Does your barn need sprucing up? Sometimes just a few little changes can make a big difference to your productivity (to say nothing of your mood). If you’re a little over your barn’s design, need to organize some chaos, or just plain want a change, we have five easy fixes to make your barn a better place.
1. Install removable feed buckets, for a cleaner barn with better pest control. Even if you don’t feed sweet feed, the molasses in commercial grain mix can create a sticky mess in your horse’s feed bucket, as well as on the wall behind it. Cut back on the mess by removing the feed buckets when they aren’t in use. Circular feed buckets can easily be snapped into a corner or onto a stall grill, then hose out after feeding to save scrubbing-time later.
2. Stall bars got you down? Sliding doors and bars can make some horses feel like they’re missing out on the action, leading to pacing and a big mess in the stall. Stall guards, or a stall grill with a yoke, can be added fairly easily and make a big difference for bored horses. While there are horses who will decide crawling out underneath their stall guard is a good way to join the fun, most are content to stand with their head in the barn aisle, watching the day’s activity.
3. Control the chaos, of barn-tool storage with electrical tape and hooks! Step one: place hooks on the wall where you’d like your brooms, manure forks, and rakes to live. Step two: Use tape to mark off the length and width of the item that should live on each hook. Step up the organization with a laminated sign on the wall naming each tool’s designated location. The key to making this all work? Strict enforcement, but we’re sure you can do it!
4. When in doubt add storage, such as shelves, racks, and anything else you can use. Blanket racks can do double-duty in your grooming areas by serving as a hanging-rack for all of those spray-bottles you need. If saddle pads and blankets are always sliding off of their racks, wrap them with veterinary adhesive tap (think CoFlex or VetRap) for grippiness. Add a screw-eye outside of each stall door to hang a hoof-pick, then pick hooves before you lead your horse into the barn aisle. Your aisle will stay significantly cleaner!
5. Make your tack room a little more formal. Adding some polish to your tack room can make you smile every time you walk inside – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Small rugs from IKEA or a discount store can make nice covers for your saddle racks, protecting the leather from scratches while adding to your tack room’s color scheme. Designate a bridle rack for each horse and wrap bridles in a figure-eight every time you put them away – in addition to lengthening the life of your bridle’s keepers and straps, it gives your tack room walls a finished, professional look.
There are many more ways to spruce up your barn – think about adding flowers in a big tub out front in growing season, or giving it a yearly pressure-wash to lose the stains on the walls and cobwebs in the rafters – but these five suggestions are so nice and simple, you can do them in a day or two. Enjoy your barn!