Have horses?


What’s a vacation?

After I wrote a post about what to do with your dogs when you go on vacation, I thought about what to do with your horses when you go on vacation.

Now of course there’s a lot more people who own dogs than own horses, and this post will only be a passing interest to non-horse owners. Horses require a lot more planning for their care if the owner takes a holiday. Dogs are smaller, can fit into cars, and can be easily transported to a kennel or join the family on vacation.

Bliss with horses. 8 ways to spend more time with horses.

Some owners board their horses at full care facilities. For you non-horsey people reading this, that means they pay a farm owner a lot of money to fully take care of their horse. The farm owner buys the hay and grain, feeds the horse, cleans its stall, and puts it in and out of the pasture daily. In other words, the farm owner has full responsibility for taking care of the horse. This is a good situation because the horse owner doesn’t need to show up everyday because they’re paying someone else to take care of their horse. The same goes when they want to take a vacation. They’re paying someone for full board on their horse, and they can go away and not worry about their horse because it’s being taken care of.

Other people, like myself, keep their horse in a self-boarding situation. That means I pay the farm owner to keep my horse on their property. Everything else I take care of. I buy the hay and grain, I feed my horses, and I’m responsible for the horse care. I have to show up everyday to feed my horses, groom them, and check them over for injuries and illnesses.

A similar situation is for people who live on farms. They’re fully responsible for their horse’s care.

You just can’t up and go on vacation and leave your horses to fend for themselves. There aren’t very many options available to horse owners other than just not going on vacation. Or is there?

What can you do with your horses when you go on vacation?

  1. Take the horse with you. Don’t laugh. If you have a truck and a horse trailer, or access to one, there are places you can take your horse on vacation. Skagit Valley Provincial Park near Hope, British Columbia has camping sites with horse corrals. There are also bed and bale guesthouses that welcome horses. Do a search for the Backcountry Horsemen in your area and they’ll have links to campsites and accommodations where you can stay with your horse.
  2. Friends and family. This is probably the next choice, especially if these are people who live in your household, or don’t mind driving out to the place you board your horses to tend to them. Preferably these are people who know about horses, or enough to understand if a horse is in need of medical or emergency treatment.
  3. Trainer/Instructor. If you take riding lessons, perhaps your trainer or instructor can tend to your horse while you take a vacation.
  4. Farm owner. Even if you do self-boarding, often you can make arrangements with the farm owner to feed your horses, or if they’re turned out in a lush pasture, at least check them over each day to make sure they’re OK. You’re better off scheduling your vacation for times when the pasture is self-sufficient for grazing. Forget about a Hawaiian or Mexican vacation during the winter when horses need to be fed daily.
  5. Full board stable. If you do self board or live on acreage and are used to doing all the horse chores yourself, it can be tough to take your horse to a full board horse farm. Sometimes that’s the thing you have to do, depending on how bad you want to go on holiday. Your horse will be fed and monitored daily by professionals.
  6. Horse sitter. Ask around or check Craigslist or do an Internet search. There are business where experienced horse people will come out to your farm or your self board stable and take care of your horse. They charge per visit, and it can add up, especially if you have stalls to be cleaned. You’re paying a person for at least a minimum one hour plus their driving time and gas money. If you have several horses this might make economic sense. Otherwise the full boarding stable might be a better option.

Me? Vacation?

What do I do with my horses when I go on vacation?


I’m usually in the what’s a vacation category?

I do take short trips when the pasture is growing sufficiently at the farm I board my horses at. Usually the grass is pretty good from March to November. Once we’ve had a hard frost or snow or freezing temperatures, the horses need hay or alfalfa daily plus their grain. I’m lucky that I live in an area where the pasture grows for most of the year. I’ve gone away for up to a week and worry about my horses the whole time.

Do you have any other suggestions on what to do with your horses when you go on vacation?


When I first published this post I had three horses. The two seniors have passed away, leaving me with Cajun.

Wednesday Thoughts: 6 Things on my Mind Today!

He’s now in full boarding at a facility that specializes in retired horses and absentee horse owners. I’m now ready to begin my new life as a nomad.

Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on June 28, 2017 and updated on June 30, 2023.

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  1. My dad loves horses and my mom bought a new one for his birthday, now, they need to bring it to the farm. It was explained here that some pay someone else to take care of the horse. Moreover, for quality horse trailers for travelling it’s best to go to trusted suppliers.

  2. My sister loves horses and planning to buy one, but after a month she’ll be going on a long vacation. It was discussed here that there are full care facilities for horses where she can leave them while on a trip. Furthermore, it’s advisable to go to pet experts when planning to buy a horse for sale.

    1. Hi Vanessa, a pet expert when looking to buy a horse won’t be much use unless they’re a horse expert. I’ve never taken an “expert” with me when I’ve been looking to buy a horse. I have a lifetime of experience I draw on when making a decision.

  3. Thank you for your comment about some horse owners that leave their horse at a full care facility when they are away. My sister is planning on buying a large plot of land to keep her horses on so that she can finally be in the same area as them rather than keeping them on someone else land. She is also, unfortunately, going on vacation, so she will probably have to leave them there longer or have them go to an official full-care facility.

    1. Sandra – there’s nothing better than living at the same place as your horses! Your sister is very lucky. Unfortunately, that’s not a reality when you live in the highest priced housing market in Canada. To buy a couple of acres with a house and barn and fenced, easily looking at over a million dollars – and that would be a fixer upper!

  4. It was really helpful when you mentioned that some people board their horses at a facility that can take care of them full time. My sister is going out of town for about a week to attend her inlaw’s wedding and she doesn’t want to leave her horses alone in the pasture on her property. I will have to suggest to my sister that she could leave the horses at a boarding facility so that she doesn’t have to worry about them.

  5. My wife and I are looking to buy a horse farm in Harris County, Georgia and plan on having 4 horses. I am going to try to meet some other responsible local horse owners who are willing to trade vacation horsesitting duties a couple of times per year.

  6. I am an experienced rider (raised with horses and showed a bit) and fellow horse lover. Although it’s been a min In the past I have exercised others horses, and for a stint volunteered with a horse/special-needs program. Unfortunately I live in a city setting at this time. I think I might be a great fit for horsesitting what in your opinion is the best way to get the word out there to owners and what is the going rate?

    1. Hi Nancy. You could advertise on Facebook or Craigslist or if you have your own website. On Facebook there is a pet and farm sitting group for BC so check for your area and join any groups. Rates would depend on whether you’re living on the property while taking care of the horses or driving there once or twice a day. Also depends on how many horses you’re in charge of. And if the horse is out on pasture all the time or needs turn in and turn out and stalls or paddocks mucked out daily. If you’re staying on the farm $50 to $100 a day. If you’re driving daily, at least $15 a horse plus your travel time and double it if you need to go out twice a day. I was looking at a housesitting job, not that I was considering because it’s across the country and not in a time frame for me, but I was wondering about the rate. A lot of housesitting sites are a swap. The house/farm sitter gets a free place to stay while taking care of the owner’s animals.It’s a job but it’s a swap, so work exchange should be fair. Someone had an apartment for the housesitter to stay in. And 25 horses turn in/turn out, feed, water, clean stalls. And no money paid to the sitter, just enjoy living in my space while I’m on holiday. Well that made me laugh. Good luck with finding someone to do all this work for free!

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post on what to do with horses when going on vacation. It’s essential to have a plan in place to ensure their well-being during our absence. One aspect that caught my attention is the consideration of a hot horse. Understanding the unique needs of a hot horse is crucial when making arrangements. Ensuring they have access to shade, water, and appropriate cooling methods is paramount. Additionally, finding a caretaker who is experienced and knowledgeable in handling hot horses is essential for their safety and comfort. It’s wonderful to see the emphasis on comprehensive care and addressing the specific needs of hot horses in your post. Thank you for sharing these valuable insights and providing guidance to horse owners on how to best care for their equine companions when going on vacation.

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