A lot of work and consideration go into caring for your horses. One good way to start is by keeping their stalls and stables well-maintained. By addressing your horses’ comfort, you cover a lot of ground in ensuring their overall health and well-being.
Take these seven expert tips to heart to keep your horse stalls and stables in peak condition:
Always keep it clean
Cleanliness is the simplest and most important requirement when it comes to maintaining horse facilities. The following tools are essential for your regular cleaning routines:
- Muck bucket cart
- Heavy duty corn broom
- Scoop shovel
- Stall freshener
Keep stalls clear of manure and urine with a daily cleaning routine. Have a keen eye for detail, too. Separate manure from the shavings that you use as flooring or bedding using a pitchfork to prevent harmful bacterial growth.
Make it a habit to disinfect the stables every month, but be mindful of the cleaning solutions that you use. Look for options that are certified safe for animals.
Prevent moisture from getting in
Wet horse stalls present slipping hazards that can injure your horses. Excess moisture also creates environments where pests, rot, and mold can develop and flourish. This could leave your horses vulnerable to disease or infection.
Moisture also affects the durability and integrity of your facilities. Left unchecked, moisture causes wooden stables to rot or grow mold and steel stables to rust or corrode.
Remember to keep the beddings dry. Make sure your plumbing and drainage are always in proper working order.
Avoid using water to clear out dust, as well. This can create humid conditions that can be harmful for both your horses and you.
Choose the right flooring and bedding materials
The materials you use as flooring and bedding in your stalls and stables affect the health and well-being of your horses. Avoid settling with concrete because these hard surfaces can hurt horses’ legs and hooves. In terms of regular maintenance, it can be difficult to drain. Concrete also gets cold at night and in the winter.
Mats are the ideal choice for flooring. They are easy to clean and also help minimize muck and dust build-up.
For bedding, you can choose from wood shavings, sawdust, and straw – the most affordable and accessible options. Be wary of the disadvantages that each type of bedding presents, however. Shavings and sawdust can make your stables and stalls dusty while straw is prone to mold.
Manage the air quality inside the stables
Good air quality is an important but often overlooked factor when maintaining horse stables. Air quality suffers when there is too much dust, as well as increasing concentrations of ammonia and other harmful gases.
To keep the air quality in your facilities in check, make sure there is proper ventilation. Use ceiling fans and exhaust fans to manage the air flow throughout the area. These appliances also help horses regulate their temperature, especially during the summer, and prevent odor from building up during the winter.
Storing dry bedding and hay elsewhere outside the stables also helps prevent dust from settling inside the building.
Keep the feeding materials clean
What your horses eat from is just as important as what they eat. Wash and scrub down their food and water buckets regularly.
Keep hay and feed in a dry and safe storage facility to prevent moisture buildup, and keep parasites, vermin, and other contaminants away from the food.
Pest-proof your stables
The hay and grain you keep in your horse stalls and stables are attractive to rats and other pests. If you don’t keep these vermin at bay, you can risk exposing your horses to fleas, diseases, and infection. Pests can also cause costly structural damage.
Here are a few ideas to prevent pest infestations in your stables:
- Establish regular and thorough cleaning routine.
- Use metal containers to store the horses’ food supply, because rats can easily chew through plastic.
- Lay traps around the stalls to catch small rats and mice. Be careful not to place them where they can harm your horses.
- Consider getting barn cats for natural and sustainable pest maintenance.
Take care of the little things
Dripping faucets, exposed nails, dilapidated doors, and flickering lights are all minor issues that could quickly turn to major problems if left unattended. Repair or replace them as soon as you become aware of them.
Get help from professional service providers if you can’t fix them yourself. Investing in proper maintenance for your horse facilities are a better use of your money than rebuilding your stables or replacing horses lost to poor health or disease.