Cotswold Natural Livery
How we maintain a natural, trouble-free environment for your horse
Set in a private, secure, off-road location, Moor Wood stables ranks as one of the most stunning locations in the Cotswolds. There are miles of excellent off road hacking available, and even Cirencester Park is within riding distance.
The pastures at Moor Wood are over 400 years old, organic and protected under ESA legislation. Carefully managed, they boast a multitude of native herbs and varied grasses—exactly what your horse needs to thrive. They drink spring water from troughs or directly from our crystal-clear stream. We feed our horses almost no supplements or hard feeds, and much less hay than most, and have a remarkably low incidence of common problems such as colic and laminitis.
None of our horses box walks, weaves, crib-bites or wind sucks although some of them arrived here with these vices, and other problems like mud fever. We are sure this is because their diet and management is so suitable for them.
We put our money where our mouth is when it comes to providing the best livery we can. We clear the paddocks of muck several times a week, except for the winter paddock which is rested nine months of the year to kill all worms. Most of the stables here are kept unoccupied because we prefer to keep horses out much more than most yards offer. If we filled every stable to maximise our income, we would overstock the fields (as almost every yard we visit does) and thereby compromise the horses’ health and welfare. Instead of the average one acre per horse, we provide around three. We really do offer year-round turnout and even more unusually, actual winter grazing, achieved by resting a very sheltered, well-draining, fifteen acre field for the entire growing season.
The steep Cotswold hills mean that even unworked horses maintain a reasonable level of fitness, and we also operate a track system (based on Jamie Jackson’s “paddock paradise” concept) to encourage more movement and exercise. One Welsh Cob, around 14.2 hands in height, lost over 100 kilos in the first year she came here, and yet was allowed out far more than at her previous yard, where she was starved so much she contracted stomach ulcers. This was achieved partly because the pasture here is not a converted dairy farm with paddocks of alien, protein-rich grasses like Italian rye-grass. Our grazing is very much as it was 400 years ago—based on native grasses like timothy, fescue, and coltsfoot. Yarrow, dandelion, comfrey and cleavers are among the most abundant beneficial herbs growing here. As well as carefully managing horses inclined to obesity and laminitis, we also have facilities to help the less good-doer.
The horses live as a mixed (no stallions!), barefoot herd, which promotes natural interaction but minimises risks of injury. We insist on horses being barefoot, and offer the hoof care services of leading Applied Equine Podiatrist, Lindsay Cotterell who has many years experience transitioning shod horses to being barefoot.
We have a round pen, a small all weather school, a yard for conditioning feet, and lots of opportunities for off-road riding, as our landlord kindly allows us access to most of his 1500 acre farm, and we are situated right on one of the UK’s long distance bridle paths, the Macmillan Way. For the intrepid, the endless rolling “rides” of Cirencester Park, one of the most beautiful estates in the country, are within an hour’s hack.
Of course, we are also on hand to train you and your horse. Whether dealing with particular problems, rehabilitation, or regular on-going lessons, we can help!
We have visits from expert practitioners in hoofcare, massage and cranio-sacral therapy, saddle-fitting, dentistry and more.
Full livery: Includes hay, bedding, and daily care: £88 per week.
Training and teaching available at the reduced rate of £40 per hour (normally £45).
Holiday liveries considered, and short, medium, and long-term residential training livery also available, please contact us.