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Thoroughly check fences, gates and stalls before you leave on vacation. (Credit: Michelle Nedved for 2017 AQHA Calendar Contest)
Thoroughly check fences, gates and stalls before you leave on vacation. (Credit: Michelle Nedved for 2017 AQHA Calendar Contest)

by Cari Klostermann

Before heading off on vacation, make sure your horse is prepared for your absence.

Taking a vacation with the family always sounds like a great idea, but as a horse owner, the anxiety of leaving your horse behind can quickly take the fun out of it. Sure, we want to take our horses everywhere we go, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Don’t let that stop you from exploring the world!

We have composed a detailed checklist to complete before you leave town to lessen your worry so you can actually relax on your vacation.

  1. Find a trusted caregiver. It’s important that you trust the person you leave to care for your four-hooved friends to meet both their physical and emotional needs. If they simply toss some feed over the fence, sure, your horse will survive, but then you will feel guilty about your horse being alone while you were away. Find someone who will give your horses some love, plus recognize horse-health signs that indicate it’s time to call the vet.

  2. Leave detailed written instructions. While your horse’s feeding and care regimen may be simple for you, it can become a bit overwhelming for the caregiver if you don’t provide them with something to reference. If you mix additives into your horse’s feed, measure them out in a baggy and label it for the specific feeding time (i.e. Saturday a.m., Saturday p.m.)

  3. Thoroughly check fences, gates and stalls. The worst thing that could happen while you’re on vacation is receiving a call saying your horses have been injured or escaped. Take a walk through your horses’ pastures and stalls to make sure everything is in tiptop shape and there is nothing they could injure themselves on.

  4. Inform your veterinarian you are leaving and supply the caregiver with their information. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents cannot be prevented. Giving your vet a heads up that you will be out of town will prepare them should your caregiver need them.

  5. Check the weather. Depending on the weather, your horses may need specific care. If it is going to be very cold, they may need to be blanketed, so you should be prepared to leave instructions for you caregiver. If it is going to be rainy, make sure horses can get into their shelter, and you may want to instruct the caregiver to feed them under a shed or throw them some extra hay.

  6. Lessen the load for your caregiver. Chances are, your caregiver will not be able to do all the chores you do on a daily basis. And special care items – like deworming, vaccines, farrier work, etc. – should be done ahead of time. Make caring for your horses as easy as possible.

Your horse definitely adores you, but everyone needs a break from their loved ones at times, and your horse is no different. This vacation could be just the time alone he needs to recharge and be ready to chase dreams upon your return. If you use this list as a guide, both you and your horse will have a more relaxing vacation.

How Horse Owners Should Prep for Vacation by the AQHA

About the Author: Cari Klostermann is an American Quarter Horse Association communications and digital marketing intern.

This story was published by the AQHA here and is re-published on EIE with permission.

Find out more about Vacations right here on EIE in our Travel & Tourism section.

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