Guest post by Raquel from Horses & Heels.
When I casually mention that my horse lives in my backyard, my people stare blankly at me for a second.
If you are familiar with my blog Horses & Heels, chances are you’ve read some of my horse updates on city life. I keep my horse in my backyard and don’t have an arena or pasture.
Small space living provides a challenge, but it can be done. If you are going to keep your horse in a smaller space like this, you must have plenty of time to dedicate to them.
I do have access to public arenas and miles of trails within the neighborhood and city limits. It’s my responsibility to make sure my horse gets out daily and stays active.
Since horses are herd animals, they enjoy the company of other horses or small animals like goats. Fira has a horse next door that she talks to. If one of them is upset, the other one nickers with concern. She’s also extremely vocal and expressive towards me.
She’ll see me in the yard and will come over to say hello, even if her hay bin is full.
Organized Tack and Hay Storage
One of the biggest challenges is keeping my tiny shed organized. I must keep hay, grain and tack in one space. I have an 8’x8’ shed for this.
I’ll never find myself getting a discount on hay for ordering large amounts, but I do get free delivery on hay and don’t have to stack it myself. If you have to keep you everything in the same room or area, it’s important to create zones.
Half of my shed is for hay and the other half is for tack and supplies. Have a place for everything. Hooks are your best friend. Use them to hang up bridles and halters, but also bits, spurs and miscellaneous items.
Utilize the ceiling for hooks and maximize every square inch. I keep a small dustpan and broom nearby for sweeping up hay scraps on a daily basis.
Keep a Tidy Stall
My house is eighteen feet away from the stall in the backyard. The last thing I want is for my home to smell like a barn.
Manure is stored in garbage cans until it’s taken away each week. I clean my stall several times a day and I also hose down the dirt daily to manage dust. I’ve also added extra stall mats in heavily traveled areas to keep additional dust from being stirred up.
Staying on top of manure management helps keep flies away. I use diatomaceous earth for drying up wet spots from urine and keeping it fresh. Find a manure management system that works for you and your property size.
The best thing about keeping your horse nearby is the bond you’ll develop with them. I understand Fira’s habits and moods since I keep a close eye on her.
I have learned so much about her personality and can predict what kind of ride I’m going to get based on our tacking up experience or how she walks out the gate.
You’ll also have the peace of mind knowing your horse is getting fed exactly what you want them to have. You’ll know their water buckets are always full and that their stall is clean.