By Allison Armstrong Rehnborg
If Punxsutawney Phil is to be believed, we’ve got six more weeks of winter ahead here in the States. Depending on where you live, that may mean six more weeks of snow and ice (we see you, Minnesota!) or six more weeks of mud and rain (hey, Alabama!). Either way, the weather these days may not be conducive to riding and other outdoor activities, but it is the perfect weather to invest a little time in getting your barn ready for spring and riding season. With that in mind, we’ve put together our top ten list of often-overlooked barn hacks, indoor chores and other handy ideas to help you while away the time until warmer weather arrives. Ready, set, go!
1. Schedule a Tack-Cleaning Day.
Grab the saddle soap, oil and cloths, and get to work! Your
saddles, bridles, breast collars and reins will thank you, plus you’ll get a nice arm workout. While you’re cleaning, keep an eye out for any broken stitching, worn-out billets or other issues that might be in need of repair. Winter is a great time to get everything repaired so that you can get in the saddle as soon as possible once warm weather arrives.
2. Check Your Supply Stock.
From first aid to bath to show prep supplies, we’re all guilty of forgetting to replace an empty bottle now and again. Pull out your supplies to see what you’re
missing, what’s expired and what items you have in triplicate. Make a shopping list for the items you’re out of, then print and laminate an inventory list for easier review next time. (Psst, if you’re low on DiO products, find a dealer near you by clicking here!)
3. It’s Laundry Day.
Blankets, leg wraps, fly sheets, slinkies and other barn clothes all have one thing in common: they get dirty, fast. Designate a horsey laundry day and get to work! After everything is clean, consider folding and storing rarely used items in a tack trunk or metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid to keep them clean until spring rather than hanging them back up on the wall.
4. Pamper Your Horse.
If you’re blessed with an indoor arena or able to haul your horse to one, pamper your horse after a long ride with Draw It Out Horse Liniment Concentrate. Soak a set of quilted leg wraps in the concentrate, then wrap your horse’s legs and secure with polo wraps overnight. Your horse will thank you!
5. Check Your Fix-It Box.
Every barn has a Fix-It box, cabinet or drawer filled with neatly wrapped rolls of baling twine, bottles of WD-40, extra Chicago screws, duct tape and bundles of spare leather straps. Time to empty yours, shake out the dead spiders, re-organize and then do an inventory of all your spare bits and pieces. If you’re running low, add to your shopping list.
6. Prep for Abscess Season with Silver Hoof Eq Therapy
With snow, ice and mud around, abscess season is in full swing. Make sure you’ve got plenty of Epsom salts on hand for soaking abscessed feet, plus consider purchasing Silver Hoof Eq Therapy by Draw It Out. Silver Hoof Eq Therapy maintains healthy hooves by protecting against microbial infections, balancing the moisture content of the hoof and supplying the nutrients needed for
strong hoof growth. This proprietary hoof conditioner blend creates a breathable moisture barrier to protect against bacteria and fungus and adds a healthy shine to your horse’s feet. Use as a preventative, or you can treat active infections 1-2 times daily for a minimum of three days.
7. Got Rodent Problems?
During the winter, many barn owners may find themselves dealing with rodents in the feed room. If you’ve got mice nibbling at your feed bins, swap all plastic food storage bins for metal trash cans with tight-fitting lids. Store other tasty items (such as treats or supplements) in your barn refrigerator or purchase a small metal trash can just for those items.
8. Check Your Pipes & Faucets.
There’s never a good time for a broken pipe or water leak. Check your barn’s pipes and faucets to ensure they’re properly insulated and discover leaks or breaks before they become a big problem. If you’re running low on insulated covers and facing a cold snap, use handfuls of hay or straw to insulate your faucets and cover with a tarp and baling twine.
9. Stall Check.
If there’s a stray nail or splinter in a stall, your horse is going to find it when you
least expect him to – so why not implement a preventative stall check? Spend a little time in every stall looking for stray nails poking out of boards, checking for splinters and noting areas that need attention and repair.
10. Stock up on ReJüv 4 U!
A long day at the barn in the cold calls for a little pampering for your sore muscles. Specially formulated for use in humans, ReJüv Gel uses natural, locally sourced minerals and botanicals to prevent and alleviate swelling and soreness. This gel is odorless, colorless, long-lasting and tingle-free, which means it’s the perfect product to soothe your aches and pains after a long day at the barn or in