Time-Saving Tips for the Barn

by Matt

The equestrian lifestyle is not for those afraid of work. Whether you have a staff of grooms or you’re mucking out after work every day, there’s going to be a certain level of physical labor in your life as long as horses are involved. Sometimes, it seems like there’s too much horsekeeping being done to get any horse-enjoyment in! That’s when a few minutes saved on daily tasks can start to add up very quickly.

Strap Down the Scissors: Yes, you can break open a hay bale by using a piece of baling string, some elbow-grease, and some friction. But wouldn’t it be easier to just end the Case of the Missing Hay-String Scissors once and for all? Step 1: Tie up the scissors in your hay-storage area. Step 2: Inform everyone else in the barn that the scissors are tied there and may never leave. Step 3: Enjoy easy access to scissors every time you need to break open a bale – plus anything else you need cut that can be transported to your hay stall!

Pick Hooves From One Side: Racehorses often come pre-loaded with this trick, but it’s actually pretty easy to teach. Picking all four hooves from one side is a time-saver, and it also reduces how many times you have to bend over/straighten up/bend over, so it’s good for aching equestrian backs, too. Hint: it’s easiest to pick the opposite hind hoof by bringing it under the horse, not stretching it behind the horse’s tail.

Go Synthetic: Leather tack is beautiful, makes a tack room smell heavenly, and is the traditional choice for many other reasons. But if you’re pressed for time, keeping your tack clean might accidentally fall by the wayside, which is both unsafe and bad for the leather. Pick up a synthetic bridle and girth for daily use, and hose it off in the wash-rack while you’re giving your horse his post-workout shower. Save your leather for shows and those epic pre-show cleaning sessions.

Build Catch-Pens for Pastured Horses: Many breeding farms utilize “catch-pens” for pastured horses. If you can leave your horses out 24/7, you’ll save on time bringing them in and out, to say nothing of stall cleaning. Small standing-stalls built against a sturdy fence-line offer a safe place for horses to eat their grain without a neighbor stealing it, and you can use them for vet visits or grooming sessions as well.

Give Every Horse a Binder: Office administration is an equestrian’s favorite task, said no barn manager ever. Make record-hunting quick by giving every horse their own three-ring binder. Keep everything related to that horse, from registrations to dental float receipts, in its binder. You’ll save time on vet visits, horse show prep, and sales.

Keep a Coggins Envelope in Your Glove Compartment: Before every trip, make sure your Coggins envelope is filled with the test results for each horse traveling. Since the Coggins is located in the horse’s binder, it was really easy to find, right? Having a pre-designated envelope keeps the Coggins from disappearing in the sea of receipts, horse show registrations, and bills that layer the average equestrian’s truck cab, and it also sticks in your mind’s to-do list more easily.

They seem simple, but shaving ten minutes here and five minutes there can add up to an hour of free time (for riding, of course) very quickly. What are your favorite time-saving tips for the barn?

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