Guest writer Sara Karras has shared some of her favorite barn hacks. It’s a great way to save time and money, something we could all use more of!
Sweat Scraper Hack:
If your horse get really sweaty in the bony areas, like hips and shoulders, then this hack is for you. All you need is a piece of baling twine. Simple enough, as there’s tons of it laying around I’m sure. Just pull it tight and run it over the sweaty areas. It’s coarse enough to get the sweat off yet flexible enough that you don’t need to worry about hurting your horse.
Dusty Hay Hack:
If your hay is really dusty, more than likely one of the main issues is that it’s on a dirt floor (granted this is not true for everyone), and you don’t want to pay to pour concrete. Instead, you can lay down wooden pallets. Several people have these around, whether it be from buying a bulk amount of shavings, hay, oats, or anything of the sort. You might need to use a Sawzall to cut down the size of some of the pallets so that it fits in the hay room, but as long as it’s off the ground, that’s the main thing that matters.
Have all your shovels, brooms, and poop forks leaning in a corner somewhere where you have to dig through and accidentally knock over other tools to get to the one you want? I did too, until I came up with this idea. All you need is some screws, an open wall space, and either a drill or a screwdriver. Just put the screws in the wall about six or seven feet off the ground. Some things, such as brooms, have holes at the end of the handles you can hook on a screw, others like the manure shovel I have, have a handle at the end that you can actually hold it by rather than just a stick so you can hang it from that, or things like poop forks have to get hung with the fork part at the top, hanging between two nails.
Pads and Blankets Hack:
Have a bunch of blankets, saddle pads, and saddle blankets stacked up in the corner with mice attempting to make nests in between or jammed in a trunk or tub where they’re growing mold from the moisture still left on them when you put them away? Instead of stacking or stashing, with a long closet rod and a pair of brackets, hang the rod across one end of your tack room. Then, you can drape the blankets over it so they can air out better and can be stored that way too.
Sliding Blankets Hack:
If you did the hack above, have something similar, or have something like it in your trailer but the blankets and pads keep sliding, this hack is for you. To keep it from sliding, all you need is a roll of vet tape. I use older ones that are dirty and not as useful or nice looking on my horses and just wrapped it around the rod, giving it a good grip to keep them from the sliding around.
Halter and Lead Rope Hack:
Have an outdoor arena where you like to keep halters and lead ropes on hand or switch to the bridle out there? A simple over the door hanger works wonderfully! You can buy them for a few dollars at your local hardware store, where they are usually five or six metal hooks coated in white or black rubber. All you need to do then is slip it over the fence, add a few screws to make sure it’s stable, and you have a new hanger, rather than constantly draping them over the fence or hooking them on posts.
Velcro and Cloth Hack:
If your horse’s fur just clings to any Velcro or a woven girth or if you have hay stuck in the Velcro of your truck, then this hack will do wonders for you and your horse. Just use a metal toothed dog brush and run it over the Velcro or cloth with lots of pressure to dig up the fur. I recommend not using one of the comb-like ones, as those tend to dog in too much, and instead use the ones with the fine metal bristles. The one I use is called the FURminator. It also works good on saddle pads that have the fur so worn in that a vacuum can’t even get it out.
Have a horse that is always chewing on wood, whether it be the fence, the door, or part of his or her stall? My solution is simple. If you rub a bar of soap over it, it becomes absolutely disgusting to them. It won’t hurt them or anything, just make it unappetizing.
Do you live somewhere where it gets extremely humid and hot in the summer or your barn has little to no openings for air movement? I use old hay bags, from when they were made out of rope rather than the fancy cloth ones, and slip a box fan in. You can feed the cord out the bottom and use twine to close the top of the bag and hang it from the top of the stall door or wherever it’s needed.
Planning on competing in trail but have no idea on how you’re going to practice without a gate that’s still in the perimeter of your arena or pasture? With two five gallon buckets, two wooden rods, sand, and a length of rope, you can make a gate that is much more similar to the ones used in showing than in actual gate. Drill a hole in the middle of one of the rods at the end. Put one of the wooden rods into the bucket. Have someone hold it upright roughly in the middle of the bucket while you fill around it with sand. Do the same with the other bucket, wooden rod, and sand. Thread the rope through the hole in the one rod and tie it to the other part of the rope. One end of the rope should just be a small tail while the other is longer. Tie a slip knot on the other end of the rope and put it over your other rod and just like that, you have a trail gate.
Sara Karras is a 14 year old girl who is struggling to make it in both the horse world and the writing world, yet hopes and prays for a job that includes both. She has been around horses since she was born and was on a horse for the first time when she was six months old. She could ride on her own when she was four and a half and got her own horse, who she is prepping for their first horse show, in August.