There is a lack of consistency across livery yards in terms of actions taken to combat the spread of coronavirus. Whilst most are practicing social distancing, other actions taken are more variable?
- Around half have put in place restrictions of visitor numbers to the yard, including 37% of full livery owners being banned from going to their horses
- DIY yards are typically remaining more flexible with only a quarter putting timing restrictions in place. This rises to over a third of full livery yards
- Nearly two-thirds of livery yards are not believed to have provided cleaning equipment (sanitizer, soap, gloves etc.) and the majority have not taken any steps to segregate equipment or manage storage or usage.
Whilst the majority (73%) of owners who keep their horses in livery are happy with the actions their yard has taken, 16% feel their yard has not done enough with concerns around the lack of restrictions on people visiting and the sharing of equipment.
Some yards, typically those providing full livery, have closed their doors to owners. As would be expected this is causing some distress for those owners, whether they agree with the policy or not. It is concerning that 18% of owners on full livery have reported an increase in costs as they are now paying the yard to exercise their horses.
We have reported previously that one of the biggest concerns among horse owners is being able to afford to keep their horses as the economic impact hits. This is a concern raised by 63% of those with horses in livery, reflecting the higher outgoings of this group of owners. Not only does this present a potential welfare issue but may also have an impact on the livery sector in the future as owners are forced to sell or look for cheaper options for keeping their horses.
As has been reported previously, most horse owners are cutting back on ridden activity and typically this is higher among those with horses in livery, particularly on full livery.
Horse welfare is a major concern for owners and it appears to be driven by the reduction in activity. Those who keep their horses at home have lower levels of concern both for the physical and mental wellbeing of their horses, perhaps because they are still able to see their horses frequently even I f they are not riding them. Those on livery are much more concerned by the current situation, reflecting the lack of ‘normal’ access they have to their horse.
Commenting on these results Helen Roberts, Director XV Insight said “Clearly whilst most owners are happy with the actions of their livery yard, the inconsistency of actions may well be fueling some negativity with owners relaying different experiences to friends and via social media. There are some great examples of yard owners helping key workers, providing video of horses to owners and looking at cost reduction options for owners who need them. From a financial perspective it seems a minority of yards are generating additional income through the lockdown, but there are some worrying signs for the future that livery demand may drop as the economic impact is fully felt.
It is interesting that those in livery are doing less with their horses and whilst this is clearly driven in part by restrictions, it may also reflect the role of group dynamics with everyone on a yard agreeing a consistent approach to ridden activity.”
About the research
The XV Insight horse owner survey explores the experiences of horse owners across the UK. It looks at what horse owners are doing during the lockdown, their experiences with vets and farriers, changes in their spending habits, the worries they have and where they are getting information from.
In response to current media coverage of livery yards in lock-down, we have produced a deep-dive report exploring the experiences of those who keep their horses in DIY or full livery. This report can be accessed here
The research is being conducted via an online survey promoted to horse owners through social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram)
Further details can be found at https://xvinsight.com/coronavirus-horse-owner-survey/
The survey will run for the duration of the coronavirus emergency and beyond. Additional modules within the survey will allow us to explore equestrian trade in more detail and the experiences of those employed in the sector. The survey will be adapted to reflect ongoing changes in Government instruction or legislation.
About XV Insight
XV Insight is a Warwickshire-based market research agency founded in 2017. https://xvinsight.com/. The company is led by Helen Roberts a market research professional with 30 years of experience in the sector. XV Insight works with clients across sectors including travel & tourism, sport & leisure, retail and healthcare. Clients include both private and public sector organisations.
For further information please contact:
Helen Roberts, Director XV Insight firstname.lastname@example.org 07500 005449