Hopefully you’re having a great summer filled with plenty of time in the saddle. In between shows, trail rides, and clinics, though, it’s important to keep up with your barn and pasture maintenance. Are these five maintenance chores on your to-do list this summer?
1. Check in With Your Hay Supplier
With fresh hay being harvested, now is the perfect time to check in with your hay supplier. Discuss your purchasing plans throughout the year, stock up your barn, and make sure that you’ll have enough hay to carry you through the winter. No one likes to stack hay during the hot summer months, but taking the time to clean out your hayloft and fill it with fresh hay means this one major chore will be out of the way for a while.
2. Fix Pasture Fences and Gates
When was the last time you walked the pasture fences? Head out and check them out up-close. Look for damaged areas, loose fencing, and anything in need of repair. Be sure to also check out the pasture gates, since these see frequent use and may need some extra attention.
While you’re out in the pasture, look for any suspicious plants that could be toxic to your horse. If you’re unsure about whether a particular plant is safe for horses, contact your local county agent for help with plant identification.
3. Clean Your Feed Room
Summer’s heat and humidity means that feed can spoil quickly, and issues like feed mites are also a concern. Take an afternoon and go through your feed room to give it a thorough cleaning. Throw out any old or bad feed, and check the expiration dates on your supplements and medications, too.
If you find evidence of mice, you may need to lay some traps, find better ways to secure your feed, or even get a barn cat.
4. Do an Electrical System Check-Up
Barns use electricity year-round, but the winter can be particularly draining on your barn’s electrical system. Powering heat, water trough heaters, additional lighting, and more creates additional draw on your electrical lines, and the winter isn’t a time when you want to discover there’s an issue with your electrical system.
Have an electrician come in now to check out your barn’s electricity setup. Update any outlets that may be unsafe or out of date, consider upgrading your fuse box if needed, and discuss your electricity usage with the electrician. Not only will this help to keep things running smoothly in the winter, but it can be an important step in helping to prevent an electrical fire, too.
5. Do a Barn Maintenance Walk-Through
This is a great time to go through your barn and look for any issues that may need repairing. Look for loose boards in the stalls, stall doors that need a little adjusting, and windows that may need some minor repairs or total replacements. Pay particular attention to your barn doors, since you’ll need them to be moving smoothly on their tracks when winter comes.
As we move into winter, it will be time to create another barn maintenance to-do list. Be sure to take a look at our blog for some ideas.