On the first warm weekend of the year, you may be inspired to tackle a cleaning project at the barn. Skip organizing the tack room, however, and focus instead on spring-cleaning projects that will help keep your horse safe and healthy. Here are a few suggestions:
• Remove cobwebs. These rafter-clingers collect massive amounts of dust, jeopardizing your horse’s respiratory health. You can remove cobwebs with a broom or duster attached to an extension pole. Before you start working, however, take all the horses out of the barn and protect yourself with safety goggles and a dust mask.
• Level out floors. If your stall floors aren’t covered with mats, a winter of pawing, pacing horses may have left them uneven and riddled with holes, which can lead to strains or injuries. Strip the stalls and refill holes and ruts with dirt, tamping them sufficiently to make a hard, stable surface. If you have stall mats, floor holes won’t be a problem, but take time to ensure the edges of the mats are secure and flush with the floor.
• Scrub the water tubs. Hopefully your buckets and tubs weren’t left untouched all winter long, but regardless, spring provides a chance for a thorough scrubbing. Dirty, scummy buckets can harbor illness-causing pathogens. Most troughs and buckets can be cleaned with only a stiff scrub brush, elbow grease and water, but if you need more power to cut through buildup, try baking powder, which won’t leave behind any residue.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #439.