The Workings of Water Farm
At Water Farm we are proud to be different!
With the horse, not against it’
There are at present 24 horses on site of which 14 are Full Liveries. The yard has 19 stables available for liveries. The other horses on site – “Water Farm” horses – are horses owned either personally by Gerda and Chrysi Warner, or are part of the business as training projects (rehabilitation, training or retraining, breaking in for resale or future loan) or used for specific schoolmaster lessons to clients
Our full livery offer is based on the provision of an identifiable stable for each livery horse with access to extensive turn-out facilities as an when the owners require. Our own “Water Farm” horses live outside in natural surroundings roaming in herds of up to 12 animals over an area of almost 100 acres, and do not have dedicated stables. We keep geldings and mares in separate herds. The full livery horses have the option to join these herds as much as the owners wish, to benefit from the herd environment and the opportunity to move freely and not to stand in a confined space for long periods of time. This is one of the unique selling points of Water Farm and is greatly appreciated by the owners. We take horses on “Rehabilitation Grass Livery” where they are provided with grazing but no dedicated stable but a structured program to get them back to a useful working life.
We are not advocating nor practicing the conventional and ‘normal’ way of horse husbandry and management – keeping the animals mostly in a stable with short and limited periods of turnout, as contrary to popular believe horses were never designed to live in 12-foot x 12 foot boxes for most of their life. They are herd animals and need for their mental and physical well-being social interaction and contact with each other. In return for the work the horses do for us we furnish them with a horsey life worth living. As a direct consequence of this approach all our horses are calm, happy, healthy, balanced in mind and body and a pleasure to work with and as a direct result of that, so are the owners for that matter.
As the horses are able to spend a significant amount of time outside, caring for them is less labour-intensive than in a conventional livery yard with limited turn out in a field for exercise and social interaction.
In our boxes porous mats www.drainoflex.de (video) are laid down throughout the stables for fluid to drain away, leaving the floor always dry, soft, and warm, requiring minimum bedding. Remaining droppings can be easily and quickly swept out, further reducing the labour input required.
Livery owners can keep their horses in their designated stables as much as they wish but tend to have their horses turned out most of the time. This is a choice they make depending on weather conditions, horse management priorities as some horses need to be kept in more than others for e.g. weight control or availability for riding e.g. early in the morning or late afternoons.
In an average winter period – November to March – it can become necessary to have all horses inside for a total of 20 to 25 nights due to seriously adverse weather conditions. In these instances, the livery horses go into their own stables and the non-livery paying “Water Farm” horses and very occasional grass livery horses do not have specific allocated stables but use several outside stables on an ad hock basis. When all horses are required to be kept in and all stables are full, Water Farm horses without a designated stable are put into our indoor arena using it as ‘a barn’ Therefore, although we have more horses than stables, all full liveries have their own stable and the “overspill” consists of Water Farm horses. This happens rarely, only when weather conditions make it necessary for their safety and well-being.
We do accept full responsibility for the livery horses’ general well-being in the owner’s absence and therefore all horses are checked daily by Water Farm staff in stables or fields at least twice, to make sure everything is fine. Some owners come to the yard daily others only on weekends. Whatever, in the owner absence Water Farm considers the horses their responsibility in all respects but we do not charge extra for any services.