As we enter the holiday season, there are a lot more travelers on the road and in the air. If you keep your horses at home, holiday travel and vacations need to be planned according to your horse’s schedule. In this week’s feature, we are going to give some tips and advice on finding a good horse sitter for the holidays!
If you are planning on a day trip to Grandma’s house, you may not need to have a sitter. In this case, I’d recommend checking the weather forecast before you leave in the morning. Make sure to dress your horse according to the temperature. They should have plenty of fresh water available and maybe an extra flake or two of hay to keep them occupied during the day.
When you are leaving for an overnight trip, you need to get a horse sitter. When I look for someone to watch my horses there are 3 main qualifications that this person will need to have. They need to have experience with horses (preferably have their own), they need to be able to stay at my house while I am out of town, and they need to be responsible and trustworthy. Usually, if you ask around your local barn or horse friends, they will have a good connection or know someone who has experience with horse sitting. I prefer my horse sitter to stay at my house for the duration of my vacation in case something happens. They certainly can come and go to work and other activities as they please, but it’s nice to have someone who spends the night. If you have cats and dogs too, this gives them company while you are gone.
Before you go on vacation, have your sitter stop by and do chores with you. This way, they can see your usual routine. At this time, you can show them where the hay and grain are stored and any other special details they may need to know. Make sure that you leave emergency contact information handy and write all feeding instructions down so they don’t forget. I also always fill the fridge with snacks, so there is plenty for your sitter to munch on.
So just remember, find someone that you trust to take care of your horses. After all, many of us treat our horses like we would our children! Vacations are meant to be relaxing and worry free!