We all know there’s nothing like too much safety around your barn. Did you know you can make your barn just a little safer in a few minutes? Add an extra layer of safety (and improve your peace of mind) with these quick fixes.
Evacuation Halters: Does your horse live in an urban area, or even a relatively rural one, where it’s likely civilians or emergency personnel might be responsible for evacuating the animals? Unless you live right upstairs and always have a barn-sitter, there’s always the possibility that disaster could strike with no one nearby who knows how to halter a horse. Keep evacuation-ready halters hanging outside stall doors. Make sure they’re easy to slip over a horse’s ears, so that even a novice could do it, and keep a lead-rope attached. If your horse is in an urban stable where neighboring residences or businesses could be responsible for a fast-moving fire, you might want to leave the halters on overnight – just make sure they’re well-fitted and have at least a leather crown for safety.
Spin Around Your Snaps: Next time you replace your water buckets after a quick scrubbing, take an extra moment to turn the buckle snap around to face the wall. The tiny hooks on double-ended snaps can be enough to get caught on a halter, snagged in mane, or even cut a horse’s face. Make sure your entire barn staff gets in the habit of turning the snap openings towards the wall, and you could prevent a serious injury down the road.
Eliminate Clutter: Make your barn aisle a place for walking and handling horses, not for storing wheelbarrows, saddle-stands and trash bins. Spooked horses, unexpected bolts and runaways, and even poorly maneuvered turns by a novice horse-handler can cause dangerous run-ins with equipment in the aisle. Use some of our barn organization tips (5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Barn) to find a home for everything that’s out of your horses’ way.
Make Everything Breakaway: Tying horses is always fraught with danger – horses are notorious for going back on the ties, flipping over, or slipping and going down while tied, causing dangerous neck injuries or even death. Make every tie a breakaway tie with a simple loop of hay-string between the tie’s snap and the screw-eye in the wall. Double up on the safety with panic-release snaps, which let go under extreme pressure, and avoid bungee cord ties, which can become dangerous projectiles should they snap.
Move Your Water Troughs and Feeders: At many farms, the water trough is located pretty close to the pasture gate. This usually has something to do with proximity to the barn or water lines. The problem? Horses like to loiter around the water trough, which could then present a safety issue when you’re bringing a horse in or out. Move the water trough or anything else that might encourage your horses to gather well away from the gate, so that you can lead horses through the gate without provoking a fight.
These are all fairly easy ways to make your barn a little safer. It’s hard to believe that something as simple as turning around your double-ended snaps can create a safer barn for your horses, until you consider how easily horses seem to hurt themselves. Take a few minutes today, and keep them safe for years to come.