How to Travel When You Own Horses

How to Travel When You Own Horses

California or bust cartoonI was out of town for twelve days and left poor Bill to take care of the horses while I was gone. I returned with my dad (my mom arrived when I left), so we wanted to take our company to places around our cool new hometown. Some of those places are a “fer piece” from our homestead, so it brought up a question we’ve been skirting around since the arrival of our equine adoptees: What to do with the horses if we’re gone overnight?

The simplest thing to do is to leave them in the pasture with plenty of food and water and let them fend for themselves. I know people who do this, but I can’t. I know they have been fine out there every single day, but I couldn’t live with myself if something happened and no one was around to take care of it. But it is an option.

What I’d prefer to do, because it’s the least complicated and least stressful for the horses, is have a friend or neighbor come by while we’re gone. We’re still cultivating friends here, and while there are some mighty fine people here, and we like them a lot, we’re just not comfortable imposing on anyone that way yet. In a lot of places, there are companies you can pay to do the same thing…kind of like horse-sitting.

Another option is to board your horses. If we were to be gone for any length of time – say, a week – this is probably what we would do. That is, if we found a place close by our house. And if we actually owned a horse trailer, which we don’t. But that’s another option for those of you in a sizeable town who do own a trailer.

The most fun option and the most complicated is to take your horses with you. There are many “horse destination” vacations across the country. Some are simple campsites where you drive your horse trailer in, ride off on a trail in the morning and stake your horses next to the campfire at night. Kinda like the wild west. Others are ritzier – nice hotel, fancy barn, and paddock for the horses. A riding vacation sounds wonderful to me, but again we’re missing the all-important horse transportation device – the trailer. Sigh. Someday, though.

Our travel plans are further complicated by the fact that we have three dogs, a cat, a goat, and a lizard. So when we took Mom and Dad to Shiloh Battlefield on Saturday, we were obliged to rush halfway across the state in the morning and return, yawning, at 3:00 a.m. to let the sleepy horses into the barn and let the dogs, whose eyes were floating and legs were crossed, out. Ah, the glamorous life of the pet owner.

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