Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Proprietor and Staff

As you might imagine, a large yard like Vaysey Pastures does not run itself.

Although there are some clients who “Do it themselves” – an unfortunate term I always think – the majority are on what we call “Full or Part” livery.

This, more costly, alternative means that we take responsibility for various tasks ranging from mucking out the stable and turning the horse out to graze and bringing it in to feeding, grooming or even exercising when the owner has not the time, energy or general inclination.

If I might descend to the vulgar topic of money, it is on the added services such as clipping, schooling and teaching that most livery yards make the profit that keeps them afloat nowadays, but enough of Mammon.

In many ways, livery yards are not unlike girls' boarding schools. Beloved princesses are removed from the perfect environment of home to strange surroundings where a group of highly strung individuals are corralled together and managed by staff of varying characters and degrees of competence.

There are good times and bad and, quite often, a hysterical hot-house atmosphere develops. In this and so many ways Vaysey Pastures resembles
Mallory Towers and the dramas of the liveries common room mirrors those of the lower fifth Remove: a surprisingly potent cocktail of hormones, tears and passion. To steal a term from the immortal Bette Davis, it is generally adviseable to "fasten your seatbelts", since it's going to be "a bumpy night" at the yard.

Returning to specifics, it would not be possible to run the yard without loyal helpers. In my case I have relied mainly upon an experienced senior girl of any years standing and a factotum handyman to keep the place going. I have younger staff who come and go - often leaving a trail of havoc in their wake.

I must admit my employees have always been hardworking and committed and, to be honest, I have taken them for granted. I now know I haven’t always been terribly quick in recognising their views and feelings or acting upon them. To find out more about me and my team, please read on…

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