If you are the type of horse owner who is lucky enough to get to schedule a vacation, leaving your favorite four hooves behind can be stressful.
Summer here in Chester County, Pennsylvania is the time of the year that trips are planned and much needed vacations are on the calendar. Most horse owners don’t need to worry about the care of their horses while away, for example if you board with a trainer and your horse is already part of their program. Then there are the rest of us...
I will be traveling in the near future, I'll be going away to Scotland for 3 weeks! When I booked my trip my first thought went to my horse. She is the type who needs to stay in a routine and needs to continue to work, like a lot of green horses, or she will find something to get into for fun which never ends well.
I planned in advance this time to try to get all my ducks in a row, as much as you can when animals are involved anyway. Going through this process wasn't easy and I found it honestly really stressful which is one reason why I put together the PDF you'll find below to help you walk through the steps you need to prepare for when you leave your horse for a vacation.
The most important thing is to tell everyone involved in the care and welfare of your horse the dates of travel and contact information. Even if you know you will have WiFi and service, it is always best to have clear instructions left behind. It is often hard to think about the negatives, but make sure if emergencies happen that everyone is aware what procedures you are willing to have done to your horse.
Another critical consideration is budget.. I talked to my vet in advance and discussed with her how far I was willing to go if anything were to happen. Yes, my heart says one thing but there is also a point where we are horse owners have to often make really difficult decisions if it financially is too much for us.
Before leaving for your trip, try to keep things in your horse's routine as close to 'normal' as you can. Since my horse will be going to a trainer while I'm away, I am planning on taking her a week in advance so I can help her settle in and be around if the trainer has any questions before I leave and also just for piece of mind for myself knowing that she is settled into her new environment.
This is not the time to change grain or medication or anything drastic. It is stressful to animals and we have to make changes as smoothly as possible. Make sure you have plenty of the grain the horse is currently being fed with instructions and amounts. You want to make it easy on the horse and the people caring for them.
Have all of your horses everyday equipment accessible to person in charge. If you keep things in a locked tack trunk, leave a key or combination. What good is having someone come to ride your horse if they have no access to the tack? Make sure to consider the weather/ season. My mare will be bringing her fly gear and a new bottle of fly spray. But most importantly packed in our boxes are of course a bag of carrots.
I am lucky to have a great horse buddy that is willing to check on my mare while I am away. Thank you Julia! If you don't have another horse friend local to you, ask a family member and educate them on the basics of what they would want to alert you about if they were to check on the horse and see them in a less than ideal condition.
People ask me if I am excited about my trip...I think that I will be when the plane is leaving the runway and can’t run back to the barn. I feel less worried knowing that I have tried my best to make sure that my mare is in safe hands and everyone is on the same page. If you set up for success and have a good group of people to work with, you will be able to enjoy the trip.
Download the Trip Planning Checklist
Meet the Bloggers
Miranda and Julia bringing over 20 years of experience in the horse industry in a wide variety of experiences and disciplines. Here on this equestrian blog we'll share our horse experiences, tips, plus advice on surviving as an adult amateur rider.