If you are a first-time horse owner, you might be just a little overwhelmed by all the hard work that you need to do. Barn maintenance might feel like a never-ending story: you need to clean the barn and the stables regularly and attend to your horse's needs, which can be a tiring activity when you have little to no experience.
Feeling overwhelmed is only natural. When you’re a horse owner, unexpected things that need your immediate attention happen all the time, and it might seem like you’re never going to finish the work. Rodents, fire hazards, bad odors, or roof holes are just some of the many challenges you might be facing in your first year as a horse owner. It takes some hard work to fix everything, so you don’t put your horse’s or your health at risk.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to do it all alone, the hard way. With the right amount of research, you can take advantage of other people’s experiences and ease your work, just by following a few simple tips and strategies.
We’ve prepared a few barn maintenance tips for first-time horse owners that we would have loved to know when we ourselves were novices.
Let’s get started, and you’ll see just how easy it can be to simplify your life around the barn.
1. Pest Proof Your Barn
Rodents in a barn are always a risk since they’re always searching for food and shelter. And they are not only inconvenient little creatures, but they can also be a severe health hazard, as rats and mice can spread disease. They can also dig their way in and create structural damage to your barn.
To make sure you keep them away, always clean the horse’s stalls, keep an eye on any place they might enter, and use rodent-proof containers to store food. You can also lay snap traps or cage traps to catch them if you can’t chase them away.
It might be efficient, but it’s best to stay away from toxic bait, especially if you also have cats around the house or barn.
2. Invest in Barn Roof Repair and Maintenance
It’s no fun to notice that you’ve got a hole in your roof. Patching up the roof is not fun, so you might put off this activity for some time, but then bad weather comes and it starts raining in your stall. That’s something you don’t want to happen, so the best practice is to check the roof after a severe storm or a windy season to make sure everything is in place.
You also have to be on the lookout for any dead or damaged trees that can fall and cause damage to your barn during a rainstorm. Make sure you remove them and prune nearby trees.
If you do notice anything that might become an issue, don’t postpone the repair. Even a small crack can quickly become a big problem, so be sure to invest in repairing all the potential damage.
3. Regularly Take Care Of Stall Mats & Bedding Maintenance
Cleaning a barn is not always enjoyable, but with a few tips and small investments, you can reduce the cleaning time and ensure a healthy environment for your horse.
Stall mats may seem a bit pricey at first glance, but they can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Choose a stall mat that’s impermeable and easy to clean to save time and effort while cleaning. Another advantage is that it will help regulate the amount of bedding you use.
The bedding you choose should be absorbent and clean at all times to avoid dust, fungus, and mold. Pine shavings are amongst the best alternatives available on the market: they are dust-free, clean, and absorbent.
Wet bedding can hold onto ammonia, and this can cause respiratory disease, so you should consider using a bedding conditioner to freshen the bedding.