Horse Care And Barn Management- Creating Barn Routines
Creating Barn Routines
Hello and welcome back to our horse care and barn management series.
This series aims to provide you with loads of tips, tricks, ideas, and how-tos that work to simplify keeping your horses at home and make it that much more enjoyable!
In our last article Horse Care And Barn Management Article 1 we talked about winter barn care and some of the things you can do to prepare for winter before you are stuck in the thick of it.
(Literally, if you live in a place that gets a lot of snow!)
Today, we are going to slightly shift gears and talk about creating (and sticking to) manageable routines at your home facility or barn. (Yes, we will include a section for those of you who board as well!) Barn routines are essential for creating consistency and making sure you get the things completed that you need to do and keep up with little tasks that otherwise would end up becoming large, hard-to-accomplish workloads.
Another wonderful thing about creating barn routines is that once you get the hang of what you need to do each day, you can refine and optimize your tasks and workload, work harder, get more done, and still have even more time for the fun things you would rather be doing with your horses than the mandatory barn chores.
What does a typical barn routine look like?
Everyone’s barn routine is going to look a little different because everyone has a different barn setup, schedule, and things that they like to get done each day or at various points during the day.
Some people like to do the exact same things at the exact same time every day, ritually, and some people prefer to have various tasks every day that they need to get done. Either way, creating an organized management system for all of the needs and tasks in your barn is essential to making sure everything is taken care of while taking some stress off of your shoulders.
Another wonderful thing about barn routines is that you can create a morning and evening routine, a daily routine, or something entirely customized to fit your needs. If you have any interest in becoming a barn manager or currently work as one then being capable of planning, preparing, and maintaining are essential skills to focus on. Creating barn routines and optimizing your daily activities can help you do a better job each day, with less effort. Even if you don’t plan to work as a barn manager, barn routines are still immensely helpful in staying financially and physically responsible for your horse’s needs and care.
Examples of barn routines for different situations
These are the three main situations I figure most people will probably find themselves in when keeping a horse at home.
- Keeping a horse at home (with or without a place to work your horse) and a barn.
- Keeping your horse at home in the pasture with a shelter/lean-to-style livery barn.
- Keeping your horse at home in the pasture with no shelter, just natural shelter/ trees.
The day-to-day cleaning and care routine won’t look terribly different for each situation, but depending on the type of facility you have at your use there are a plethora of maintenance tasks that may need to be incorporated into your schedule such as:
Working an arena, pasture and fence maintenance, lighting/ wiring issues, and so many other things.
Be sure to effectively plan for all of these tasks and be sure to set yourself up to where you are managing tasks before they are constantly becoming fixing projects. Maintenance, done on time and correctly, will help keep your facility or small barn area working properly and safe for you and your horse.
- Remove your horse from the barn/ stall if possible
- Clean, disinfect, and re-bed stalls (disinfection is not always necessary, I just plan on it daily if needed. This can be especially important if you have foaling mares at home or newborn foals.)
- Wipe down inside of stalls
- Dump, scrub, and sanitize buckets, re-hang and fill
- Place any feed in the horses stall necessary
- Do any of your sweeping/ isle blowing when the horse(s) are out of the barn. This will reduce the risk of airway inflammatory disease from occurring.
- Clean/ organize arena, round pen, etc. areas
- Organize feed and tack rooms if they were used that day
Weekly tasks and routine:
Monday- Take care of the poop pile
Tuesday- Dump and refill pasture waters
Wednesday- Go to the feed store
Thursday- Work the arena
Friday- Check pastures
(You may even want to put times and locations of certain areas within your own records when making your schedule.)
This is just a basic and brief outline, but it could be tailored to any schedule or routine needs. You can check out many different examples of barn routines on YouTube to help you find or create one that fits your needs.
How to create your own, customized barn routine
Creating your own barn routine can be really fun if you make it. I’m someone who loves to organize, so creating management templates and lists is one of my favorite things to do. Here are a couple of important aspects to consider when thinking about creating your routine.
Routines can be subject to change-don’t stress about it too much.
Routines can and should be able to be easily adaptable, because, horses are unpredictable. So is lie. Make a plan that can bend and flow with your life so that you don’t end up feeling like you fail before you even get started and get into the swing of working with a consistent routine.
Keep things as complicated as you need to in order to get the tasks you NEED to accomplish done, but simple enough to where you will stick to your plan without hassle.
Keeping things simple yet complex enough to get your basics and a few extras done leaves you with the ability to still tackle the tasks you don’t necessarily plan head-on. Getting into a consistent routine for the tasks you need to care for each day will optimize your productivity and lessen the amount of time you spend doing your barn chores and repairs.
Plan out your weekly tasks by the day
If you know you need to scrub your water buckets once or twice a week, schedule it in and create consistency with the days you do certain tasks. Before you know it, you will instinctively be performing and completing these tasks efficiently before you even really realize you are doing them. Planning out when you are going to do the things you don’t do daily will help make sure nothing gets skipped and keep you from staying up at night trying to remember if X, Y, and Z got done or not. (I know that has happened to me more times than I can count.)
Creating a barn routine when you board your horse
Creating an adaptable and manageable barn routine while you board your horse is something many people learn they need to do, especially if they choose a self-care or partial care boarding option. Going to the barn every day to pick stalls and water horses is a must and cannot be skipped, especially when your horse depends on you for care even if they don’t live on your property.
“I think it’s really easy for people to forget the importance of a barn routine even with horses that are being boarded. How many times do we go to a boarding facility, even a very nice one, and see horses that are living in pig styes or are really not well cared for? This is a huge problem. Even worse, there are horses that are sent off for boarding and then abandoned. This even happens are trainers’ facilities! If people planned carefully for the care of their horses, these issues would not be so prevalent. Creating a barn routine is more than just organization, it’s taking into account what you need to do to provide for your horse(s) both physically and financially.”- Jamie Ridge
Part of what we need to consider when boarding a horse is that creating barn routines leads to financial management for our horses. Both at home and at the boarding facility. When you are keeping track of what you are doing, when, how, and how much stuff you are using you are going to be much more capable of tracking and recording the expenses that come along with horse ownership. This is imperative because owning a horse is no small financial task.
Consider these aspects while creating your barn routine, and while doing so craft it in a way that allows you to plan in all ways and lessen your workload.
Thank you for tuning into the article today and I hope that this episode of Horse Care and Barn Management on creating barn routines has been helpful to you. Routines are essential for success in almost every aspect of our lives, the same thing can be said with the success of our barn management and operation. No matter how big or small your facility is. Barn routines also give us a way to be able to combat “at-home horse care burnout,” (which can be a thing that really occurs if you take care of horses day in and day out for years on end.) We wish you the best of luck in planning and executing your barn routine, please let us know your routine and how it works for you below or in an email.
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Bible Verse of the day
Today’s bible verse of the day is:
John 3:16-21 NIV Biblegateway.com
“16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”