5 Quick and Useful tips
Winter and spring are a great times to evaluate your barn for safety. While you are thinking of blanket repairs, water deicers and swapping seasonal equipment, you can apply a critical eye to your farm management routines that will help you keep your property safe for horses and humans.
1. Replenish the horse & human first aid kit
Ideally you will never need these supplies. But nothing is worse than being stressed about a horse or human that is in need of first aid and being unprepared. Here are some basic supplies to be sure to have on hand.
- Tefla™ nonstick pads
- Vet wrap
- Cotton wrap
- Latex gloves
- Eye saline solution
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Hoof pick
- Cold pack
- Antimicrobial skin and wound cleanser
- Small flashlight with spare batteries
- Sharp knife
- Tweezers and hemostat
2. De-clutter barn aisles and grooming areas
Unless you have a full-time barn cleaner it’s easy to let things collect, especially when you are riding less because of cold weather. It may be tempting to store items like pitchforks and tack trunks in the barn aisle. But, if a horse acts up or spooks in the aisle it can get dangerous for horses and humans quickly. Instead, collect all the unnecessary items and put them in their own storage areas away from high traffic areas.
3. Fix broken hardware and remove nails
A hazard hunt is a great activity for the whole family! Look for protruding nails, broken hardware, splintered wood, wire, hay strings, Make sure stall door latches retract completely. A latch or bolt that protrudes even a 1/2-inch can cause serious injury. Use closed eye-hooks and double-ended snaps to hang water and feed buckets instead of open hooks, or wires.
4. Check electrical panels, and extension cords
Hopefully we get to put our heated buckets and tank deicers away (soon!). As you do that, check all electrical cords for signs of age or chewing. Discard them immediately so you don’t accidentally pull them out next year. All outlets and switches should be covered with protective covers to keep dust out. If these break off or stop working properly make sure they are replaced right away.
5. Refresh your barn rules
Whether your barn is just for family and friends for boarders or mostly private, it’s always a good idea to post clear visible updated barn rules. You never know who might stop bye and open a gate or leave a door open. Review the rules annually to make sure nothing has changed. There is a basic list started here you can download and print!