which range from a friendly agreement through to a formal contract with agreed financial contributions. Horses simply do not have the same financial value in the UK. You can easily buy an experienced eventer or hunter for less than £10K. You can pick up a good honest cob for less than £1K.

In the UK, only qualified vets can legally treat animals, and all other therapists such as chiropractors can only work with the approval of the vet. There are many specialist equine vets and referal practices for more complex problems. Similarly, only qualified registered farriers can shoe a horse. Two consequences of these two monopolies: drugged horses at shows are vanishingly rare and UK farriers consistently win the world championships. On the other hand, any Tom, Dick or Harry can treat humans!

The BHS approves livery yards as well as riding schools and these are listed on the BHS webpages by geographical location. This should be your starting point as approved yards will all meet a minimum standard and then you can look in person to see about the extras and unique features on offer. Be aware that the animals will probably be a bit shaggier and probably show, umm, more character in their ground manners. We Brits think horses are fun and expect the animals to do all kinds of interesting things with their humans - an all rounder is good. Eventer’s compete in dressage, dressage horses go hunting…

If you intend to bring your own horse, it will depend on the particular animal how many and what weight rugs will be needed. Aberdeen is on the coast and that will moderate the any cold and the east of Scotland is far drier than the west.

There is lovely riding country to hack out in but Aberdeen is quite far north for any major equestrian competitions. Scottish riders travel much further to show than do their English sisters.

You’ll probably get more, and more accurate, info on Horse and Hound forums: https://forums.horseandhound.co.uk/


I used to ride at Hayfield. At the time they took boarders-https://www.facebook.com/HayfieldRidingClub/ I’m not sure if they still do…

Thank you! I will contact them to find out. Can you tell me anything more about them (I found their website of course, but just if you liked it there, barn atmosphere, etc)

Yes, I did also make a posting there, but thought I’d give other platforms a try as well!

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Hi, I’m not American actually, but for those who are your reply would be quite helpful! My issue is mainly that I do not know the area or anyone in it, and therefore don’t have the same advantage I do at the moment of already knowing the reputations of the stables in my area as well as the trainers, vets, farriers, who holds competitions, and things the weather influences.
I’m not quite sure what you mean by horses there having more ‘character’-perhaps you could explain? The only thing I can think you may have meant was in comparison to some of the American hunter horses (which seem unusually calm or perhaps sleeping?) In regards to your mention of the expectation of a horse doing multiple things, I hardly find this surprising, and rather thought this to be common practice in much of the world? I primarily compete in the show jumpers but also train and occasionally compete in both dressage and cross country (and of course do other random activities for fun!)
As to the mention of having to be properly qualified to treat a horse as a vet or a farrier, I would have expected nothing less, since I was asking for recommendations for the reputable ones in the area, so if you have names of good vets/farriers in the Aberdeen area I would appreciate that!
I do intend to bring my horse with me, and while I would like to compete, I doubt I will have much time to do so during University except perhaps on Summer holidays, where travelling is less of an issue anyhow.

I did not know the BHS listed liveries by area, that sounds like a great resource, I will look into this.
Thank you for the information.

Well, my reply was totally focused towards an American enquiry. If you are a fellow European you will not find such a difference in culture.

As to “character”, I have found that Americans generally are far less tolerant of a horse expressing itself, such as throwing up its head when being bridled, which the Brits tend to tolerate as “That’s just him” i.e. ground manners are not the be-all and end-all and we don’t like riding an automaton.

The comment about distance to competitions still stands. Weatherwise, Britain is not as cold as mainland Europe because we are an island.

In the USA, neither farriers or vets have any monopoly, with consequences for horse welfare. Most UK yards will have a working relationship with a local farrier and a preferred vet practice so be guided by their choice until you find a need to change. The base level is of a good standard: most often it comes down to availabilty and personality.

If you look up the British Showjumping website and check the list of approved trainers you might bring up a few names local to Aberdeen. It is likely they will have a yard. The website will also list shows, to give you an idea. There will be non-affilliated competitions too.

Does the university have a riding club? That might be a useful resource for you as other people will wish to bring their horses with them.

I’m mainly into Eventing and live in England.

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Out of curiousity, I looked around the internet and found https://www.cabinequestrian.co.uk/ which I suggest looks like it might meet your requirements. It has BHS approval and is a training and examination centre for the BHS which suggests they know what they are doing around horses, is PC and BS listed too. They do livery… The only thing is lack of personal experience…

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The ground manners (or lack thereof) of horses here drive me crazy. Just sayin’. I don’t know that people ‘like’ it. I honestly think many have no idea you can train this stuff. Everyone I’ve met in my 12 years here thinks I’m the luckiest person, ever, because my horse popped out of her mother’s womb knowing how to stand tied, ground tie, not run you over, lead easily, stand to be mounted, etc. Or in the words of my yard owner, “These horses [meaning his] are not like your horse.” No sh*(! It’s extraordinary, really.

More on the OP’s point, there is a Livery Yards in Aberdeenshire Facebook group. I’m on the equivalent group for Central Scotland (which is where I live), and it has more updated info about yards than any Google search or Horse and Hound. Once you identify a yard, you find a vet and farrier that covers that area. Aberdeenshire is fairly big. Also, if you don’t already have a car you’re taking, you’ll probably need one. Yards are rarely accessible by public transport.

If you’re serious about showing, you’ll have to travel to the Central Belt a lot (two-ish hours), but when I’ve gone up to Aberdeen, I’ve seen a fair few horses around and some alright looking yards, insofar as one can tell from 60mph. Probably not a bad place to have a horse. Less wet than Glasgow.

Ah, that makes sense!
I had hoped each yard would have a ‘regular’ vet and farrier but wasn’t sure, so thank you for clarifying, that is good to know and a relief not to worry about it so long as they have the space for an extra client.
I will look up the British Showjumping website and follow your suggestion.

I believe it does have a riding club, but if I understood correctly it require all members are required to compete on borrowed horses and does not allow you to compete on your own horse. I intend to bring my horse with me to school, so for me this would not make sense, so I do not intend to join the club.

Thank you very much for all of the information, I really appreciate it!

I had not considered using facebook to search for Livery’s, that is a very good thought and I will do that, thank you!

Sorry for the delay. I did like it there, although shamefully I’ve just remembered it was 26 years ago, so they may be quite different to what they were then. This happens when you get old - you start thinking something was 10 years ago and no…no it was not. They had a nice big cross country field and brought in fantastic clinicians like Pat Burgess at the time. All I can tell now is that it’s a riding school, so things may have changed.

I’ll second the looking on Facebook as well :slight_smile: I do recall another lovely facility I think around Kirremuir or Forfar? Hayfield I could get to via the train & bus (I lived in Brechin at the time), but I think I was driven to the one that was around Forfar.

I showed Highland Ponies for someone near Brechin and evented at Hayfield. Lovely horseshowing scene.

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