Trusting someone to look after your horses for a year
We are heading out of the country for a year, starting in June. The thing stressing me out the most is where to park my horse and my daughter's pony for a year.
So far we have had a couple of options on the pony:
1. The woman (vet tech) that feeds them when we are out of town loves the pony and has offered to keep him in her yard while we are gone. I have a couple of concerns with this - a) she has a cattle guard, b) he would be all on his own and he's quite a sociable little guy (she has chickens, pigs etc, but no equines), c) it's only about an acre.
2. A local woman with a couple of donkeys has said he could maybe go in with the donks, but, a) it's on a pretty main road, with a barbed wire fence, b) I don't think she really knows much about horses at all, just has a field and a couple of donkeys c) there doesn't seem to be any shade, and we are in TX
I have just contacted someone else with a good reputation who has a couple of small kids that might be interested. He would be a great fit there.
My old guy is even harder (for me!). He'll be 21 this year. He's really a great horse and a super ride. I've had him 16 years and only a handful of people other than me have ever ridden him. The 12 yo girl that comes and rides him 1-2 a week is very keen to have him and her Mum seems amenable but they really know nothing about looking after horses. The kid is a super rider and I think he would be a good teacher for her. I am hopeful that the folks that live next door to them, a vet and farrier couple, might let her board with them and that would hopefully deal with my concerns about his well being while still letting the girl have him for her mount. One other thing that did bother me a little was that they spoke about hauling him to her lessons so that she could lesson on him, but I have to think that they have never hauled and that just adds a whole new level of concern.
Not really looking for answers, just stressing.
(We are also hopeful that the people that rent the house will let our dog stay here with them!!)
I'm living this right now as I type from Abu Dhabi, UAE. The horse is on retirement board and the dogs/cats/parrot are staying with my mom. This is the only way I could ensure I had peace of mind being 8,000 miles away from home. Paying board is a dent on the wallet for sure but knowing I don't have to worry about his care or wellbeing is priceless.
I'm afraid boarding them with a reputable boarding barn is the only way I see to make sure they ae kept well for that length of time. I know that nowhere is perfect and things can go wrong no matter what but you're starting ahead with a place that is properly set up.
Many years ago we had a cat come up with a large and nasty abcess just before a long planned vacation and the only logical course of action was to board the cat with the vet. We had a decent sized bill but no surprises, no worries and a fully healed cat when we got back.
Pay to board them both at a reputable barn, and have your farrier continue to do their feet regularly so you can call him, and check on their condition regularly. Find a home for your dog with relatives/friends, or bring him with.
What you are suggesting, and giving options like cattle guards/barbed wire on small lot near a busy rd and leaving your dog at your rental home, without you paying for boarding, sounds like you basically want to dump them but justify it in your mind that "Someone was supposed to be taking care of them", to ease a guilty conscience..
Suck it up and pay to board them if you want to keep them. Even if you free lease them out, you should be having the person doing the free lease pay YOU and you pay the board, to make sure that board gets pd, and horse doesn't end up having a lien by BO filed on them for nonpayment of board.
BTDT & just paid board. It was cheap turnout/retirement board, but it wasn't anyone else's problem that I was on deployment. I set up a joint checking account with my Dad so he could write the board check monthly. He didn't have access to anything beyond that.
Where are you located? I would suggest maybe sending them to a good "retirement" boarding barn, where that is what they are using to doing. It may have to be out of state, but I think it is worth it to find a GOOD place if you aren't going to set eyes on them for an entire year.
Is your daughter going to out grow the pony in the time you are gone? If that's the case I would sell the pony now, before you leave. Imagine saying good bye to your pony for a year, being reunited, and then selling again in a years time, lets say.
I would not trust new tenants to care for my dog. Isn't there SOMEONE who can take your dog for you that you KNOW?
I'm just about to live this situation myself (though only for 5 months) as while I had planned on buying a pony after my school/work related trip to central Europe, the perfect pony came up for sale at a great price 6 months prior to my trip and the finances for keeping him safe and sound both while I'm in and out of the country worked out perfectly as well.
In my case, pony is staying at his current boarding location, which is 24/7 pasture board with run-in sheds and free choice hay. I think keeping him in the pasture really simplifies things for the barn owner/manager and my SO who will be dealing with his blanketing and supplemental feeding (both of which only occur in the coldest months).
I feel really good about this situation as the BOs have several other boarders who are "absentee owners" for some reason another and those horses look fantastic. They are still a healthy weight, the BOs make sure they receive regular hoof and vet care and even have their teenage working student brush them a couple of times a month even if the owner is not paying for any sort of special care. In fact, while I will miss him terribly, this is probably the best I've ever felt about leaving a horse in others' care for any length of time, simply because I know this barn has a culture/history of taking good care of absentee owners's horses well. Definitely ask around at various boarding barns in your area to find the ones that have this reputation.
I did it when I left the US; I paid board on my pony and returned the lease pony I had.
One thing I'd recommend that you not forget to do is give whoever is taking care of your horse/s a letter indicating what level of vet care you will pay for and giving them to right to have the horse put down in case of emergency.
After I'd been gone for a year, I decided to rehome mine and gave her to a new home. Noctis seems pretty happy with her.
but I would definitely pay board, not try to find the best free situation, if only to have the peace of mind and standard of care. If this isn't something that you can afford to do, then I would rehome both horses (and the dog, leaving a pet with complete strangers is more than hard).
It sounds like your problem is trusting someone to take care of your horses...without having to pay them.
And leave your dog with total strangers?
Not trying to start a train wreck here, but that is just not cool.
The people that are likely going to rent our house are good friends. I wouldn't dream of leaving the dog with people we don't know well.
I would certainly consider boarding them, but how do I get any guarantee on that either, and quite honestly if you saw the options around here, my fears are quite grounded. How many threads do we see on here that someone has left their horses and come back and either they've been sold or are emaciated. I'd obviously rather have the horses with people I know.
Responded with the previous 2 posts before I read them all.
Firstly, finances aren't the issue and are not a consideration here. Making sure they are in a safe, good environment is the key.
The dog is a border collie, she's 9, she's a confirmed herder and needs to be on a property that is fully fenced. She's desperately friendly and is a good dog, but a very hard dog to find someone to keep for a year. She is an outside dog and will chew up the furniture etc and get bored if kept inside. The folks that are first in line for renting are people that we have known for years and are very friendly with, that are looking for a move to the middle of nowhere. They are happy for the dog to stay and the dog will be happy to stay. However, these people know nothing about horses so leaving the horses with them is not an option. If this rental falls through then our options would be to either take the dog with us, or worst case scenario have her put down (which I can't imagine doing). I have networked extensively to see if anyone would be interested in her. I absolutely would not dump her.
Sansena - where did you get the impression that the kid is going to decide where the horse stays? The only comment I made was that there is a vet/farrier couple living next door to them that I am hopeful he can board with. Of course it would be me having that discussion.
Jetsmom - I can see how you might have got the view that you did from my post. However, I was merely writing down the options, not stating that they were good options. To put in perspective also - a "main road" for me, is a road that has more than 1 car every 10 minutes.
Certainly, if you knew me and my happy little crew, you wouldn't think I was going to dump anyone. If I was, then I wouldn't need to be stressing would I ? I would just dump them :-)
Regardless of whether my daughter grows out of the pony while we are gone, he's not going anywhere. My easiest option would be to return him to the rescue that we adopted him from (No cowgirljenn - he's NOT coming back!) but that isn't going to happen, as our intent would be to ship both of them over to the UK a year from now, if we decided to stay longer.
Find a competent horse person to rent your home. Give them a huge discount to take care of your animals. Have trusted friends and possibly your vet/farrier check on them periodically.
This is the best solution I can see unless you board them full care somewhere. The one place with a cattle guard is a wreck waiting to happen as a pony can jump a cattle guard without thinking about it.
I have a hard time going on vacation and leaving our animals. We always take our dogs with us. A year is a long, long time.....