Useful Stall and Barn Products Save Time and Money
My experience with ‘superior and intelligent’ horses comes from owning over 30, so far, along with caring for horses that boarded at our barn for several years. I have seen the best of them.. the escape artists, the jumpers from paddock to paddock, the one that got caught between two trees (before he came to our boarding barn), the cribbers, kickers, weavers, circlers.. well you get the idea. So when it comes to preventing undue maintenance (from incidents you did not expect), I will be the first to tell you how to master and out smart the best ‘mischevious’ horses around! These ideas will be sure to save you both time and money!
Stalls – If your stalls have seen better days, there is hope. Access the damages and find the spots that your horse, or a boarding horse, likes to do his ‘magic’. Then make repairs that will be long lasting- for example, tongue and grove board is stronger than straight cut boards, especially with horses that like to kick and push. Tongue and grove board will cost a bit more, however, you get what you pay for and over time you will be paying less with the better boards. Use 2 treated boards at the bottom of your stalls and damage from dampness will be kept at bay. To help with installation, a simple U-channel can be easily installed by screwing it to the front and back wall for your partitions. Your boards will slide down into the solid channel easier than if you use wood for guides. If for any reason you need to repair a board, they can be easily removed.
Need a stronger and more durable stall than what wood provides? Consider using ‘puck board’ instead of wood. Puck board, that is used in hockey arenas, can be purchased in sheets and installed as your stall walls. Its durable and can easily be washed.
Next, for a great way to discourage those cribbers, wind suckers and chewers, add wall capping (just screw it into place) and post edging to the corners of wood in your stalls. The capping tops off your walls and the edging covers corners that cribbing horses tend to ‘grab’. Horses won’t like to chew and you just virtually eliminated ongoing costly maintenance. For horses that tend to lean and push, install solid wall braces to reinforce your walls. Oh, and don’t forget to add stall mats to your stall floor. Once again you save on labor, time and money by stopping wear to your floor from the circlers and weavers.
Fencing – If your fencing is beginning to look like scallops rather than nice straight rails, its a good idea to do some fixing up before extremely smart horses find a way out. Taking a little time to repair your fence will help to keep accidents from happening. If your in a pinch and need to add extra protection to keep horses away from your fencing, invest in a simple electric tape or rope system. Tape systems can run about as low as 13 cents a foot and rope systems around 20 cents a foot (and less) for the rail. With a few needed accessories you can have your existing fence reinforced at a minimum increasing both holding power and visibility. Don’t forget to have a fence tester handy.. its a much friendlier way to see if your fence is working rather than the alternative!
If your adding to your fence or need to build a brace, diagonal brace plates are nailed into the down post and onto the diagonal post, holding it at the desired angle. This small but helpful piece of hardware is installed with ring shank nails. It will hold your braces in place with out having to cut into the treatment which could shorten the life of your posts. Having some useful tools close by is a big help if you need to repair your fence after a storm or from damage. Fence pliers are like having 4 tools in one. They can drive nails and staples, pull fence staples and also cut wire – a very handy tool.
If horses are your passion, like they are to me, we want to be able to enjoy them with out the worry of constant and costly maintenance. When you look at getting the right products, (that may cost a little more than a ‘cheaper’ product that will not last nearly as long), you end up saving money in the long run – because you don’t purchase twice. That makes economical sense!
Enjoy your incredibly smart equine friends. And if you have any questions in reguards to ‘fool proofing’ your horse stalls or fencing, just let me know. Together we will find ways to help keep maintenance at a minimum.