Summer Vacation Checklist for Horse Owners

Horse Staring off into the Distance
Your horse misses you, too. Photo: Jullyen El Jamaal – Sunday 4 by Lisa Andres/CC BY 2.0

Okay, so you’re traveling somewhere on an awesome summer vacation. Maybe you’re hiking in the mountains, basking in the sun on a beach, or perusing antique shops in quaint villages.

But wherever your summer vacation has taken you, chances are that you won’t have your horse along with you (unless you’re at a horse show or are trail riding/camping with your horse). This means that your vacation represents a temporary separation from your beloved equine companion, which—as we all know—can be a difficult experience. Here’s a quick checklist to help you deal with the separation as you travel:

  1. Count the days. Figure out how many days you’ll be separated from your horse, then multiply by 24 so you can figure the precise number of hours that you’ll be apart. Then count down this number as each hour goes by—it’s a sure-fire way to make your vacation seem interminably long. (Everyone always complains that vacations fly by too fast—this will prevent this problem, guaranteed!)

  3. Avoid thinking about your horse … unless you can’t help it, in which case you’re allowed to call your horse-sitter or the barn manager every time you count down another hour. They’ll love to hear from you so frequently—and you’ll be constantly reassured that everything’s okay. Win-win!

  5. Shop for horse stuff. Wherever you stop, wherever you shop, keep your eyes peeled for awesome equine stuff. After all, you can’t go on a vacation and then NOT bring home a souvenir for your horse, right? Multiple souvenirs are even better.

  7. Take a million selfies … and then post them all on social media with these hashtags: #missmyhorse #selfiewithouthorse. This will remind everyone that you miss your horse, just in case they forgot, which they won’t, because your status updates will make that (painfully) obvious. “Forty-three hours away from my horse—how will I get through the next 129 hours until I get back to Stella?”

  9. Use your downtime wisely. This means watching a multitude of horse movies, reading endless stacks of horse books, and listening to your favorite horse-inspired music playlists. When you’re separated from your horse, you have to do what you can to fill that horse-shaped void in your heart.

  11. Arrange for a Skype session or FaceTime with your horse. Yes, this may be an inconvenience for the person caring for your horse, but, hey! Seeing your horse’s beautiful face will help pass a few of those long vacation hours.

  13. Talk about your horse constantly … to anyone who will listen. Strangers in restaurants, the clerk at a hotel, your relatives at a family reunion—whether they want to hear about your horse or not, go ahead and talk to your heart’s content. It’ll be good for you! (Maybe not so good for them…)

  15. Plan for next year: Start looking ahead for next year’s horse-sitter… your current one might not be on board again after the Skype session or the hourly phone calls.

What would you add to the Summer Vacation Checklist?

Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and the author of several books, including The Field Guide to Horses, (Voyageur Press, 2009). She raises Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and is a certified horse show judge. Follow her on Twitter: @miraclewelsh.


  1. Lots of things to give thought to in the article. Like the part about talking about or thinking about your horse….that should be the norm. 🙂


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