Horse Sitter

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Horse Sitter

This is a discussion on Horse Sitter within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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  • 1 Post By boots
  • 1 Post By Ladytrails

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    05-10-2012, 08:38 PM
Horse Sitter

I need some input on what people pay to have someone feed and look after their horses while on vacation. Also, how do you find a reputable person you can trust with your horses? We have been using a neighbor boy, who has grown up with horses, but the older he gets, the worse job he does. We came back recently,after a 2 day trip, and the stalls were a complete disaster, and he left us with a full wheelbarrow of manure. I pre make their feed, and put them in plastic bags, and these were tossed around the barn. We always said as long as they were fed and watered, we would be happy, but it takes so long to clean up the mess after we get home, and we are usually exhausted by then. We have been paying him $20 a day, but I think he is overpaid for the amount of time he spends.
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    05-10-2012, 08:56 PM
When we go away, we pay about $50 per day. That is to feed and water 4 horses who live in paddocks and look after the smaller critters. Basically, we expect hay fed in the morning and hay again and grain in the evening. The water trough needs to be filled about every 2nd or 3rd day, but checked daily. We don't have a barn, so there are no stalls to muck and the horses go au natural (no blankets) so for short periods, no grooming is required. We also have 2 dogs that need to be fed and let out into the yard for a run morning and night, as well as 2 cats that get food and water. The dogs require more work and effort than the horses.
    05-10-2012, 09:39 PM
Green Broke
I keep my horse at an acquaintances place. If I go away they'll keep an eye on her and probably unrug/rug her (haven't been away in winter yet). She can go without hard feed for a few days as they are fed hay in the paddock. I don't pay for this. Recently, they went away and in return I house sat for them feeding their dogs and all 7 horses.

I prefer this way of trading services. Perhaps you have a horse friend who also goes away, who you can trade with? They do your horses while you are away and then you do theirs?

As a kid I kept my horse at communal paddocks and while we also did a trade system, if there was more work to be done (like mucking out) other owners would pay me a little bit to do it, but often we said no to the money and did it for free.

What I'd pay would depend on the amount of time required. If my horse required visiting twice a day the minimum I would probably pay is $20 if the person had to travel, if they were a neighbour/on the property possibly slightly less if they just needed to pull a rug off in the morning, and chuck it back on in the evening.

If he is required to do more than one horse and muck out stables I think $20 is a good price. Although, if he's getting older, $20 isn't really that much. He might be doing the job out of obligation rather than because he wants to. Have a talk with him and say you notice he hasn't been taking as much care as he used to, and if he'd prefer you to find someone else if you can, but perhaps still keep him for emergencies. He'll probably either decide he doesn't want to do it or pick up his game.
    05-10-2012, 10:13 PM
Green Broke
We are fortunate enough to live in a "neighborhood" (if you can consider a four mile road with several houses spread along it a neighborhood, lol) with several horsey neighbors. We all swap out farm-watching duties as needed for each other. There has never been any exchange of money, just a nice homemade goodie or something brought back from whatever trip someone went on - and the knowledge that you/they owe one.
    05-10-2012, 10:30 PM
I make $50/day. If it is for someone I school/exercise for I cut them a break and don't charge for riding that I do while watching the place. If it is for someone who only uses my services when they are gone and want riding, I add a nominal, but standard fee.

I stay on-site, and although I'm always told I can help myself to any food, I bring my own. I also clean the house and freshen all linens before I leave and leave a baked good or a meal ready for when they return.
bunny987 likes this.
    05-10-2012, 10:35 PM
Green Broke
I used to do this when my neighbors left. I loved it. The way I got around was simple, word of mouth. I didnt advertise myself what so ever, and there was a major horse circle where I used to live in NH surprisingly. I would sit for one place and by the end of the summer I was doing the same thing for 5-6 different places!! Of course I was still in hs then, and basically exchanged the work for just more horse time! Lol
    05-10-2012, 10:45 PM
I make $100 per day. That includes:

Morning: Feed and turn out horses(moving horses to back pasture w/quad)
Clean Stalls(32 stalls)
Feed goats, chickens, dogs and cats
Get mail

Evening: Fill Water Buckets, Hay in all stalls.
Bring in horses(they run from pastures into the barn and then are caught
and put in stalls)
Mix up and feed all horses(32 with many different supplements and meds)
Recheck all water buckets
Turn out lights and go home. LOL

The BO and I have broken the $100 down to cost per each chore, so if they just need me to do certain things, we know the pay, no questioning. I prefer to have it that way, much easier for me to have a set price per chore and then take my time doing it.
    05-10-2012, 11:28 PM
Thanks. I may need to talk with him. I know to a 21 yr old $20 a day may not be a lot, but that is for probably less than 30 minutes work!
    05-10-2012, 11:40 PM
We are lucky to have found a former vet tech who does this for horse and dog owners. She charges $45/day for 2 trips, plus mileage if over 25 miles from her house. She stays about an hour each trip, mostly because we have dogs (border collies) and she lets them out to run for a while before she puts them back in their crates. We have 6 horses, 2 with special feed needs (the rest are on pasture and automatic waterer); 12 sheep (pastured); 1 cat, and 3 dogs. It feels expensive but the peace of mind knowing that she likes the animals and knows what to do in an emergency is priceless.
Koolio likes this.

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