Spring Is In the Air
Use our checklist to help get your farm, horses and yourself ready for what the next season brings along.
Before giving your horses that extended time in pasture, take some time to check your fence lines. Spring is full of beautiful days, so use one of them as an excuse to take a ride around your fences. Look for any areas that are in need of repair and mark them with a flag. That way, you can easily spot them when you're ready to fix them. Check for protruding nails, loose rails, fence that needs tensioned, broken insulators, etc. Repair anything that needs fixed before you turn your horses out again to help avoid accidents. Make sure turnouts are equipped with clean water troughs or automatic waterers.
With horses out in pasture for longer periods of time, this frees up stalls for maintenance and repairs. Make sure all feeders, waterers and buckets are clean and in good working order. Check mats to make sure edges aren't curling. Look for any boards that need replaced, and install post edging and/or wall capping if you see signs of chewing or cribbing.
The phrase ''spring cleaning'' didn't happen on accident! Spring is a great time to organize the tack room. While you're in there, don't forget to clean and condition your tack, as well. Regularly conditioning leather keeps it soft, supple and looking great. It also extends the life of your tack. Shining up the silver on your show tack will make a great impression in the ring and show that you take pride in your appearance and equipment.
With the warmer weather, your horses will need some spring-cleaning, too, to help them shed that winter coat. Groom often and keep hoofs picked out. Mud, stones and other debris can collect, especially when horses are receiving ample turnout time. If you've let manes and tails grow through the winter, get them in show shape with a good washing, de-tangling and trimming.
Keep up on the landscaping and yard work around your barn and pastures. Trim grass and weeds so they don't grow up into electric fence lines. If you have trees inside your pasture, loosely wrap the trunks with chicken wire to prevent chewing. If you've already done this, check the wire and adjust as the trees grow. Check the plants growing around your barn and pastures to make sure they aren't harmful to horses. If you're not sure, contact your local extension agency. They can help you identify plants you should look out for.
Spring means fly and mosquito season is just around the corner. Prepare a plan to combat these pesky insects. If you own a fly control system, make sure you have plenty of insecticide refills on hand so you don't run out during the season. Fire the system up before you notice a lot of flies and mosquitoes to help keep numbers down right from the start. If you don't own a system, purchase and install one now so it's ready to go when the flies hit full-force. RAMM's Fly & Mosquito Control System allows you to set the timer so it sprays several times throughout the day, taking the guesswork out of running the system. If one of these is not in your budget, stock up on fly sprays, wipes, masks and whatever else you use to help keep your horses comfortable. No matter what you do, keeping stalls clean and manure piles down will go a long way towards combating flies.
Once your barn, pastures and horses are in tip-top shape, do some spring-cleaning in your closet! Go through your show clothes, riding pants, boots, hats, etc. and take a look at what fits, what doesn't, and what needs replaced. If older items are still in decent condition, but no longer have a place in your rotation, consider taking them to a horseman's flea market. The money you make can go towards replacements or goodies for your horse!
When you're done with everything on the checklist, the results will be your reward. Although spring may bring some extra chores, they get us out of the house and into the barn, which is never a bad place to be. Take time this spring to get everything in shape, but most importantly, enjoy your horses!
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.
RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. makes every effort to provide reliable and useful information on horse health, care and products. The statements made on this website are based on years of experience with horses, however, they are based on generalized situations and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by a veterinarian or consultation by a professional. RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. does not assume any legal responsibility. Readers should always consult qualified health care providers for specific diagnosis and treatment.