January 2022

Horse Sitting Basics

When most people think of pet sitting, the first animals that come to mind are dogs and cats. But horse sitting is also a much needed service. Many horse owners travel rarely or never, because they can’t find people who are able to put in the time and work to care for their horses. If you have expertise in horse care, and live in a horse-friendly area, you might want to consider adding horse sitting to your pet care business services.

Horses require specialized care, as they need to eat at certain times of the day, and a certain amount of food to stay healthy. Feedings should be scheduled at the horse’s regular feeding times, and the amount and types of feed vary from horse to horse, so keep detailed instructions for each. Also ask about what and how many treats can be given. Horses love eating yummy snacks like carrots and apples, but too many can lead to an upset stomach.

Fresh, clean water is also very important. It should be available at all times both in the stall and in the turnout area/pasture. In the winter, freezing can be a real pain, so ask the owner about water heaters.

Brushing and hoof picking may also be a daily chore, so make sure you ask where the brushes, halters, lead lines, picks, and other items are located. Have the owner show you how to halter, tie, brush, and pick the hooves, and try it yourself, as some horses can be a bit tricky.

The horses may need to be handled to be turned out to graze or stretch their legs, but riding and longeing is usually not required. If more involved care is requested, you may want to adjust pricing for this, as it will take more time.

Stall cleaning is one of the less glamourous parts of the job, and is a bit more involved than cleaning a little kitty litter box. For shorter sits of a few days to a week, you probably won’t have to do a full stall cleaning. Just scooping up some “road apples” and the wet bedding and replacing it with fresh, dry bedding is sufficient. Longer sits will require a full stall cleaning, which can take a lot of time for multiple stalls.

Knowing the signs of injury and illness is very important with any animal. In horses, immediate care for many problems is essential. Any changes in behaviour, eating, moving, swelling, breathing, etc. should be given a serious second look. Have emergency care items and 24 hour veterinary telephone numbers handy.

When meeting with the owner, be sure to ask lots of questions and keep detailed records. Also, have some horse care books handy, especially ones for recognizing and treating horse illnesses and injuries. Two great books to have handy are A-Z of Horse Diseases & Health Problems, by Tim Hawcroft. (ISBN# 0-87605-884-5) and Horse Owner’s Veterinary Handbook, by James M. Giffin & Tom Gore. (ISBN# 0-87605-606-0)

If you feel confident that you can handle all the above and love horses, then horse sitting may be for you!

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Five Strategies to Organize Your Work Day

To Do List

Organizing your work day can seem daunting at first. But keeping an organized day will reduce stress and increase productivity. Here are five strategies you can do right now to keep your day running smoothly.

1. Make a To-Do List.  At the beginning of the day, make out a list of tasks you would like to get done. List the most important and time sensitive tasks at the top, in order of importance. Keeping the less important tasks, or tasks which can wait for another day, at the bottom will become less stressful if you find time running out near the end of the day. You can create your To-Do list on paper, a dry erase board, in a document or spreadsheet, or even write them individually on Post-It notes and create a physical task board. Online Task Boards, such as ClickUp or Trello are excellent organizing tools, as well.

2. Organize your workspace Clear your workspace and desk of all unnecessary items to help keep focus on the tasks at hand. Keep your current tasks on your computer or actual desktop, and file away or send out tasks as they are completed. Watching your task pile shrink throughout the day is very rewarding.

3.  Schedule and set goals As you are listing and organizing tasks, give yourself a time-table in which to complete these tasks. Minimize distractions so that you can concentrate on your current project and get everything you need completed within your scheduled times.

4. Take breaks As the saying goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. To bolster your creativity and to avoid burn out, take a break several times throughout the day. Get up and walk away from your desk, take a walk, grab some water, or just stretch. 

5. Delegate tasks Take advantage of help when you can get it. Delegate some tasks to others who are able to help, especially if the tasks are a team effort. Outsourcing regular tasks to a Virtual Assistant is a great way to organize your workload and will allow you more time to concentrate on bigger tasks which need your attention.

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