How to Set Your Barn Sitter Up for Success

by Matt

Will you be traveling for the holidays and leaving your barn in the care of a barn sitter? In our last blog we included some tips on how you can find a great barn sitter for the holidays. But when it comes time to leave your property, how well have you prepared your barn sitter? These tips can help set your barn sitter up for success.

Call Your Vet Before You Leave

Before you head out of town, call your vet’s office and explain that you will be away. Provide them with the sitter’s name and information, and explain that they have permission to bring in your animals or call the vet for treatment in the event that you can’t be reached. Many vets will have you leave a credit card number on file for this purpose.

This is also a good time to outline the measures that you would – and wouldn’t – take for each of your animals. If you have multiple animals, you may want to write up instructions on the limits for each animal. Be sure to specify both procedures (such as colic surgery) and financial limits that will govern their care in case you can’t be reached.

Identify Water Shutoffs and Other Important Sites

Though you’ll want to have your sitter over for a walk-through of your property before you go, visually identifying or mapping out important sites in your house can make things easier if they run into problems. Be sure to show them the location of your fuse box, as well as any water shutoffs and light switches that they may need. If you have a generator, a quick walkthrough of how to use it can be valuable, too. And because it’s winter and storms happen, be sure to leave them with a supply of flashlights and batteries, just in case.

Post Your Must-Know Information

Make up a list of information that the barn sitter needs to know, and post copies both in your house and in your barn. Include information such as:

  • Your address
  • Contact information for your vet and farrier
  • Phone numbers for professionals whose services may be needed, such as your plow driver, or your alarm system
  • Contact information for local friends or family who can help out in a pinch

If you travel regularly, it may be easiest to keep this information in a file on your computer. That way you can quickly edit it and print additional copies each time you go out of town.

Set Up a Backup Caretaker

Even the most reliable sitter in the world may run into a tight spot if they become injured or sick while they’re caring for your animals and property. Many sitters will have a backup for such an emergency, but it’s a good idea for you to have a backup caretaker of your own. Contact a local friend ahead of time to see if they’d mind you scheduling them as a backup. If something does happen and your sitter is out of commission, having a backup will be a relief for both of you.


Have a great time on your vacation, knowing that you’ve set your barn sitter up for success. Now, relax and enjoy your time away.


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