When the days become longer, and the weather becomes tolerable, most horse
owners find themselves spending more time outdoors. This is the perfect
opportunity to do a little spring cleaning around the barn and trailer. If this idea
is slightly overwhelming, here are a few suggestions on where to start.
Tack is important to keep clean and useable. It is common for leather to
become stiff and hard through the winter months. To prevent cracking
and ensure longevity, spring is the perfect time to give all your leather
tack a good washing and conditioning. Saddle soap and saddle butter are
great products for the job. Also, be sure all splint boots and overreach
boots are in good condition. Saddle pads and cinchas are easiest to clean at a car wash where
the high-pressured water can remove all the grit and grime. Clean brushes in a bucket of hot
water and bleach. This is also a good time to trade-in or donate all those bridles and halters you
have not been using in years.
BYE BYE BLANKETS
With the warmer weather your horses will not be needing those heavy
winter blankets. Commercial sized washers at a laundromat will do a
much better job of washing than a water hose or home washing machine.
Once clean, store the winter blankets in a tight container to keep out
moths and nesting animals. Change out the blankets for fly masks and
fly sheets to protect your horses from pesky insects.
FRESH FIRST AID
Sorting through your medicine and first aid cabinet might be scary,
but it is always a good idea to know what you are lacking and what
has expired. Throw away all expired items and products that look like
they may have separated. Stock up on products for common seasonal
ailments, as well as dewormers and fly sprays. Deworming your horses
will also help them shed their winter coat.
Check for broken or damaged buckets, feeders and waterers. Be sure
all your buckets have working bucket straps. This is also a perfect time
to replace or upgrade your hay bags. Slow feeders are a great option to
encourage natural grazing habits and prevent waste. Deep clean stalls
and trailer flooring.
Experience less stress by choosing the right cases and/or caddies for your
needs. Hanging grooming bags, tack room organizers, saddle racks, and
portable bridle racks will all increase efficiency and functionality of your
tack room and trailer.
Remember: With the change of season, it might be time to freshen up your rope bag. Since ropes are petroleum based, they are greatly affected by temperature change. NRS receives new ropes every week, so you can be confident you are purchasing ropes manufactured within the season. Purchasing ropes that are softer than you are used to can be a good idea, since the hot summer sun will cause them to become harder over time. Once you have purchased your new ropes, keep them in a dry, cool place and try not to leave them in direct sunlight.
Once you are done, you will be prepared to tackle all your horsemanship goals for 2014.◆