Owning a horse or baiting one is a milestone for any horse lover, but it comes with a lot of responsibility regarding your special friend's care. Working at keeping horse stalls clean is one of those responsibilities.
A poorly cleaned stall can cause several problems. A dirty stable can attract more flies and insects, which can cause an array of health problems for horses.
A wet stall can also cause hoof issues, such as thrush, which is a bacterial infection in the horses’ hoof. The hoof also may become too damp and unhealthy from a wet stall, causing your horse to throw a shoe. The ammonia from bedding soaked with urine can also be harmful if your horse inhales it.
In consideration of preventing these health issues, here are some mucking out horse stall tips.
If you make a routine of horse stall maintenance, mucking out should take no more than 15 to 20 minutes a day. The best thing to do is schedule it into your day, preferably in the morning or sometime before your horse needs to come back from the paddock.
If you can't make it down to the stables, ask your yard manager or a friend if they can help you with mucking out rather than neglecting the task.
Cleaning a stable is a messy business, so do not wear your smart jods and boots while mucking out. The wet and muck can damage your leather boots and stitching, and your smart riding slacks may end up ruined.
Rather wear simple, more resilient clothes like:
— Jeans or overalls
— Wellies/rubber boots
— Work gloves to protect your hands from blisters, splinters from your tools, and callouses
Like with any task, having the right tools makes things so much easier. You will need essentials such as:
Before you start, take your horse out to his pasture or put him in another stable if the weather is poor. While you can muck out with your horse in its stall, that situation is not ideal. The fumes from the bedding while cleaning won't be good for him, and you also run the risk of accidentally bumping him with your tools.
Take feed and water buckets out of the stable as well, and give them a good clean. You can replace them once you have thoroughly mucked out the stable.
Place your tools where you can reach them easily. It is also best to face your wheelbarrow in the direction you need to go as it's much easier to move it around without any muck in it.
It's best to follow a step-by-step process with horse stall maintenance. Here's what to do:
Once in a while, you will need to remove all the old bedding, give the whole stable a deep clean, and put in a full load of new bedding. While all bedding is out, take the opportunity to disinfect the floors and walls.
Once the stable is dry, you can put in the fresh, clean bedding. Just be careful when using new shavings. The small dust-like particles and the fragrance from the wood can affect the horse's lungs. It can aggravate any underlying respiratory problems like Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO). If your horse has a respiratory problem, it is better to use straw or shavings that are not entirely new.
As you can see, keeping horse stalls clean is all about routine and organization. Make sure you schedule mucking out into your day and that you have all the right tools available to do it.
Follow these horse stall tips, and you're sure to have a happy, healthy horse.
If you are not sure what to do in any particular circumstance, be sure to ask your yard manager for help.
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All stables should have a horse first aid kit box to help stabilize and manage a horse's illness or injury until the vet arrives.
If you are traveling with horses to shows, clinics, etc., you should also have some horse care items on hand if an injury or illness occurs.
Not sure what to keep in a horse first aid kit? Here are ten essential medical items to keep on hand.
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