Saturday, September 12, 2020

Preparation Is Key: Leaving Your Horses For Months

What do I do to get ready to be away for months is another common question I’m asked.  This is more concerning the Super Mares, and not things like my truck and trailer.  The most important thing is to have someone you trust to look after your horses.  Too many times I have seen horror stories after someone left their horse or horses with someone they didn’t know for that long, or personally did not know but was just recommended to them.

An authorized agent is something you need to have in place.  That is someone authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf while you’re away.  Some vets have their own form you can sign that authorizes that person, others require a Power of Attorney to do it.  Either way, do it and make sure your Authorized Agent’s contact information is included in the file.  This guarantees that if for some reason the vet is not able to get a hold of you, there is someone in the local area they can speak with regarding medical care if needed.  I don’t care if you are even just one state away and not on the other side of the world, you need to have this in place.  I have two, obviously The Other Half, and then my friend that is taking care of them.  I recommend you have one in your file even when you’re not gone.  You just never know.  What if something were to happen while you’re in an area with no cell service one day?  

I also always have a card on file with the vet.  I imagine most of you do, some practices require it, but if you don’t, that’s something else you should seriously consider.

Have that hard talk with your Authorized Agent(s) (and your caretaker if they are not the same person) of what your threshold is if serious illness or injury were to occur.  Let them know your limits financially and ethically.  This can be a hard conversation to have, but it needs to happen because it will be much worse of a conversation to have in the middle of an emergency.  I am very fortunate in that my friend and I are on the same page. 

Tell your equine professionals (farrier, chiro, etc…) that you’re leaving as well and who will be caring for your horses.  This way they know who to contact if appointments need to be changed, or if your caretaker needs a random appointment for something like a thrown shoe.

Change your autoships if you need to.  It may be easier to just have things like treats, fly spray, SmartPaks go directly to your caretaker.  Amazon is your friend too.

Make sure your First Aid Kit is stocked up.  That way your horse or horses have supplies if they need it and no one is running around looking for things that aren’t there.  Ask your caretaker where they would like it to be kept, that way they know exactly where it is.

I also left the keys to my truck and trailer with my friend.  

Truck and trailer spotless and prepped to take a break.

An app like Marco Polo is amazing while you’re away.  The beautiful thing about Marco Polo, if you are unfamiliar with it, is that you will always receive the videos.  It’s a video text app, but it can also do live videos if you are watching it while someone is messaging you.  This is super helpful because the videos don’t take up space on your phone.  You don’t have to worry about the quality or if they are too big for a text message, etc…  This way you can see your horse or be present for things like vet visits, even though you can’t be physically present.  

Super B noticing that gorgeous mare looking back at her on the phone.

My friend also has multiple ways of reaching me if she needs to.  It’s not as easy as just calling my phone right now.  If this means you get a Google Voice number, WhatsApp, etc… then do it.  

Have Zelle, PayPal, Venmo or something similar set up in case unforeseen issues arise or extra supplies are needed for whatever reason.  These apps make sending money quick and easy.  For example, Klein recently broke something in her paddock, I told my friend to let me know what I owe her to get it fixed and I’ll Zelle her immediately. 

Have your grooming supplies stocked.  That way there is plenty of shampoo, conditioner, etc...  

I had all of their sheets, saddle pads, and wraps professionally laundered and bagged up neatly before I left.  All of my tack was deep cleaned and prepped to sit for months (appropriate covers, bags, etc…).

These are just some ideas, I would say veterinary care planning is without a doubt the most important. 

Then...off you go.  

I lost count of the number of sunrises and sunsets I saw in one 24 hour period.  After over 44 hours of traveling, you know what I wasn't worried about?  Things involving my girls.  The peace of mind you get from being well prepared is absolutely priceless when you have a big job ahead of you.  I cannot explain the feeling of massive relief knowing my girls are in the best possible situation while I am not home.  Also, as soon as I go to the airport, the timer reverses and the count down is on until the day I come home.  Leaving is tough but, your mindset makes all the difference in the world.

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