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10 Simple Ways To Make Your Stable Safer

Apr 4, 2008
1. Roll up hoses. It's all too easy to drag the hose out to water the horses, or run the hose to water the arena...then leave it there. It's easy to step over. For the life of the hose (horse shoes and weight are hard on it!) as well as safety, have a place to roll it up out of the way. Do it every day! Pull the hose out, use it and put it up. This takes just minutes to do but makes things look nicer and is safer.

2. Pick up hay twine. Hay twine is durable stuff..and when it unexpectedly wraps around your feet you find out just how true that is! There are people who will take twine for crafts and twine can be handy for small projects around the barn, but those 2-3 strands per bale add up in a hurry! Have a small barrel or even a box - fold it in half twice, tie a loose knot and toss it in the barrel or box. This keeps the twine together, out of the floor. It doesn't get accidently tossed into a horse's stall, it doesn't lay waiting to trip grooms and isn't nearly the nuisance!

3. Sweep/rake aisle - it doesn't matter if you have a 3 stall barn for a few horses, a competitive barn or a world class facility - the few minutes it takes to sweep, vaccum, rake the stall aisle leaves a good impression, keeps "stuff" from accumulating, is safer and keeps things neater. This can be done without large amounts of time. Do it after stalls are done then again last thing after feeding at night. A barn is an investment - protect it and take care of it.

4. Have trash can for garbage/papers. A plastic bag caught by the wind can put a western horse into airs above the ground moves. Have a solid trash can for garbage. If you want to burn papers have one for burnables, one for cans and one for trash - but have places to put trash and keep it off the ground, out of paddocks and out of sight of visitors.

5. Lock feed room. Even if you don't have a paddlock - have a door with a snap, a chain, a simple gate - something you can close to keep horses *out* of the feed room. That $3 chain and snap can save you a $300 vet bill or, worse, losing a horse to colic or laminitis. Lock it every time you leave the barn. Accidents happen, horses get out. It's a pain to catch a loose one but it's worse to find one surrounded by open grain bins and have to guess how much they ate, how much is sprawled on the ground and how soon, or if, they'll get sick.

6. Have equipment stored out of the way. Cleaning tools, saddles, grooming supplies...have a place to store equipment. Keep wheelbarrows, pitchforks and rakes out of the way. If you can have a small stall area to put them in or have a "closet" for them where they are out of the way yet accessible.

7. Store little hay/straw in barn. Keeping just a few days worth of hay in the barn limits fire risk and can save you on your insurance. Yes it means once a week or a couple times per month you need to go haul hay up...does building a barn and restocking it with horses take less time?

8. No smoking. Post it and mean it. It amazes me the people smoking in the barn, outside a hay stall, leaning on a "NO SMOKING" sign and saying "well I'm not IN the barn." One ash on a pile of bedding can smolder and become a fire. Post it and mean it - NO smoking in or near the barn.

9. Keep dogs/pets under control. Unruly animals can be a source of stress for owner and horses. While most horses don't get upset at a couple of dogs playing, when the dogs go after a cat they sense an entirely different scene. A squabble between animals can become dangerous if one runs under a horse, or into a horse's stall. When devious dog, angry cat and terrified horse are in one area something has to give - usually it's stall chains and/or the cat. Keep pets trained, under control and safe.

10. Use safe horse handling practices. Don't be tempted to leave a horse tied with a twine string "just for a second" - see #9! Use good quality equipment, safe handling practices and have a good routine.

These things take just minutes per day to do, but add up to a much safer barn!

It doesn't take money to have a neat barn. Sweeping the aisle, keeping a halter and rope on every door, having a door on the tackroom and the ability to close the barn up can help provide a safer workplace for people and horses. Photo courtesy Grey Horse Farm, IL
About the Author
Ron Petracek was raised in southern Idaho with horses and the great outdoors. With this continued passion He now shares through a a vast equine network. Learn more by clicking the links below. Amazing Equine Network System - Buy Sell or trade anything equine related. Get More Horse Classified coverage and distribution with less cost and work. Award Winning Horse Forum
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