I had to go for the only place that I knew of within a 10 mile radius of my house! I am however considering moving as I've found that there are other places within a 10 mile radius of my house ...
Anyhoo, many years ago -before I moved to the town I now live in- I had a pony and kept her at livery at a riding school, and what we had there has 'spoiled' me a bit as it was 'ideal' [just very expensive] and everything else I've seen since looks miserable in comparison
We had an indoor school (which was tiny, but fine for ponies!) a bigger "floodlit" outdoor school, a field with showjumps and a field with cross country jumps (ones we built ourselves one summer
), hacking on very very quiet roads with plenty of places where you could have a canter/gallop. There were 4 other huge fields for turnout, there was hot water available, and toilet facilities. The stables were spotless, the doors were all in good repair with working hinges and bolts, the place was painted once a year, the feed and bedding was the best quality (and therefore expensive) and the staff were brilliant.
Now I have access to an indoor school - which is smaller than 20x40 metres and has jumps permanently in the middle (you couldn't practice a Dressage test in there), the surface is old and very compacted thereby making for very hard going; I don't know how much land there is, but turnout is limited to dry weather and small 'pocket' paddocks separated with electric fencing; There are cross country jumps on the property but they don't get used; there's a set of showjumps in a field but I wasn't allowed to ride out there this summer; I don't know how quiet the roads are for riding on; IMO the stables are too small for horses over 15hh; some of the stable doors are a bit dodgy; there's only cold water; several times when I've been there, there were no staff on site; three or four times when I've been riding cars have driven up to the door of the arena - you can't see or hear them coming - spook city for the horse, and I'm very
nervous about cantering near the door these days; one of the staff has spoken to me [more than once] in a manner that I felt was completely unacceptable given that I'm paying them, not them paying me!
Straw that broke the camel's back was when I went up recently and discovered that someone had pulled my horse's mane. I didn't ask them to (I wanted to grow it out a bit) and no one said anything to me about it. So I'm [discreetly] looking into moving somewhere else... although at this stage of the game I couldn't care less if they find out!
My wish list would be
- decent size stables
- hot and cold running water
- proper toilet facilities
- decent size indoor school
- outdoor school
- grass 'arena'
- all year round turnout
- off road hacking
- sensible pricing!