Courtesy of www.TheHorse.com
Keeping horse barns tidy can be time consuming and isn’t necessarily something horse owners look forward to. How do you make the most of the time you spend in the barn? If you’re in a hurry, these tips and practices from The Horse staff and sources can reduce the hassle of chores like stall-cleaning and aisle-sweeping.
Stall Mats and Bedding Choices
Although stall mats can be pricey, they cut down on time spent cleaning stalls, as well as the amount of bedding used, says Alayne Blickle.
When choosing bedding, buy the most absorbent type you can find. “Research shows beddings such as wood pellets, peat moss, or shredded newspaper are far more absorbent and contain less dust, mold, or foreign objects than traditional shavings,” Blickle says. “I’m a big fan of pelleted bedding; it’s quite chore-efficient, and the small particle size means it composts easily. Pelleted bedding is also very low in dust, so horse (and human!) health benefits are high.”
Keeping the Area Clean
Alexandra Beckstett, managing editor of The Horse, boards her horse at a fully staffed farm in Versailles, Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t figured out quick ways to keep her area clean. “If you’re bringing your horse in from the pasture, pick his feet out before walking him in the barn. If he’s already inside, pick his feet in the stall. Both these steps save on having to sweep the barn aisle or grooming area,” she says. Another trick for quick aisle-cleaning? A leafblower.
For stall cleaning, consider buying a manure cart that’s easy to push and dump into the compost or muck pile, and purchase a manure fork that’s easy to grip and not missing tines, says Blickle.
Keep waste bins near areas where you produce trash, such as the feed room and grooming area, adds Michelle Anderson, digiral managing editor of TheHorse.com.
Coordinating Feed Pickup
If your horse is boarded and your barn doesn’t supply feed, shavings, or other supplies, coordinate with other boarders to take turns picking those items up at the store, as this can save on time and fuel costs. Stephanie L. Church, The Horse’s editor-in chief, previously boarded at a bring-your-own-grain facility where other boarders feed a variety of brands. Finding a dealer that carried her horse’s feed and was open outside of office hours proved difficult. So she located one convenient to the barn and determined that the barn managers were willing to pick up feed for her. “I added a little to my board check each month for that convenience,” she says.
Blanket Cleaning and Storage
Clean and store winter blankets during the summer, when you don’t need them and/or have time to spare. “This way you won’t waste time scrambling to get to a laundromat or send your blankets to a cleaning service when temperatures drop,” says Erica Larson, news editor for The Horse.
Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com‘s web producer, uses a pressure washer (a basic water hose will also do the trick if you have good water pressure) to ease removal of mud and dirt from turnout blankets and sheets.
You can find additional time-saving horse care tips from our series on TheHorse.com!
This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care.