03 September 2008 15:03
I own a small livery yard. Unfortunately I’ve had to give notice to one of my liveries because, despite being asked on numerous occasions, she’s not looking after her two ponies. She comes two or three times each week, looks over the fence to check they’re upright and leaves. She has to be reminded to get the farrier and, although the ponies are in good health, this is only because other people on the yard look after them.
We have no contractual agreement, but I have written to her clearly stating why she has to leave and giving her notice, but I have not had any communication with her since. What can I do if she ignores my request to leave? I can’t just turn the ponies out on the street.
By Your Horse
Equestrian Lawyer Belinda Walkinshaw replies:
If your livery doesn’t leave, and if there is no way of physically removing the ponies from your yard without risking them coming to harm, you would have to make
a claim against the livery in your local County Court.
You would need to obtain a court order requiring her to vacate the premises on the basis that she no longer has any right to remain, and so is trespassing on your property. You could also claim damages from her for the time that she leaves the ponies at your yard after the notice has expired.
I would suggest that in future you ask all customers to sign a contract clearly setting out their obligations in terms of looking after their horses, the amount of notice either party must give and what the procedure is if they don’t go.
You could, for example, include a ‘lien’ over the horse and any equipment left on site, which would enable you to retain or sell them if the livery bill remained unpaid.