Guest Author - Kim Wende
When you own horses and want to go on vacation you will need to find a horse sitter. Some are lucky enough to have a friend they can trade out with others have to find a regular horse sitter. There are a number of things you will need to consider that will make it easier for the horse sitter.
The first thing you will need to do is to find a horse sitter and then setup an appointment for him or her to come out and meet the horses. Setup the appointment around feeding time so you can show them your feeding and maintenance routine. Make sure you don't have anyone coming out during the time you will be gone.
Emergency Contact Information
Make sure you leave a list of emergency contacts such as your veterinarian, farrier, horse friends, and trusted neighbors in case of an emergency.
Let your veterinarian know when you will be on vacation and have something setup with them in case of an emergency. Give them the horse sitters information and a written statement that gives them permission to work on your horse in case they can't get in touch with you. Make arrangements with someone to take your horse to the veterinarian if they can't come out in the case of an emergency.
Feed, Supplements and Water
Write up detailed instructions for giving feed, supplements or medications. Something helpful that can be done is to put the supplements in a plastic baggie. Make sure they check the water every day even if you have an automatic watering system.
Do you leave the horses out in the pasture all day and put them up at night or do you only put them up if it's going to rain or snow? Do you put a blanket on them if so when? Do you have lights setup to come on in your barn and go off at a certain time? Anything that you do for your regular routine you will need to let the horse sitter know.
If your horse needs to be exercised you will need to give the horse sitter specific instructions. Do you want your horse turned out in the pasture if so for how long? Do they need to be lunged and for how long? Maybe they need to be put on the walker.
Let them know how often you want the stalls cleaned and where to put the manure. Does the horse need to be tied up when cleaning stalls or removed from the stall?
If you give your horse treats let the horse sitter know when and what kind of treats to give. Do you take them out and hand graze them, maybe you want their hooves cleaned out every day. Is there anything else you do that is special for your horse? If so let the horse sitter know as it will help make your horse feel more comfortable when you are gone.
If there are any challenges with your horse that could be dangerous let the horse sitter know such as being aggressive towards other horses, kicking at other horses, are they a handful when leading them to the turnout pen, do they pull back when tied? Be honest and let your horse sitter know about anything like this for safety and liability reasons.
Be sure to let your horse sitter know your itinerary, how to get in touch with you and when you will return. Have them sign a release of liability form. If they bring anyone with them that person will also need to sign a release of liability form. The key is to have specific written instructions to ensure the best care for your horse.