7 Barn Haz­ards

Trail Rider - - HANDY CHECKLIST -

Win­ter is com­ing, and it’s likely your horse will be spend­ing more time in­doors than he does in warmer months. Is your barn safe for your horse? In­spect your barn with this check­list of seven po­ten­tial haz­ards in hand. If you spot a haz­ard, fix it now, be­fore win­ter’s chill sets in.

Find sharp pro­tru­sions in stalls. How they can harm your horse: If there’s any­thing sharp in your horse’s stall — such as nails, splin­ters, or sharp edges on a bro­ken plas­tic manger — he’s likely to scrape, punc­ture, or lac­er­ate him­self. Your horse’s eyes are par­tic­u­larly at risk, be­cause they’re so large and prom­i­nent. What you can do: Vis­ually scan stall walls, then run your hands over all sur­faces, in­clud­ing feed­ers, wa­ter­ers, and feed buck­ets. Your sense of touch can de­tect rough or sharp ar­eas that your eyes might miss. Be thor­ough, and check the walls and ceil­ing. Use a lad­der if nec­es­sary. Keep in mind that your horse’s head is much higher than yours, es­pe­cially if he rears. Re­move splin­ters, and re­place any bro­ken boards. If the sharp ob­ject is part of a hard, plas­tic item (such as a manger or feed tub), re­move it, re­place it, or wrap it in duct tape. If you find sharp nails, pull them out or whack them in.

Un­se­cured feed. How it can harm your horse: Ro­dents and birds can con­tam­i­nate feed with urine and fe­ces, which can make your horse ill. Mice might also chew on the in­su­la­tion around any ac­ces­si­ble wiring, which can cause a barn fire. What you can do: Keep pel­lets and grain in­side heavy metal con­tain­ers; ro­dents and equines can chew through even the strong­est plas­tic. Look for se­cure, lock­ing lids.

Im­proper hay and bed­ding stor­age. How it can harm your horse: Hay and bed­ding dust in­ter­fere with your horse’s breath­ing and can harm his res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem. Hay and bed­ding are also fire haz­ards. What you can do: Store hay away from your horse, prefer­ably in a sep­a­rate, well-ven­ti­lated build­ing. Keep hay on pal­lets to keep it safe from ground mois­ture. Stack bales on their sides, and leave spa­ces be­tween bales to pro­mote air circulation, which helps keep the bales dry. If you don’t have a sep­a­rate build­ing, make a “floor” with pal­lets, stack the hay, and cover just the top two-thirds of the stack with tarps, so air will cir­cu­late. Store bed­ding separately from your horse hous­ing.

CLIXPHOTO.COM Mount an all-pur­pose Dry Chem­i­cal ABC fire ex­tin­guisher just in­side each barn door, plus one in the tack room. Keep the fire ex­tin­guish­ers fully charged, and make sure that ev­ery­one at your barn knows how to use them.

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