Are you still working on your New Year’s resolutions? If so, we have some ideas to help you out. These resolutions can make you a better barn manager, helping to maximize your horses’ health and safety, too.
Update Your Deworming Plan
If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to start deworming your horses according to fecal egg count results. Talk with your vet about the most appropriate time to do these tests and the dewormers that are right for your horses.
While you’re at it, make sure that your manure management plan is up to date. Create a plan to pick paddocks or spread manure regularly to help ensure your horses aren’t getting reinfected with parasites as they graze.
Check Your Tack Fit
When was the last time you checked your horses’ saddle fit? Horses’ backs can change over time, saddle flocking can compact, and tack that once fit well may now need some adjustment. Before the busy show season starts, take a day to evaluate tack fit on all of your horses. If you’re not sure about fit, consider having a saddle fitter out to help identify any problems and make any needed adjustments.
Create an Evacuation Plan
If you don’t yet have an evacuation plan for your horses, spend the winter working on one. 2020 has been a year of tremendous wildfires, and other disasters like floods and hurricanes are also risks you’ll need to consider.
Spend time creating a disaster preparedness plan that includes details on how you will evacuate horses from your property, what supplies you’ll bring, and potential evacuation destinations that you could head to in any direction. This is a good time to also revisit your first aid kits and to replenish any supplies that you might need. Make sure that your horses’ records are all up to date, and create an emergency file containing photos, ownership information, and vaccine histories for each horse.
Develop a Fire Safety Plan
If developing a fire safety plan is one of those things you always plan to do but never quite get around to doing, give yourself a deadline to have a plan developed by the end of the spring. Your fire safety plan will need to focus on how you’ll help to prevent fire and how you’ll handle a fire if it ever does occur. Make sure that you examine the precautions you have in place, like heat detectors and fire suppression systems. Connect with your local fire department and invite them over to tour your facility and learn about how to evacuate horses during a fire.
Build the Barn You’ve Been Dreaming Of
A better facility can help you to take better care of your horses. If you’ve been dreaming of larger stalls, an indoor arena, and a heated tack room, make 2021 the year that you finally bring your dream barn to life.
What other ideas have you considered?