by Emily Daily
This week, Josh and I will be attending the highly anticipated USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.
However, as I sit here waiting for my flight at Dulles Airport, I can’t help but sense that queasy feeling that I forgot something terribly important. You know that feeling…helpless, nail-biting, and stressful. When it was just the two of us, leaving for a week-long trip was a piece of cake. Now, when we have to prepare our own agendas, and still make sure the ponies, dogs, kitties are also prepared for our absence…well, it can be a bit intimidating. Here’s how I survive:
A reliable farmsitter…preferably one with a good sense of humor and MacGuyver-esque skills. Luckily, we have two fantastic girls (both riders and pet-lovers) who don’t mind our frantic, last-minute scrambling mess we left behind, nor the often-terrible behavior of our “children.” My novel-length notes I leave for them often include such tidbits as “Keep everything out of reach of Bailey – it will be consumed otherwise. Seriously.” Or “Sorry that our hose froze – hope you don’t mind dragging buckets of water out to the paddocks.” Or “The weanling will bite – don’t turn your back on him!” Luckily, my farmsitters are resourceful and I feel I can leave my little home with peace of mind.
This is what happens when we leave the kitchen door open. Disaster. The farmsitters are forewarned.
High-neck blankets for all the ponies. One of my biggest annoyances about our farm is that we don’t have any run-in sheds, though we do have four lovely stalls. However, wrangling my wind-blown, spooking ponies back and forth into their stalls in the freezing tundra is a huge pain for one person. Warm high-neck blankets (or blankets with the neck covers) leave everyone dry and cozy out in the elements, and I don’t feel guilty leaving them outside.
Tobey sporting his high-neck blankie during last year’s blizzard.
Buy more dog food/cat food/pony food than you think you’ll need. Of course we bought several bags of feed for everyone before we left, but that didn’t stop us from running out one last time this morning after taking a final peek. There’s nothing worse than your poor farmsitter running out of food for your guys, and having to go out and purchase it herself. Big farm owner faux pas. Be prepared…be over-prepared.
The kitties love it when we pack…lots of crinkly paper for hours of entertainment!
Try and do as much cleaning as humanly possible. I know my farmsitters are horsey folks, but it’s still embarrassing leaving a filthy house behind. Plus, if we put all the chewable items out of the reach of the dogs ahead of time, then there’s less chance things will be destroyed! TV remotes, entire halters, hoof picks, belts…the things that our dogs consume is mind-boggling. And the last thing we’d want is for them to eat something potentially dangerous, warranting an emergency trip to the vet (thank you Sammy, who ate an ornament last year, which ended in a pricey vet visit.)
Bailey looking pleased with himself after gnawing on a hoofpick…now how a hoofpick got in our house is anyone’s guess.
Breathe….everything will be okay. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I’m always worried that I forgot to latch a gate, lock a door, hide the chocolate, take out the trash, etc., etc… But everything has always worked out (*knock on wood*), so without further ado….we’re off to Arizona to try and relax, soak in the Phoenix sunshine, catch up with old eventing buddies, and enjoy the education and entertaining Annual Meeting. Be sure to check out our daily posts on USEventing.com!
Until next time,