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Support system when keeping your horses at home

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  • #21
    I agree that your feed store can be a great resource. My local feed store keeps a great list of farm sitters, hay resources, and all sorts of others related to farms and they post copies on the bulletin board for anyone to take. I've called a few numbers on that list!
    My hopeful road to the 2020 RRP TB Makeover:


    • #22
      Farrier & dog vet sound like great places to ask. Anyone who has ever taken care of a dog at least understands that animals need water to drink & something to eat occasionally. At least you don't have to take horses for a walk so they can poop!

      Finding reliable people can be a challenge, but I would also do a search for petsitters (google/social sites/craigslist), you never know what you might stumble on & there are all kinds of small business types who work in rural locations. If they're insured & bonded, all the better. Even if they don't normally do horses, they might be able to be convinced to do simple tasks.

      If you have a feed store, worth an ask there too. Heck, I now have a fantastic hay supplier that I would never have found except a random guy in my feed store parking lot asked if I was looking for hay after hearing me ask the cashier about it. He then directed me to this awesome source that I wouldn't have found otherwise.
      Life doesn't have perfect footing.

      Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
      We Are Flying Solo


      • #23
        When I had arm and wrist surgery, it was to be day surgery.
        In recovery, my heart quit four times, so they wanted to keep me overnight for observation.
        Word got around and neighbors came over to see that I was ok.

        I found out how nice neighbor's here are when I could hear two in the hallway fussing about who would feed my horses, both wanted to!
        I had prepared all well so I could take care of the four horses with one arm only.
        They were out on pasture and hay was stacked where all you had to do is push some flakes thru bars into their shed and look at the three large automatic fill water thoughts and look the horses over as they ate.

        What can I say, get thee nice neighbors and problem solved.


        • #24
          Get thee regularly to church! :-) (or synagogue, or shrine, or Temple of the Spirit of the Swaying Pines, whatever). Sometimes church is the best way to meet the nice neighbors and the people who care about community.


          • #25
            Like wildlifer , I have things setup so even non-horsy peeps could feed & water.
            My 1st farmsitter was a woman (neighbor) who knew zip, but could toss a flake of hay into a stall & dump pre-bagged feed in a pan.

            Horses are out 24/7 - stalls open to paddock, that opens to pastures.
            They come in, on their own & separate into stalls for feeding.
            3 geldings: horse, pony, mini.

            I am also fortunate to have neighbors across the road who have horses.
            And whose son has basically adopted me (I call him my Faux Grandson).
            In a pinch they can feed for me, but I generally pay a farmsitter as I don't want to inconvenience them with 2X daily feeds.
            For planned trips I prebag grain, but in an emergency horses could survive on hay & water.
            My horse-savvy friends (who own & manage a boarding barn) live 20min away & I have yet to draft them for help, but if I had to, I'd ask.

            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


            • #26
              Become friends with your vet and farrier, they always know the local kids or horse savvy people willing to help. Also, get involved in your local horse Facebook groups and pony club. In the event I'm sick but can get up to make myself tea then I just push through and go get them fed and turned out. If I were to ever be 100% out of commission or out of town then I have a whole list of people from those groups who can assist if necessary.

              A huge thing that has helped when I needed assistance was having feed prebagged and a feed/hay chart on the wall. All my helper needed to do was grab the labeled ziplock bags full of feed and dump them into the labeled buckets. I make sure that I always have 7 days made up so that there is always something ready for an emergency. Also, on your feed chart list markings for each horse. Mine are easy since they are three different colors so the helper knows pony 1 is the grey with a split ear, horse is the large chestnut (red) horse, and pony 2 is the little pinto (two tone) horse. I make sure that all colors are listed so a horse savvy and non horse savvy person can tell each horse apart.


              • #27
                Ya I wouldn’t worry too much about finding a horsey person. The best horse care people i’ve had are non horsey neighbors and friends. I had a friend who was a delivery driver and would randomly stop to check on things, he was out driving around anyway and it gave him a nice break (and a pee!)


                • #28
                  Originally posted by SharonA View Post
                  Get thee regularly to church! :-) (or synagogue, or shrine, or Temple of the Spirit of the Swaying Pines, whatever). Sometimes church is the best way to meet the nice neighbors and the people who care about community.
                  This is actually a really good idea, especially in more rural areas. My neighbor with whom I swap pet sitting is the childrens' choir director at church. Another neighbor I buy hay from is also a member of that church. Without having gone there myself, I'm pretty sure I would not have gotten to know either neighbor as well as I do. I've seen the church members come together to help and support numerous people/situations over the years. Luckily, I've never had to ask for help, but I think they'd be there if I ever did.

                  The community aspect is what I like best about my small church. I'm a bit wishy-washy on religion, but this church has been excellent for surrounding my son with a lot of caring adults, and a general sense of community.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                    When I had arm and wrist surgery, it was to be day surgery.
                    In recovery, my heart quit four times, so they wanted to keep me overnight for observation.
                    OMG, that sounds absolutely terrifying! Glad you were ok in the end - and that you had good neighbors!

                    Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. My secular upbringing makes the Church option a *little* less palatable (I tried to join the Choir last year and then the pastor went on and on about seeing Jesus in his potato chips, and well, that was it for me...). But I understand that they seem to be a big social part of rural communities in this country. Might need to try a different one. Or find the closest Temple of the Spirit of the Swaying Pines!

                    Thanks everyone!


                    • #30
                      Similar to Blueys situation, the day after my second horse dropped dead of a mystery illness, the lady i was a WS for went to the ER and ended up needing a four way bypass... so the boarders called me and the other WS and asked for our help. We kept her place going for the 3 months of her bypass and recovery.
                      I guess my suggestion is to consider if a boarder who works off some board (and can fill in, in a pinch) is an option for you or your area.
                      Last edited by Angela Freda; Jan. 4, 2020, 11:16 PM.
                      Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014



                      • #31
                        I'm lucky to have a young woman come and muck out three days a week and a guy who does work on our place bring up hay and mow, etc. Even if you have the money to pay people it is very hard to find people to help. Also I am lucky to have great horsey neighbor's with whom we share help. It gives someone a full time job to work between two backyard horse places. Ultimately , it is ME, but since I got the Fitbit today, realize I get quite a bit of steps just feeding!


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by Angela Freda View Post
                          I guess my suggestion is to consider if a boarder who works off some board (and can fill in, in a pinch) is an option for you or your area.
                          That's actually a really good idea - as well as the next one of "sharing" help with other farms in the area.
                          Thanks everyone!


                          • #33
                            In your situation, I would either look for a boarder who will help, or I would look for someone to work, say one day/week. If you can afford it, you can get someone used to your setup and can gauge their reliability while you are there. Then you can be more comfortable when you are away or sick.

                            Others have good suggestions of asking vets, tack shops, farriers, or vo-ag schools. I think you have a greater chance of getting someone reliable if you can offer some consistent work.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by MsM View Post
                              think you have a greater chance of getting someone reliable if you can offer some consistent work.
                              Agreed! Now to find someone interested in this...


                              • #35
                                Honestly, beyond family networks, very good friends. I am that friend to someone - and while I am not exactly close (try seven hours by car, or a two hour international flight) I am blessed that I have a job with ample vacation time and coworkers who are very understanding. Some are easier to plan (family wedding, needing someone at the farm) but others are more immediate (an accident involving a broken wrist). The biggest issue for me is that they almost never anticipate needing my assistance so they don't have time to simplify what can be a fairly convoluted system (three horses with very individual special needs in terms of feeding, plus one that's not SO sensitive but still particular, and then the last who is a tank and requires nothing out of the ordinary). It gets complicated fast, but with some labels and writing down who gets what, I'm able to make do. The horses may not be pleased that meals are delivered a little more slowly than normal because I'm checking and double checking, but it works out in a pinch - which is almost always what my presence means.

                                Network, network, network. And if your networking leads you to some very remote friends, try to find ones that have work-from-home jobs or a lot of vacation time. (As others have said, vets, farriers, your local feed shops & tack stores may all be good leads. Keep in mind that a lot of the times while a horse person is going to be preferable, most of the tasks of an emergency I NEED HELP PLEASE! moment can be done by a reasonably fit person who is simply good at following instruction. And on the property owner's part, even though you may not need things labeled, I have found it a blessing when they take up the practice of labelling things "just in case" someone needs to help - what hay is alfalfa, which is orchard, what's first vs second cutting, what grain is what. Having things labeled makes it SO much easier for people to come in and help...the bigger and more obvious, the better!)