Traveling for the holidays? Make sure your horses are well-cared for.

Many people travel during the holidays. It can be nerve-wracking to leave your horse behind. They depend on you for so much. If you board your horse, it may be no problem to travel for an extended period of time. For those that keep their horses in their backyard, they’ll need a horse sitter! 

It can seem like a daunting endeavor, but with proper research you can find the perfect horse sitter. Ask yourself these questions when you begin this process. Consider them a guide on your path. Your vacation can be enjoyable without the stress of your horse’s care. Follow along!

Where can you find a horse sitter?

The best way to find a horse sitter is through a referral from your trainer, vet, or farrier. Most of these professionals won’t recommend one unless they’ve had a good experience with them or have heard positive things. You may even consider contacting a vet school. These students usually have medical training and would be happy to earn a few extra dollars.

Another popular option is through social media and online job boards. Most local areas have their own horse groups on Facebook. You can post an ‘in search of’ ad. Some people even advertise pet sitting services to horse owners.

What should you look for in one?

Your horse sitter will either have an established business or work on the side. Each type has their pros and cons. First, look for recommendations and positive reviews. Be wary of companies with negative feedback. Next, consider the amount and type of horse experience the individual has. 

In addition, make sure to meet the horse sitter in person before you hire them. They should be polite, professional, and knowledgeable. Trust your instincts! 

What important things should you check?

You’ll want to make sure this person is capable and up to the challenge of your individual needs. Start by asking for references. Former clients can offer their opinions and describe what the horse sitter did for them. You’ll also want to ask about previous horse experience. If you have a young, unpredictable horse, they should be a confident, experienced handler. Caring for a horse is much different than a dog or cat. They’ll need large animal experience.

Another important factor to consider is insurance. Does this person have their own or will your insurance policy cover them? You may have to pay more upfront for an insured sitter, but that can eliminate a lot of extra paperwork on your end.

How should you prepare for a horse sitter?

After you find a qualified horse sitter, you’ll need to prepare for them. Start by asking them to come ahead of time to familiarize themselves with your horses and routine. When the time comes to leave- label your horses’ stalls, provide emergency contact numbers, label food bins, and write out a checklist for them. You may also want to let your vet and farrier know you’ll be gone.

How much should you pay them?

Prices varies considerably from $10 for a single horse to over $200 a day for a farm. The range is influenced by the level of care, where you are located, and what is required. Extras like blanketing, cleaning paddocks, and a complicated feed routine can cost more. Work with the horse sitter to reach an agreement on the price.

Find a quality horse sitter and you can rest assure your horse will be happy and well-cared for. Safe travels this holiday season!


Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn’t writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily’s background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm.