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Re: Caretaker questions

Anybody ever have someone stay on their property as a caretaker in exchange for rent?

We've had people on our place helping with the horse for the whole 18 years that we've lived here...the current family has been here for 13 years.  We have a single-wide mobile home where they live (plus we've added retired job shack (fairly large) that we renovated for an additional bedroom and computer room) -- and they get their rent and two stalls for their horses in exchange for feeding all meals (they feed morning and evening...a third feeding midday if the horse is being kept in that day), cleaning the barn and attached paddocks 3 days a week, and turning horses out to pasture and bringing them in at dinnertime.

I have a couple interested in placing a trailer to live in on my place in exchange for animal care and general caretaking. (I have several horses, four dogs and some sheep.)

Make sure you have the jobs spelled out in detail, including the quality of work expected -- on paper -- and as a condition of residence...a contract.  Leave yourself a way to get rid of them if they don't work out. 

This would be particularly helpful when I am gone on rides, or working late. Now, though, I am wondering about liability, etc. They have health insurance, but... Before I call my property insurance carrier, I thought I would check with Ride Camp.

Since I'm a riding instructor, I have pretty inclusive insurance coverage on the place as a whole.  They are responsible for their own health insurance and they sign a release form like everyone else here who are around any of the horses.  We are responsible for the functioning of any appliances that came with the mobile home...they are responsible for any they bring in.

I always make it clear from the start that I'm not a terribly social person when I get home...I don't care to hang out with many people outside of my work and my home.  This helps keep them from getting into my time and space and lets them know that it's nothing personal.  After a while it settles in and they have their friends and we have ours...we exist in that regard as we would if we were next door neighbors.

Bet there are some folks here who have had some experience with this! What am I getting into? Got any advice? Good stories? Horror stories? Thanks in advance for your help! (Any endurance riding attorneys or insurance folks out there?!! :-)) Thanks again! Mary Carol

We've been very lucky in that the family we have here is 100% honest and reliable.  They have several horses of their own (in fact, they own the very nice Appy stallion who lives here) -- they are very conscientious and treat every horse with the same good care they give their own horses.  We have half of the barn inhabited by boarder horses and they are very good about watching every horse, no matter who it belongs to, for any problems.  They have two stalls in our barn (one is actually the stallion pen, separate from the barn) and pasture board the rest of their horses in the pasture next to ours.

We couldn't do it without them!  Steve travels a lot and I work in surgery in the next town besides teach riding.  Having someone on the property has made it possible for us to do our work *and* have a nice clean barn with well cared for horses.  They follow every horse's diet regimen precisely and keep an incredibly clean barn.  George, Pam, and Beth have a permanent residence here as long as we are here!  Periodically we improve the area they live in so they won't be inclined to go anywhere else. <g>

A few of you may remember the horrid health problems George had last year (Oct. 2000)...given very little chance to live. his one year "anniversary of "his death"" (he coded twice on the OR table before they could even start the surgery), on Oct. 1, 2001, he rode Blue (one of my horses) in a poker ride their Appy club was sponsoring.  I took some pictures that day and gave them to the surgeon who saved him...and she is still amazed that he made it out of the hospital!  He's back to work and running around here like nothing ever happened.


"If all you can do is what you've always
done, then all you can be is what you are right now."
                              author unknown

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