We all know how much time we waste just doing chores at the barn, not to mention the money we spend as well but the good news is that with a bit of planning and ingenuity you can not only drastically cut the time you devote on chores but you can also save yourself quite a bit of money too. And with the extra time you now have and the extra money you’ve now got you can spend quality time with your horse and buy him a few extra treats too, after all, we all spend any leftover money on them anyway!
Over the years I’ve picked up a huge number of time and money-saving hacks, some I’m pleased to say, are my own discoveries while others I’ve learned from other people but I thought it would be helpful to list some of the most helpful and beneficial ones.
Barn hacks to make your life easier
- Use a grate when mucking out – place a wire grate (an old BBQ grill rack is perfect) at a 45° angle against the wall then simply pick the bedding up with a fork and throw it against the grate. The droppings will fall in a neat pile while the bedding will fall through the gaps in the grate.
- Fix scrub brushes to water and feed buckets – We’ve all been there before, you need to clean the buckets but can’t find the brush anywhere. Simply attach a piece of baling twine to a small scrub brush then tie that to the bucket, that way it’s there ready when you need it.
- Use the arms of the barrow – Instead of making multiple trips to the muck heap, fill flexible buckets with old bedding as well as the barrow then hook them over the arms of the barrow. That way you can carry much more each time, do this every time you muck out and it’ll make the task much quicker.
- Attach tennis balls on cross ties – Cutting a hole in a tennis ball and putting it over cross ties will not only stop that horrible clanging sound but will stop your horse chewing them while you’re grooming him.
- Secure a toilet seat to water and feed buckets – You can easily stop your horse from chewing his water and feed buckets by securing the seat of a toilet to the rim. He’ll no longer be able to get his mouth around the bucket so he won’t be able to chew it.
- Stop cribbing with a bar of soap – Nobody likes the taste of soap and horses are no different so rubbing soap over any areas where your horse bites or chews will help to stop him doing that.
- Pick your horse’s feet out in the stall – Keep a hoof pick hung up in your stall then you can pick your horse’s hooves out before you leave, that way you won’t have to sweep up after. Just make sure your horse can’t knock it off the hook.
- Spider strainer or sieve – Removing leaves during the winter and bugs in the summer can be a pain (especially when the water’s icy cold) but if you use a spider strainer or sieve this task is much easier. You can scoop them out without the need to get your hands wet at all.
- Baling twine saw – If you don’t have a knife with you, you can use baling twine as a saw to open bales instead. Just feed the twine through then, forming a ‘V’ start not saw back and forth. This will quickly cut through and open the bale.
- Revive rusty buckles and chains – You can easily remove rust by soaking the offending item in a little bit of white vinegar. This will remove the rust without damaging the metal – just be sure to rinse and dry it thoroughly after.
- Stop smelly bedding – We all know that horrible ammonia smell that gets right up your nose, even after you’ve left the stall. The good news is that a layer of Zeolites under your horse’s bedding will eliminate the offending pong, plus it’s highly absorbent too so will make your bedding last longer.
Page 2 – Horse care hacks