As spring finally brings with it warmer weather, chances are you’ll be spending plenty of time in the saddle. You’re also probably doing a “spring cleaning” of your house – but here are some ideas to carry your spring cleaning over to your barn. Be sure that all of the horses are out of the barn when you begin cleaning so that they’re not affected by any dust that you stir up.
Take a long broom or a featherduster with an extension on it and thoroughly decobweb your barn. A tip: Remove the water buckets and feed tubs from stalls before you decobweb them to avoid having to clean them all over again.
Hay and Feed Storage
It’s easy to let daily cleaning get ahead of us, and hay and grain storage areas are notoriously dusty. But did you know that this can be a fire hazard, and the excess dust is bad for your horse’s health? While you’re cleaning, check feed and hay for spoilage or mold, and discard anything that is unsafe to feed.
Keep an eye out for signs of rodents as you clean. Add mousetraps, or replenish the bait in existing traps, if necessary. Be sure to use precaution when cleaning rodent droppings; sweep them up thoroughly and wear a mask to avoid inhaling any dust from the droppings.
Launder any dirty saddle pads, leg wraps, or bandages which are in need of cleaning. Store extras in rodent-proof containers or tack trunks so that they’re ready for use. Also take the time to clean your blankets or to send them out to a cleaning service before storing them for next winter.
Now is also a great time to clean your brushes and grooming kit. Remove all of your grooming tools from your tote or grooming back and give it a thorough shaking out or wipe down. Wipe or hose off solid tools like your hoof pick, mane comb, and curry comb. Wash your brushes in a soapy water solution, rinse, and let them dry.
Go through your tack trunks and your tack rooms and get things organized and ready for show season. Keep items that you use frequently in places that are easy to access, and store less frequently used items away where they won’t take up excess space. You probably won’t need your custom hunting rifle while you’re away, or your winter ski gear.
As you go through your equipment, if you find things that you doubt you’ll use in the future, consider selling them at a tack sale or donating them to an equine charity.
Along with your cleaning routine, perform a safety check. Make sure that electrical outlets are in good repair and are outfitted with protective caps to keep inquisitive equine noses protected. Check any power cords for fraying or other signs of damage, and replace any damaged cords that you find. Make sure that your fire extinguishers haven’t expired, and replace batteries in your smoke detectors.
Walk all of the fence lines to check for damage or loosened boards. Also make sure that gate latches are strong and functioning. Finally, walk your pastures (enlist some help if they’re large) to check for any trash or debris that has been unearthed by the winter’s snow and dispose of it in adequate spring cleaning dumpsters
A thorough spring cleaning will leave your barn both safe for your horses and looking great.