Courtesy of SmartPak
I totally understand you. Most days it feels like the few hours spent at the barn (okay, maybe it’s many hours or maybe you ran away from adulting for a day to hang out with your horse, I’m not here to judge anyone) are a mini-vacation from the responsibilities waiting for you at work and at home. However, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and realize it’s time to get away and go on a real vacation. You know, the kind away from your horse. As terrifying as that sounds, it’s healthy to regroup and breathe for a bit, and with my help, we’ll ensure you’re prepared to leave your four-legged family member at home. With any luck, you’ll leave this blog feeling as confident as possible you will come home to the same happy and healthy horse you left behind!
One Month Out Check Your Schedule
Does your horse get routine farrier, chiropractor, or vet appointments? Get ahead of your schedule! Look at what you and your horse may have coming up. It could be something as simple as letting your barn manager know you won’t be there for a shoeing and leaving a check. Or it may be more involved, like calling the chiropractor and having him plan to look at your horse on his following visit to be sure you can be there and hear any updates. Having these simple things taken care of a few weeks before you hop a plane to somewhere warmer can make the packing and planning just a touch less stressful!
Know The Routine
Is your horse used to getting worked 3x a week? Do they look forward to weekly trail rides? Is a thorough grooming an essential part of the day? While having a week off seems relaxing to you and me, changing up your horse’s daily routine can be a very stressful event for him! Oftentimes other adults or barn-children are happy to help pick up a few extra tasks, especially when it’s something fun like going on light hacks or having another horse to lavish attention on. Even if you’re not comfortable with having someone else ride your little equine angel, having someone you trust to take your horse on walks around an arena or the farm property could be enough to keep him happy and engaged until you’re back to pick up right where you left off!
Two Weeks Out Have Supplies Ready
If your horse gets SmartPaks like mine, it’s always at the top of my list to make sure he has enough to get through my absence! It’s easy enough to move up your shipment date up a week or two to be sure there’s plenty on hand to be delivered right to the barn. With other things your horse often needs, it’s a good idea to keep some extra in your tack trunk or another easily accessible place. I like to make sure my horse’s emergency supplies kit is stocked up and ready for any bumps and scrapes he might find while playing with his friends. Of course there’s usually a fresh bag of his favorite treats, too, just in case someone wants to give in to his little begging face.
Provide Emergency Contacts
While it may seem silly to leave an emergency number for someone that looks after your horse every day already, it’s a great habit to get into! This way, your barn manager has a clear plan of action in case of an accident, and you have someone that can check in on your horse and confirm he’s doing well in your absence. While leaving on vacation is definitely about getting peace of mind and clarity for you, it’s nice to leave your horse’s care-team with the same confidence.
Before You Go, Spend Some Quiet Time Together
It doesn’t usually take much encouraging to get a horse person to spent time with their horse, but it’s worth pointing out that you may be very busy the last few days before you take off! Schedule a few hours to head out to the barn (and maybe allow for a few extra hours for when you get side tracked) and spend some quiet time with your horse. Take some extra time brushing and use that to take a good look at your horse, snap a mental (or actual) photo so you can exclaim over how great he looks when you come back. Go on a nice ride or walk together and pre-relax knowing that you’ve done all the necessary things to ensure he’s cared for while you’re gone. You’re a great horse-owner, now go be a great tourist or beach-goer somewhere fun!
Don’t you feel better already? I know leaving our perfect ponies behind can be a little traumatizing, but I’m confident you can go out and enjoy the vacation you deserve! Were any of these new ideas? What else do you do to make sure your horse is ready to have a vacation from you? Let me know what’s on your pre-packing list! But you can wait to tell me about it after you come back from your trip- and don’t forget your sunscreen!