Who takes care of your minis while you're away?

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TopSpout

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Hello!

I'm planning ahead for my first mini arriving soon, I am very excited and getting things ready for him. I am relatively new to the area and haven't met very many horsey people yet. My mini will be living with me and so I will be responsible for daily care, which won't be a problem. One thing I'm worried about though is going away for the weekend, my mom recently had surgery and so I go to visit her about every other weekend. It's a four hour drive and my fiance usually goes with me and stays with his dad on those weekends. So how can I manage this when my mini gets here? I'm just curious as to how some of you deal with going out of town. I emailed a lady that has a farm down the road from me but no response yet.

I could haul my mini and drop him off if I can find a short-term boarding solution, otherwise I could find someone to come over and take care of him throughout the day, but how do I know who to trust? I don't want to advertise when I will be out of town.

I'm in central Iowa if anyone has any specific suggestions, otherwise I'd just like to hear your solutions!

Thanks,

Tracy
 

Maple Hollow Farm

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Hi, I am in central Iowa as well! Most of the time my husband does chores when I am out of town but on the rare occasion he comes too we have had one of his friends and his dad do chores. I am always nervous leaving if my husband wont be there though. He knows it wont be a pretty scene if he skips anything or feeds the wrong amounts so is more careful, although I think his friend figured that out too because he called about 4 times every time he did chores to ask questions.
 

TopSpout

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<br />Hi, I am in central Iowa as well!  Most of the time my husband does chores when I am out of town but on the rare occasion he comes too we have had one of his friends and his dad do chores.   I am always nervous leaving if my husband wont be there though.  He knows it wont be a pretty scene if he skips anything or feeds the wrong amounts so is more careful, although I think his friend figured that out too because he called about 4 times every time he did chores to ask questions.<br />
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I have a feeling if I find someone to come over and help I will have them on speed dial, LOL. When my dog had neck surgery I called the vet twice a day to get status updates and I still worried about him all the time!

I am going to get a webcam out there, not to spy on his caretaker but just to keep an eye on him when I'm not around.

Maybe my future father-in-law will let me build a stall in his backyard and then I could take him with me.
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mydaddysjag

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Normally, my dad feeds and turns out for me if theres an emergency (for example, my son was just hospitalized for 5 days, then still very sick at home for about 6 days) and while my son was in the hospital, my dad fed for me, and the first week we were home, he fed AM feeding and turned the horses out for me. That way, I was able to stay home with my son. When my husband got home from work, I would go clean stalls, bring horses in, and feed PM feed. It works for me because my property where I keep my horses ia adjacent to my parents property.

If we were all going out of the area, it would depend. If I were just going away for a day, honestly, I would leave the horses stalled, and throw each of them quite a bit of hay. Not ideal, but honestly, it probably wont kill them not going out for 1 day and missing 1 or 2 feeding of grain. I would be more worried about hiring someone who didn't do things as directed and accidentally feeding the horses the wrong feed, over feeding, accidentally leaving a gate open, etc. Ive had a neighbor come into my field and let my horses loose out of the fence, which was almost devistating, so I worry a lot about others around my horses. If I needed to be out of town for more than 24 hours, I have a few close horse friends, and could probably find someone to feed for me. I know its not ideal, but I would probably let my horses stalled for up to 2 days. Anymore than that, I would have to find someone who was comfortable turning horses out and I was 100% sure would do things correctly, as I have a stallion, and a stud colt who is fairly un handle able. The colt is a devil to catch in the field, and I have tricks to get him in. The stallion is a saint, but none the less, hes still a stallion. We havent had the colt long, and as soon as his testicles drop hes going to be gelded.

Call your local county extension office, maybe you could find an older 4h "kid" (you can be up to 19 in 4h in my state) that would come over twice a day for a couple bucks. In my experience, older 4h kids are often very responsible, and they would know enough about horses to know if something were wrong.
 

targetsmom

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Is there a High School near you with an Ag Science Program? I used to get helpers from there that worked for me during the week so knew the animals and the routine. The last 2 are now in college and still help me out, especially when we go away!

I would also ask your vet as they are likely to know people who can help out.

We have also used a camera and Mare Stare to keep an eye on things while we are away. So we have needed WiFi at our accommodations for a long time.
 

Hosscrazy

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We use the Vet Tech who works for our vet; they handle small animals as well as equine. I love the security of having someone who can recognize if there's a problem (ie colic), can administer meds, etc. She sends us text messages and pictures every day and let's us know how everyone is doing. VERY nice feeling to know our kids are in good hands!

Liz N.
 
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Sandee

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We have an odd situation in that we live on the edge of a subdivision so I sent flyers around asking for young people interested in taking care of horses or learning to care for horses and then talked with the ones that replied. Consequently I ended up with about 3 or 4 names that I had come over see the horses and learn how to care for them and then I could call one of them to come for the weekend or the evening or whatever to feed and I paid them a small amount.

After my daughter moved near she started taking care of them when we vacationed. She wasn't as reliable as the teenagers. Now we are gone again and I took the whole gang down to my trainer's since he's not so busy in the winter.

If it's just for the weekend, you could figure out what they'll need for the day and feed and then find someone to come and put out that same amount the next day and just leave them in stalls. It's not ideal and yes, they will eat the whole amount as soon as they can but for 2 days it would work. The 4-H kid idea sounds good too.
 

chandab

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You mean I'm supposed to be able to get away?

We raise cattle, so rarely get away, but occassionally go overnight for something, and at those times usually I ask my BIL to take care of the horses (I used to ask my FIL, but he forgets to do stuff); I make it easy for him, he just has to check water and throw hay and only give feed to one special needs horse (I got the horse from, so he knows which one it is and he's in his own pen). [The majority go without their hard feed for the day I'm gone.]
 

Katiean

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When I get to go on a trip my sister in law has always fed for me. I have rabbits and chickens too. But my horses are now in a full care barn. I don't have to worry about them. It is just that I can not afford to go anywhere now that I am boarding. If I were you I would check around and see if there is a stable around you that takes short term boarding. I would advertise saying "Looking for short term or over night boarding" If you keep it generic no one will know when you go out of town except the people you board with. When you talk to people that answer your ad do not discuss WHEN you go out of town. Meet them face to face and look at there barn. Then if you like there barn and the board is acceptable you can then proceed with when you will be gone.
 

dannigirl

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You might let people around you that you are looking for a responsible young person--but must be old enough to drive. Then you need to have them around your horse when you are there to see how they interact. You may get lucky and get a couple of them so you don't have to count on just one.

After you find someone, I would suggest keeping the feeding program as simple as possible. You will need to write down exact directions and make sure they understand them. They will need the number of your vet for emergencies that need immediate help. You can make sure they know to call you first, but there are the rare occasions that you cannot be reached. It is also good to have someone else available to them (sometimes their parents will work) in case the horse gets out or something that requires more than one person.

We have over 50 horses and are very fortunate to have great neighbors. One does almost all the feeding and caring for them while we are away, but he has up to 3 or 4 young men that have families in our little neighborhood that he can call anytime. I also tell all of them that we will be gone and two drive by here daily on their way to and from work and the other lives within shouting distance so he keeps an eye on things.

My helper doesn't clean any stalls while I am gone, but will pay attention and put extra bedding into any stall that is wet. He doesn't let a horse stay in a wet stall. That is all that is important to me when I am gone. I can get the stalls clean when I get home.

Good luck

Angie
 

dannigirl

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Something I forgot. Our helper does leave horses out in the morning and in at night. I am sure to clearly mark any stall of stallions or youngsters that do not go out with the young mares and geldings (29 go out together currently) I have a number on each stall (37 stalls) so I put numbers of stalls to not let out with the group and where to send them. I then also tape a large note on each of those stall doors just to be sure. As for getting the 29 into the correct stalls--I will mark each stall with a color of the horse and the color of the halter (I use lots of halter colors) Most will go directly to their stall on their own and if he gets a couple mixed, it usually isn't a big deal.
 

supaspot

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No-one !!! I wouldnt trust anyone with my animals lol if we have a wedding or a funeral only one of us will go , we dont have holidays , the last time we went away together was our honeymoon over 25 years ago .
 

REO

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We don't go anywhere. Wish we had someone I could ask.

If we are both going somewhere for the day, I do tell a friend we are leaving home and ask them, that if they don't hear from me by a certain time, to know that something happened to us & to please call someone to deal with the horses. I feel better knowing that SOMEone would know to come to the horses if something happened to us.

Knowing my babies would Not sit here and starve gives me peace of mind
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mini horse mania

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We are allowed to leave? ?? Yay!!! We don't. ...if we have to..we leave plenty of hay and extra water tubs..and are gone less than 2 days..one of my friends may come by to check...but the One time we went on a week anniversary trip .....when we got back....we had 2 dead goats and the animal control was trying to confiscate our critters because my in laws did NOT take care of them like they said they would..i even paid them..they had no water at all when we got home....no one will take care of them like you would...I have learned my lesson after paying a lawyer and fought to get our animals back. Never again...
 

Riverrose28

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I share a farm hand with the cattle farm accross the road, and he knows the routine. Also when we go to a show either hubby and i go or hubby and daughter go or I and daughter go, so someone is always here. When all three of us went to Nationals I hired a pet sitter that I have known for 30 years and she helped our farm help.
 

Helicopter

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Can't go anywhere, ever.

Too many kids to look after including a couple with "special needs".
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I don't now anyone that I would trust to look after my guys properly.

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TopSpout

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Thank you all for your responses! I have some ideas on who to call around now to see about getting some help set up. I'm thinking it's good to do it now just in case an emergency comes up and I have to leave town on a whim.
 

Carolyn R

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Liz I love your idea. My father looks after the few I have kept and my big girl, but I question his judgement at times. I love him dearly, he does a great job, but he seems to forget that he needs to respect that he can still get hurt. Once he looped a lead around my minis neck, walked him to the stall for feeding time, didn't expect him to be so enthusiastic about wanting to eat and the mini bolted for his stall dragging my father. I told him he needed to put the halter on so he had more control, not to mention it is what the horse is use to. Why he didn't just let go of the rope I don't know, the stallions was not in the same building as the mares, there was no way he would get in with them, all he wanted was his dinner, he headed straight for the stall.

The last time we went away, he wanted to put the minis in, walked them through the large turnout while the big horse was in it, well she eagerly ran up behind him in the stall aisle and bumped him, he fell, the minis went running, she wanted to run after them and managed to clip him when he was down.
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I felt so bad, but he has been around horses much of his life, he knows better, just poor judgement. I told him minis need to be put in their turnout prior to the big girl being put out and they get put in after she is put in for the night. Their barn is inside the main turnout where my big girl gets put out. He is only in his later 60's but sometimes I think he has some senior moments when it comes to his judgement.
 
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Hawks_Eye_Minis

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My little brother hes 14 takes care of the horses for me when were gone and ill actually be leaving saterday coming home late sunday so ill mix up the horses grain pre soak it all and put it in ice cream buckets labled with the horse and dates its to be fed.... and beacuase im ocd i lay put piles of hay and lable them lol... but he knows how to turn them in and out makes it kinda easy with only the 2 horses

and even though ive told him he doesnt NEED to clean stalls i have yet to come home to a dirty stall
 

Barnmother

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We have been lucky to have a neighbor who takes care of them for us. She even cleans the stalls. We just leave written instructions for feed (hay only) and we have water troughs that are of the self filling variety. We also have a situations where their fields are attached to their stalls so we don't have to "move" anyone for feeding.

If we are just going to be gone one day, we make "hay balls" and hide them through out the pasture. They get more hay that way than they do if we feed them so they probably wish we'd do it more often. Remember troughs are 55 gallon and self filling.

That being said, we do our best not to both be gone at the same time, and if we are our first choice is to have our daughter (who has tons of horse experience) come and feed for us and check on them. But the neighbor has been great and we are truly lucky to have someone to trust!

We also have paid pet sitters in our small town, they will actually stay at your house and care for inside pets as well if needed. $20.00/day.
 

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