We have heard so many stories from peoples past experiences with horse sitters and grooms, some of which are bad, some scary and some down right horrifying. We hope that we can give you a few pointers in what to look for when recruiting a horse sitter or a groom to ensure you have peace of mind while you are away.
• Look for someone with experience and qualifications to back it up. Check your freelance groom has experience with horses other than their own, (or those they usually ride at the riding stables). If you have a cheeky or lively horse, you need to be sure your horse sitter can handle them.
• Meet the person. Arrange for the horse sitter to come and meet both you and your horse before you have them do any work. This will allow you to assess their suitability and see how they conduct themselves around horses. Ask them questions and be aware of what they ask you. Capable horse sitters and grooms will need to know lots of information about your horse and the yard in order to do their job correctly. If your not telling them and they are not asking questions alarm bells should be ringing.
• Make a detailed list of what your horse needs. Your horse might not be the only horse the groom is looking after that week therefore if not written down information could get forgotten or mixed up. You should include emergency contact details, such as your equine vet, farrier, horse dentist and a family or friend’s details in case you are not contactable. An organised and professional groom will have information sheets ready to be completed.
• Check the freelance groom to have their own insurance. This should be a minimum of Public Liability. Ask to see the certificate. You may also want someone who is CRB checked, especially if they have access to your house.
• Inform your vet you are going away and leave them the name of your horse sitter.
• Get references from previous clients.
• Pay competitive rates. You want someone who feels that their time is valued and who isn’t trying to get done quickly to move on to the next horse. You get what you pay for.
We hope that by following these pointers you will be able to find peace of mind in the knowledge your horse is being cared for by someone professional.