Essentials for the Horse Barn
Here in Oklahoma, the cold, miserable weather we’ve all likely been experiencing this winter finally made its exit– and I’m hoping for good! This past weekend, the temperature was in the sixties so I spent some much-needed time at the barn. Aside from doing some hoof trimming and acupressure on the horses, I also started my spring cleaning at the barn. It’s been long overdue!
I tend to be a minimalist in pretty much every aspect of my life, and too much ‘stuff’ drives me crazy! And now that I’m down to three horses, I knew some things needed to go. I started making two piles in the barn–one pile of stuff to sell and the other to throw out. So this got me thinking–what do I really need to have in my barn? What are the things that I don’t want to be without? And I came up with a top ten list.
Not including nutritional supplements and the basics that I’m sure everyone one has (such as a wheel barrow, cherry picker, buckets, grooming supplies, etc.), here are my essentials for the horse barn (in no particular order):
1. First Aid Kit–Everyone needs a first aid kit in their barn–but you knew that, I’m sure! Here’s what I keep in my first aid kit:
I also try to keep banamine on hand for colic emergencies.
2. Natural Fly Spray– If you own a horse, I’m sure you know how important fly spray is. It’s something I try to never be without whether I’m trimming a horse, doing an acupressure session, or riding. I also try to spray my horses down every morning when I feed in the summer time. Lately, I’ve been making my own fly spray with apple cider vinegar and citronella essential oil. (See this post for more natural fly spray recipes).
3. Soaking Boot–After trying several different soaking boots (including homemade ones), I finally found this one made by Davis. I love these boots–so easy to use and very durable! I use a soaking boot to treat thrush, white line disease (which Hershey has battled for several years) and abscesses.
4. Fly Masks— Flies tend to bother my older horses more in the summer time– and especially around the eyes. Fly masks are a great way to keep the flies off their face. They’re also good to use if your horse gets any type of irritation or infection in his eye.
6. Thrush Treatment–Thrush is a common problem with horses so having a quick way to treat it (besides the soaks) is important to me. I’ve used several different remedies, but right now, I’m using ‘Pete’s Goo’ which is a 50/50 mix of triple antibiotic and athlete’s foot cream. See these posts for more on thrush and options for treating it: Thrush in Horses: Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies and Home Remedies for Thrush in Horses.
7. Heated Buckets–I love these things! No more messing with tank heaters or chipping ice in the winter. They give me peace of mind knowing that my horses always have warmed drinking water in the winter, too.
8. Electrolytes– I feed electrolytes after any stressful situation (such as a long haul), if it’s extremely hot out and the horses are sweating more than normal, or after a long ride. Always good to have on hand.
9. Pocket Knife— This might sound like a strange one, but I recommend keeping a pocket knife in your barn or horse trailer (if you don’t keep one in your pocket) in case of emergencies such as a horse pulling back or getting tangled up in something. I’ve had to use mine on a couple of occasions and was very glad to have it there.
10. Scales–I use a fish scale to weigh my hay and a gram scale to weigh supplements like magnesium, copper, and zinc. I also have a kitchen scale for measuring feeds. This way, I can know exactly how much I’m feeding. Feeding horses by weight instead of volume is important!
So those are the things I find extremely useful around the barn. What are your horse barn essentials?