Katys riding passion is strongly rooted in her show jumping, although, she loves everything horsey including running her Livery yard in Dore, Sheffield. Over the years she has visited many yards which have sadly been plagued with an unfriendly atmosphere, a handbook full of rules that no one seems to follow and even sadly yard bullying. Katys memories of going to the yard after school in her teens has also left her with some lasting memories of some of the many unpleasant experiences she had to face.
So,when Katy took Newfield Livery Yard on at the grand old age of just 19, she knew what kind of yard atmosphere she wanted to create; she wanted her passion for horses to shine through, a yard that oozed professionalism from the moment you entered, a happy and friendly environment that was enjoyed, and one that riders and owners were proud to be part of.
When I took the yard on it was run down and looking rather tired, my immediate goal was to create a safe, professional and friendly environment, with that in mind and with the support of family and friends we started cleaning the place up.
All hands on deck we fixed all the fencing, weeded and seeded all the fields, mowed the grass verges, fixed the walls, painted the stables, removed all rubbish and kitted out all the tack rooms. We did most of the work by hand, but had to employ a local farmer to clear the scrub land and sort out the fields. The majority of work was completed in just 4 weeks!
As the yard started to take shape my excitement grew, so I decided to start advertising for liveries and it wasnt long before the yard began to fill up in readiness for the winter months. Three years on and the majority of people who moved on to my yard are still here. I have tried to make the yard their yard and as a result the yard looks just as great, if not better, than it did when we all began this journey together.
Everyone has a sense of responsibility and pride for the yard and as a result everyone keeps it tidy, looks after their area, sweeps, poo picks to the extent that even outside clients and neighbours comment on how clean and presentable the yard is.
My horse's have always meant a great deal to me and I have always put them first, the same goes for the way the liveries look after their horses with everyone on the yard adopting the same mentality, all the horses are beautifully turned out and looked after everyday, everybody chips in and nobodys horse goes without.
I love my riding and am a determined and self-driven show jumper who loves to win! There is nothing better than taking my horses out and competing but I also love to go out riding with the yard as a team. Many of the riders at Newfield show jump too and have adopted the same determination and passion as me.... Winning!
I coach the majority of the riders; doing lots of flatwork, jumping exercises, drill riding as a group, we also have lots of fun with games such as cushion polo. Coaching others gives me great satisfaction and I enjoy watching others grow in ability and determination to succeed. I love to watch them compete at local shows. There has never been any jealousy between anyone at the yard, there is a strong family environment and when someone wins, we all feel like we have won.
Its great to watch everyone compete, right down to the younger kids who are equally as determined and driven as everyone else. Recently one of my younger liveries Felix, aged just eight, competed at the Local Championship Show and earned himself a very respectable 2nd place after only riding for 6 months. As I said, I love to win; I am very competitive, so when someone I teach does well or wins, its a fantastic feeling as I it makes me proud as it is very much a win for me too!
I work full time at the yard and so do my liveries! They choose to spend as much time as they can at the yard and it makes me appreciate what a great place I have created. A great example of this was during the endless snows of last year, everyone on the yard decided to dig the school out and make a track around the outside so we could all still ride. So much hard work put in by everyone, but totally worth it.
We have a kitchen which has slowly been kitted out by the liveries families and they now cook their own lunches every weekend and during the summer we don't need much of an excuse to get the barbecue out. Any visiting instructors are well catered for and any celebration, no matter how small, gets a party! We have celebrated birthdays, Jubilees, Christmas and much more together.
Everybody is welcome on the yard, mums, dads, sisters and grandparents and I coach riders from 5 - to 60+ years. Its a great environment to be in and I have received so many positive comments about the great atmosphere that we all thrive on.
I am not 100% sure what has made my yard work so well other than try to avoided a negative atmosphere, we have a zero tolerance of bullying and there is no jealousy, we all support and back each other, something that I am very proud of. Maybe I have just been incredibly lucky with the people I have attracted, everyone is able to be who they want to be, and everyone on the yard gets along. The teenagers hang out together most days and its lovely to see what a great to witness them build great friendships and a supportive community.
To ensure you give both sides of the story I asked my liveries to tell me why they believe Newfield Yard is good for them, here are some of their comments;
- Ellie (aged 14): The food
- Charlotte (aged 16): My second family
- Alex (Aged 21): I look forward to coming to this yard; I havent always looked forward to going to ther yards in the past
- Julie (Rider and Mum): I can ask you anything, no matter how silly the question seems
- Ava (aged 15): Its never judgemental and never bitchy‚
People ask me what makes your yard so special? well I think the answer lies with it not really being my yard, its our yard.