I would proceed with a bit of caution, especially if you are in the UK. (I can’t speak as well to other parts of the world at the moment.) I’m a sitter with extensive experience with horses and I have had non-stop invitations to sit since joining and I know the majority of them have been ultimately unable to secure a sitter. If you are at all rural, which I’m assuming you might be, and your sit requires that the sitters have a car, I know that has been a significant barrier. In regards to insurance, I carry a policy that covers me for everything I was worried about (vet expenses, public liability etc.) when I am handling and riding other peoples horses, but NOT if I’m doing it in exchange for a wage. It might be worth asking potential sitters if they carry such a policy as a way ease that concern and as an indicator about whether a sitter is positioning themselves specifically to look after horses.
@AmyS Our family completed a farm sit in Georgia for 2 horses, 4 dogs, 1 baby lamb, 1 sheep, 1 goose, 1 duck, 1 outdoor cat, 1 bird, 1 bunny & 12 hens. It was one of the best experiences!!
Communication & transparency from both the owner & sitter is definitely key. We were upfront and honest about our horse experience in our application & Zoom, and expressed our willingness to learn anything we did not already know. We signed a horse waiver (this was required in Georgia - check your region and see if they have anything similar for more peace of mind). The owner gave an in-person walk thru and provided detailed written instructions to reference. She was always available if needed and we sent videos to help monitor an injury one of the horses was recovering from. Based on the videos, the owner was able to watch the horse’s progress and coordinate proper care. She decided to add an Epsom salt soak to the regime, so sent us tips on how to administer. Both horses loved grooming, so I learned how to do horse braids and my daughter loved brushing them! I know this owner has had many successful sitters before & after our family, so a menagerie of animals is always attractive to the right sitter
We completed another sit in North Carolina with 4 horses on the property. They had routine workers who continued their care while we stayed & cared for the other pets. However, we were encouraged to visit the horses in their pasture and enjoyed spending time in their company.
All in all, just make sure you verbalize any concerns & priorities, ask as many questions as you can think of, really screen potential sitters prior to confirming them, and make sure you / a local contact is always available. I would say an experienced sitter in general would be your best bet - you can see how they have adapted & handled previous situations, and get a better feel for their communication and overall judgment.
I am new to THS and joined specifically to find a sitter for when we gon on holiday.
However I’m really interested and excited about the possibility of also being a sitter, so I have a question I’d like to ask…
…if you found your ideal sitter who had all the experience you required would you consider allowing them to bring their own dog???
The reason I ask is that for the last thirty years my hubby and I were farmers, rearing cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, horses and children.
We had four horses and my daughter and I competed regularly, our horses lived in during the winter (clipped and rugged) and our during the summer, so I would class myself as experienced. It just doesn’t make sense for me to become a sitter if I then had to find a sitter for my own dog!!!
Hi @LizzieS … I’m sure you’ll get some feedback from @AmyS and other members, but just dipping in to share another thread with you on this very topic of sitting with your own pets - you might find it an interesting read. All the best, Vanessa
Thanks @Vanessa-ForumCMgr thats a really interesting thread, I guess the kind of HO that might consider us would be a small holder who perhaps needed the goat milked and someone who would spit fly-strike on their sheep! Probably not the majority but who knows?
I think it is best to have a video talk with potential sitters. We have people the day before so we can show the routine as well as full instructions. We have had two excellent sitters and one that did not follow instructions and caused a bit of harm. We had other people on call to help. Just be careful and make sure that you are really happy with the sitters before you accept. Good luck.