Barn chores that can wait

During the cold, dark and busy winter months it's OK to put off three horsekeeping tasks for a little while.

This time of year, fitting all your barn chores into a single day can seem impossible. Fewer hours of daylight, holiday commitments and extreme weather conditions can conspire to leave you struggling to keep up. Take heart: Here are three chores you can leave for another day without feeling guilty:

A person sweeping hair out of a barn with a horse visible in the background
Feel free to leave an aisle unswept, especially if horses are still in the area.

 • Sweeping the aisle. A little dirt and hay left between the stalls won’t hurt anyone. In fact, sweeping or using a leaf-blower on aisles when the horses are in the barn is very hazardous to their respiratory system. So walk away from the unswept aisle knowing you’ve done the right thing.

• Cleaning your tack. At some point you were probably told you should clean your tack after every ride. Consider this permission not to. A quick wipe down with a damp cloth (or dry if the weather is below freezing) is sufficient after a typical ride. When the weekend rolls around, you can do a deeper cleaning and conditioning.

Click here to read about guilt-free tack cleaning. 

• Cleaning water buckets. This isn’t a job you’ll want to ignore for long, but during the colder months you can get away with skipping bucket scrubbing for a few days because the cooler temperatures make it harder for algae and “scum” to flourish. Just check for messes, such as rotting hay or dead mice, and make sure no ice has formed. As long as your horse’s buckets are topped off with fresh water before you leave for the evening, don’t worry about making them look pristine.

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