Between having a busy family schedule, a job, riding and caring for horses, your day as a horse owner can be over before it even starts. We all know how chores can pile up especially when horses are involved. Here are a few quick tips to help make barn chores more efficient so you can enjoy your time in and out of the barn. These tips cover the five main barn activities that can consume all horse owners: stall cleaning, watering, feeding, record keeping and grooming.
TIP 1: PURCHASE AND INSTALL STALL MATS
Did you know that stall mats can greatly decrease the amount of labor involved in cleaning each stall? Stall mats can help improve drainage and lower the amount of bedding needed. Less bedding
means less time removing wet bedding from stalls. Rubber stall mats can also help protect floors, which can minimize repairing holes or uneven surfaces each year. Finally, they also act as an extra cushion for your horse’s feet and joints. So if you have an old guy or gal, this can lessen the ache of standing on that hard, uneven floor.
TIP 2: ADD A SECOND BUCKET OR STOCK TANK WITH A
Horses must have access to ample amounts of clean, fresh water 24 hours a day. With this in mind, simply adding a second bucket to their stall or, if they are being turned out in the day, a stock tank with an automatic float, can save on time. In the morning, clean the buckets and fill them to the brim. In the afternoon, you may find that the second bucket is still filled with water, which means you might be able to skip the afternoon water refill. Instead, the second water bucket can allow you to give your horses water in the morning and a quick top-off at night. This will especially help during those freezing mornings.
TIP 3: MEAL PREPARATION
Feeding horses multiple times a day can be exhausting but it is better for horses. It is a task that most owners diligently complete for the sake of having healthy equine partners. This next tip may seem obvious, but it is a proven way to greatly reduce time spent measuring and scooping feed rations. In the morning, feed the horses their grain from individual buckets, then refill another set of buckets for lunch, dinner (if applicable) and then that evening refill for the next day. This can eliminates the feeling of being rushed and shrink the hassle of organizing grain several times a day. Buy extra hay nets or bags and fill them when you are organizing your grain and your hay is then measured and ready to grab and go.
TIP 4: ONLY ONE TAP AWAY
It is no secret that keeping accurate horse records can easily consume your hours or your records are non-existent. However, if you want to have correct information for your vet to keep your equine healthy and up to date on all their vaccines or worming schedules then here is a suggestion. We all have smart phones and most of us keep them with us everywhere we go. There are now apps for your phone that can help you organize and keep track of your horse’s well being. A few of my favorite apps are Horse Keeper or Pocket Stable. These can help you monitor feedings, weight, farrier visits, vaccinations and even play dates. Most of these apps do cost but the access to your horses’ health at your fingertips is priceless.
TIP 5: PLUG IN THAT VACUUM
While grooming horses can be therapeutic, it is also time consuming. It might sound crazy, but vacuuming is the way to go. Don’t go use your Dyson, but horse vacuums are a great way to save time. The vacuum helps remove loose hair, dirt, dust and other debris from your horse’s coat. Once you have finished vacuuming its body, take a soft bristle brush to remove any remaining small debris. Then, rub your horse with a towel to bring out the coat’s natural oils and brush its mane and tail. Your horse will look ready for the runway and you will be a rock star for making it all happen in half the time.
Source: Angel Moore, Olsen’s Grain – Prescott Mountain Neighbors