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  • November 16, 2023 3 min read

    The festive season is fast approaching and it is generally a time when horse owners go away on holiday. However, if you have horses on your property, you will understand the planning that is involved in finding a horse sitter. In this article, we will explore how to help your horse sitter look after your horses, which will hopefully allow you to have a relaxing and stress-free holiday. 

    Choosing Your Sitter 

    Consider the following points when choosing a sitter. 

    • This one may seem obvious, but choose a sitter that has had horse experience, or who has their own horses. By doing so, you will have peace of mind that someone capable is handling your horse, but also will pick up on an injury or illness.
    • Make sure your sitter has references. Ensuring your sitter has references or is referred by someone you know and trust, will give you peace of mind that they will look after your horses well. 
    • Meet your sitter before engaging them. If possible it is always best to meet your sitter beforehand so that you can ask any questions with regards to their experience and for you to get a feel of the person that will look after your horses. Also, if a person is willing to meet you before engagement, then this shows that they are committed to looking after your pets. 
    • Be prepared to pay well. There is a lot of work involved when horse sitting, and so sitters should be compensated well for their time and work, especially if they are experienced and reliable. It is always best to agree to payment beforehand to avoid any disputes. 
    • Trust your gut. Remember, your horse sitter will be looking after your horses, and possibly your house too. So, if something doesn't feel right, then trust your gut! 

    Help Your Sitter Succeed 

    There are many ways in which you can help your sitter look after your horses, and these include:

    • Provide a list to your sitter of emergency contact numbers, which includes your vet, farrier and a third party (e.g. a friend or relative) that can be available to assist if required.
    • If it is a first time sitter, then ensure that your horses can be easily distinguished and identified. If you have horses that are very similar in looks, then it might be worthwhile tagging them (e.g. Putting a coloured sticky tape in their mane) to help with identification. If your horses have a particular stable arrangement, then clearly mark the horses stable.
    • Write down the horse's routine. If your horses follow a specific routine, then let your sitter know. Just be aware and flexible that they may not be able to follow the routine exactly due to their own commitments. 
    • Write down each horse's feed. Ensure your sitter knows what to feed your horse. If you feed a hard feed with supplements or medication, it may be better for you to pre-make these feeds. This will make it easier for your sitter but will also give you peace of mind that your horses are receiving their required supplements and medications in the exact amount. 
    • Identify any behavioral quirks to your sitter. If your horse likes to lay down in their paddock in the middle of the day, or if they take longer than usual to eat their feed, let your sitter know. Also let them know if your horse has any vices, particularly ones that can cause harm such as biting, kicking, or bolting. 
    • If you want your horse to be rugged, or have their fly veil on, let your sitter know. Always make sure you have spares on hand, including a spare halter and lead rope, in case something happens to the originals.
    • Make sure your sitter knows where the waterers are in the stables and paddocks, and communicate how many times per week these are to be cleaned. Ensure your sitter knows of any taps that can be used to control water flow, especially if something goes wrong. Always make sure you have spare buckets on hand to plan for any contingencies! 

    Choosing your horse sitter carefully and providing detailed instructions can help ease your mind, as well as ensure your horses are kept happy and healthy whilst you are away! 

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