There is one thing every horse owner wants, and that is more time to spend with their horses instead of cleaning up after them. Making just a few small adjustments to your barn chores routine can save you a ton of time that you can spend with your horses instead.
Make a Plan
Find out how long it takes to do each chore and then put them in order starting with the longest chore and working down to the quickest task. For me, that means turning on the water to fill the water trough, then feeding the horses, then picking out stalls, then taking care of the chickens in the stall coop. By the time I’m done with my last chore, the water trough is full and the feed buckets are ready to be picked up and put away. Doing your barn chores in order like this will allow you to keep being productive during the tasks you would normally be waiting around on, like waiting for the water trough to fill or for the horses to eat their grain.
Decide if you’re more motivated by music or if you rather bask in the quiet sounds of the barn. If you choose to play music, make sure to keep the volume to a level where you can hear over the music for things like tractors coming through, the clip clop of hooves, or anything else that may pose a risk. Horses typically enjoy music as it helps tone down the other sounds around them and helps them to stay calmer. Music with short melodies or strong rhythmic patterns is usually the best received by horses, so play some classical or country!
Having a tool station helps save time looking for the right pitchfork or your favorite broom. A quick search on Pinterest will give you all kinds of tool storage organization ideas. Try also searching for basement and garage storage ideas, as many of these storage solutions can be applied to the barn as well. Peg boards, hooks, bins, cabinets, and DIY projects can transform the organization of your barn. Having a tool station either in the middle of the barn or one at each end can help ensure tools are always right where you need them. You can even set up a tool station out by your pastures or arena for quick access should you need to repair fencing, gate hardware, or catch a loose horse. Items like a hammer, screwdriver, clips, hay string, duct tape, halter and lead rope, and basic first aid supplies like vet wrap are great items to put in this field tool kit. Use a mailbox mounted to a fence post for weatherproof storage.
Store hoses somewhere they won’t freeze. Nobody likes waiting on a hose to thaw so this can be a big time saver for you if you live in colder climates. If your barn has an insulated or heated tack room, you can store your hose in there in a plastic storage tote so it won’t leak on the floor. Make sure to detach the hose from the spigot in cold weather to help prevent the spigot from freezing shut. During warmer months, using a hose hanger right by the spigot keeps the hose neatly coiled and off the floor where it could be a trip hazard.
What productivity hacks do you use in your barn chores routine? Share your tips so we can all spend more time with our horses this year!
**Jen and her husband, Clayton, bought their farm in August of 2018 and love living the simple country life. They share their home and farm with their dogs, cats, horses, and chickens. Jen loves learning and is always researching new things for the farm, house, animals, and natural wellness. Her favorite mantra is “thoughts are things” and hopes to inspire and empower people to create abundance and sustainability in their own lives. Follow Jen on Instagram @steelspoonfarm and read her blog at www.steelspoonfarm.com