Out walking last week, I passed my old yard. I have so many great memories here from when I was a teenager. I'd go to the stables at 7am on my bike and not come home until gone 7pm. It was a haven, loads of other horsey people my age. We would hack out for hours, tie our horses outside the Spar and go in and buy sweets and polos, it truly was the best way to spend my teenage years. I also had my horse of a lifetime 'Jack' here.
I was totally gutted to see it closed up, another great DIY yard swallowed up by a developer in the South East. If it's not land going to developers it's high business rates, and impossible insurance rates putting the DIY livery yard out of business. I know this all too well. Recently my mum wanted to move her horse closer to home. We couldn't find anything that was DIY, affordable and well run. It was all full livery or (without sounding rude) not a place you'd want to keep your horse.
I had a normal upbringing, I had part time jobs as soon as I was old enough to pay for Jack, and it was an affordable hobby if you wanted it to be. I did it all for the love of it, I was just a happy hacker - no big shows, horse lorries or pony club. Just me and my horse.
This has made me so sad to think other young girls and boys won't be able to get in to the sport without huge financial backing. Granted, horse riding has never really been a grass roots sport, but it should be accessible otherwise it will die out. With DIY yards and riding schools closing, will it just be a hobby and sport reserved for the elite? I truly hope not as, for many of us riding is our oxygen.
Long live DIY.