1. Roll up hoses. It's all too easy to drag the hose
out to water the horses, or run the hose to water the arena...then
leave it there. It's easy to step over. For the life of the
hose (horse shoes and weight are hard on it!) as well as safety,
have a place to roll it up out of the way. Do it every day!
Pull the hose out, use it and put it up. This takes just minutes
to do but makes things look nicer and is safer.
2. Pick up hay twine. Hay twine is durable stuff..and
when it unexpectedly wraps around your feet you find out just
how true that is! There are people who will take twine for
crafts and twine can be handy for small projects around the
barn, but those 2-3 strands per bale add up in a hurry! Have
a small barrel or even a box - fold it in half twice, tie
a loose knot and toss it in the barrel or box. This keeps
the twine together, out of the floor. It doesn't get accidently
tossed into a horse's stall, it doesn't lay waiting to trip
grooms and isn't nearly the nuisance!
3. Sweep/rake aisle - it doesn't matter if you have
a 3 stall barn for a few horses, a competitive barn or a world
class facility - the few minutes it takes to sweep, vaccum,
rake the stall aisle leaves a good impression, keeps "stuff"
from accumulating, is safer and keeps things neater. This
can be done without large amounts of time. Do it after stalls
are done then again last thing after feeding at night. A barn
is an investment - protect it and take care of it.
4. Have trash can for garbage/papers. A plastic bag
caught by the wind can put a western horse into airs above
the ground moves. Have a solid trash can for garbage. If you
want to burn papers have one for burnables, one for cans and
one for trash - but have places to put trash and keep it off
the ground, out of paddocks and out of sight of visitors.
5. Lock feed room. Even if you don't have a paddlock
- have a door with a snap, a chain, a simple gate - something
you can close to keep horses *out* of the feed room. That
$3 chain and snap can save you a $300 vet bill or, worse,
losing a horse to colic or laminitis. Lock it every time you
leave the barn. Accidents happen, horses get out. It's a pain
to catch a loose one but it's worse to find one surrounded
by open grain bins and have to guess how much they ate, how
much is sprawled on the ground and how soon, or if, they'll
6. Have equipment stored out of the way. Cleaning
tools, saddles, grooming supplies...have a place to store
equipment. Keep wheelbarrows, pitchforks and rakes out of
the way. If you can have a small stall area to put them in
or have a "closet" for them where they are out of the way
7. Store little hay/straw in barn. Keeping just a
few days worth of hay in the barn limits fire risk and can
save you on your insurance. Yes it means once a week or a
couple times per month you need to go haul hay up...does building
a barn and restocking it with horses take less time?
8. No smoking. Post it and mean it. It amazes me the
people smoking in the barn, outside a hay stall, leaning on
a "NO SMOKING" sign and saying "well I'm not IN the barn."
One ash on a pile of bedding can smolder and become a fire.
Post it and mean it - NO smoking in or near the barn.
9. Keep dogs/pets under control. Unruly animals can
be a source of stress for owner and horses. While most horses
don't get upset at a couple of dogs playing, when the dogs
go after a cat they sense an entirely different scene. A squabble
between animals can become dangerous if one runs under a horse,
or into a horse's stall. When devious dog, angry cat and terrified
horse are in one area something has to give - usually it's
stall chains and/or the cat. Keep pets trained, under control
10. Use safe horse handling practices. Don't be tempted
to leave a horse tied with a twine string "just for a second"
- see #9! Use good quality equipment, safe handling practices
and have a good routine.
These things take just minutes per day to do, but add up
to a much safer barn!
It doesn't take money to have a neat barn. Sweeping the aisle,
keeping a halter and rope on every door, having a door on
the tackroom and the ability to close the barn up can help
provide a safer workplace for people and horses.
Ron Petracek was raised in southern Idaho with horses
and the great outdoors. With this continued passion He now
shares through a a vast equine network. Learn more by clicking
the links below. Amazing
Equine Network System