Getting Ready for Vacation
These can be tough decisions, but with a little planning and these great tips, you can rest assured your horse and farm will be safe while you are away.
If you are planning to be gone for an extended period of time, boarding may be a consideration. Depending on the facility, boarding offers you peace of mind that someone is always there to oversee the horses. Most boarding facilities offer turn out options, regular feeding times, and routine checks of your horse. Shoeing and health care may be readily available at a boarding barn. With advanced planning, you can be sure the barn will have a stall for your horse and they will accept horses for short stays. Be prepared to show current vaccination records as well as a recent Coggins test.
Make sure the barn manager is aware of any complications, dislikes, or preferences your horse may have. This is important so your horse is as comfortable as possible and is helpful to the barn staff. If your horse is not used to traveling or staying in boarding barns, this will be a transition for him. Because boarding barns may be very busy, your horse may take a little time getting used to his new surroundings. Horses and people will be in and out making your horse’s day either more interesting or a bit hectic. Also remember that in a boarding facility, no one can do everything exactly as you would, but your horse gets the benefits of full-time care.
If you prefer not to board, another option is hiring a stable hand to come to your barn and look after things. This may require you to interview several people for the job or seek references from a friend or neighbor. It is best to have time to spend with the person of your choice so they become familiar with your routine and to make sure you feel comfortable leaving them in charge. If possible, have a back-up person that can help out on an "on call" basis. You may want this person to occasionally check your barn as a follow-up to be sure all chores and duties are being performed.
Before you leave, do a good barn/farm check to be sure everything is in working order.
Check stall doors to be sure the doors slide easily and the buckets are inside the stalls. If you have automatic waterers, make sure the bowls are clean and the water is filling as it should. Check outside water troughs for leaks and be sure fences are maintained with no weak areas. Double check that your gates latch securely and stay closed. Sometimes it’s the little things that can be difficult and frustrating for your barn help while you are away. Be sure to tell your help to double check all doors, gates and latches before they leave your farm.
Whether you board or hire help, you may want to review the following tips before you leave on your trip:
Provide a list of health records, vaccinations, and recent Coggins. Make a daily routine list including feed times, amounts of grain and supplements to be given.
- Provide a list of phone numbers including vet, farrier, equine dentist, and your back-up help.
- Be sure to leave the name and number of where you will be staying in case you need to be contacted.
- If you'll have access, email is a great way to communicate frequently.
- Be sure you have good fly spray on hand and fly masks if needed.
- Consider keeping an electrolyte supplement on hand if weather becomes hot, and be sure your help is checking to see that horses are drinking enough water.
- Stock up on hay, grain, and supplements before you depart.
- Have hoofs trimmed or have your horse shod prior to your trip.
- Lead lines and halters should fit well, be easily accessible and not worn.
These tips, in addition to satisfying your own horse’s particular needs, will insure your horse’s comfort and safety while you are away. You can rest assured that when you return, your horses will be glad to see you and you will be refreshed and ready to ride. Have a great get away.
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.
RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. makes every effort to provide reliable and useful information on horse health, care and products. The statements made on this website are based on years of experience with horses, however, they are based on generalized situations and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by a veterinarian or consultation by a professional. RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. does not assume any legal responsibility. Readers should always consult qualified health care providers for specific diagnosis and treatment.