A vacation is that much more relaxing when you know your horse’s caretaker has the information necessary to maintain his normal routine. Before you depart, compile the particulars that will provide a complete profile of your horse for his sitter. Here’s a list of suggested items to note as well as questions to consider:
-Horse’s age and breed
-Color and characteristic markings
-What does he eat? How much grain? How much hay? When?
-How much water does he usually drink?
-Does he get supplements? Which ones? How much? When?
-Is he on any medications? Which ones? How much? When?
-In which pasture is he turned out? For how long? Wearing what?
-Does his halter stay on or off when he’s inside? Outside?
Behavior & Habits
-Must he be turned out or brought in first, second or last?
-Does he become upset if left alone in the barn or pasture?
-Does he need a chain over his nose when he’s handled? What, if any, other precautions are necessary for his handler?
-When and how much blanketing does he require?
-How much time does he spend lying in his stall?
-What’s his stall’s usual condition in the morning? How much manure is typical? What’s its consistency?
-What, if any, are his odd habits?
-What are his normal values for temperature, pulse and respiration rate?
-When was he last shod?
-Does he have allergies? To what? How does he react? What provides relief?
-Any recent health problems (colic, infection, lameness, injury, etc.)? When? Severity/extent?
-Any recent treatments or vaccinations (acupuncture, flu shots, joint injections, etc.)? When?
-Does he stock up overnight in his stall? Which legs? How much?
List the names and all phone numbers for your
-feed and hay supplier
-anyone who services your barn: plumber, electrician, fence builder, etc.
In addition, supply detailed driving directions to your barn from a well-known local landmark in case of emergency. Also provide your complete itinerary as well as how you can be reached. Discuss with your caretaker when and under what circumstances you expect a phone call. Also explain the kind of report you’d like on what happens while you’re away.
Now head out and relax!
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Practical Horseman.