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Emergency Plans For Horse Sitters

Updated on May 1, 2008

When a horse owner leaves their horse in the care of others, it

can be a nerve wrecking experience. The thoughts of what

might go wrong can plague you, even if you have faith in the

abilities of the caregivers. What if's can play games with your

mind; what if the horse becomes ill, what if they get out, what

if he or she is injured, what if there's an emergency where a

vet is necessary?

I house sit for a man who owns five horses. They are all in

close quarters, wandering freely around a large stall. One

night, we came down to feed and found his older mare in

one of the covered areas. She had been kicked by one of

his newer horses, and her leg hung limp. She had a

baseball-sized wound on the inside of her back thigh and

she was squirting blood from an open vein. We immediately

called his neighbors, who also owned horses. They came

over right away and helped us to keep her comfortable.

We tried to call the vet listed, but he wouldn't come up until

the morning. Luckily, our neighbors had their vet and called

her right away. She came out as soon as she could and

examined her. Needless to say, the mare's leg was broken,

and she needed to be put to sleep. We spent the next

forty-five minutes or so trying to contact the owner. After

we finally caught him, he spoke to the vet for five minutes

before giving permission. Two hours after we found her,

she was euthenized.

Situations like this are why it's essential to have a plan in

effect. If the horse is being watched at home, be sure that

there are friends with horse savvy who can be called for

help in the case of an emergency. Leave a list of emergency

numbers, including, but not limited to, your vet and farrier.

Have a plan for any extreme situation, including if your

horse needs to be euthenized. Should you be unavailable,

tell a family member or close friend what you would want

should your horse be in pain. Having these plans ready may

help your horse, and ease your nerves.


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    • MissSarah profile image


      10 years ago from Central Coast, California

      Good article, as this is a VERY important thing for horse owners to consider. Never choose a "sitter" without equine experience and without at least a genearl knowledge of horse health and lameness issues.

    • ridendurance profile image


      10 years ago

      As a horse owner I am blessed to have friends who are also familiar with horses to "horse-sit" for me. Even so, you are concerned, as anything can happen when multiple equines are concerned. Horses can get sick or injured and the list grows in your mind. I try to keep my chores as simple as possible and with the least possible amount of gate opening and horse mingling for the care giver. I do try to design my horsekeeping set up with that in mind. Thanks for your post!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      You are sooo right

    • cjcs profile image


      10 years ago from Albuquerque, NM

      It's very sad when something like that happens. Unfortunately, even with the best of care sometimes bad things *do* happen. While horses are strong and resilient friends, they can also be amazingly fragile, as well. An owner setting up for the contingencies when they are away is excellent advice.


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