Timesaving tips for horsekeepers
wheelbarrow make for inefficient stall cleaning. Shop for multi-tined, lightweight forks that will allow clean shavings to fall through, along with oversized wheelbarrows that can reduce the number of trips you must make to the manure pile. Keep all your stall-cleaning tools in good repair and stored in a safe, but handy, location. Purchase stall mats or other
floor coverings. Floor coverings, such as mats and grids, reduce the amount of labor involved in stall cleaning in two ways: by facilitating drainage and by reducing the amount of bedding needed. Properly installed, graded mats or grids channel urine to a drain or through the floor, eliminating the hours you’ve been spending each month digging out wet spots. They’ll also protect floors, cutting down on (or even eliminating) the heavy work of repairing holes or uneven surfaces each year. Mats have one additional advantage: Since they provide cushioning of their own, they require less bedding on top. Establish a cleaning system. Clean stalls from front to back, back to front or side to side—it doesn’t matter what your pattern is; just stick with one method for more efficiency. Simplify waste removal by placing a tarp outside the stall door and tossing everything into the center. When the tarp is full, pick it up by the corners and place it in the wheelbarrow or carry it to the manure heap.
It goes without saying that your horses must have access to ample, clean water at all times. Still, there are some changes you can make to reduce the amount of time you spend delivering liquid refreshment to your beasts.
Add more water containers. The simplest and cheapest way to cut down on the time you spend watering is to add a second water bucket to each stall as well as additional troughs in each paddock. Fill all the containers in the morning, and you may be able to skip the afternoon refill if the water is still clean.
Extend pipes to stalls. The next level of watering convenience requires a plumber’s help. Run pipes from the main water line along the outside of the stalls in the aisleway, above door-frame height. For quick and easy watering, install an on/off valve at each stall, and run short hoses from the valves to just above each water bucket. This kind of pipe system must be drained in the winter to prevent freezing, but during the summer it can save hours of hose-dragging.
A less frost-prone, but more costly, variation is to have pipes installed in the floor of the aisleway, with a spigot at each stall and a “dedicated” hose running through a hole cut in the stall wall above the bucket. Go fully automatic. If you can afford it, automatic waterers are the way to go. With safety features to prevent shock, insulation to guard against freezing and gauges to measure a horse’s water intake, these equine water fountains are perhaps the most common and effective timesavers available to horsekeepers. They offer the added benefit of ensuring that your horses always have access to water and are available for both stalls and pastures.
If your horse had his way, he’d be eating all the time. Grazing on pasture is his natural feeding pattern, after all, and even when it comes to concentrates, experts agree that giving small amounts at intervals during the day is the optimal schedule for your horse’s digestive wellbeing. Still, from a time-management
If your horse had his way, he’d be eating all the time. Grazing on pasture is his natural feeding pattern, after all, and even when it comes to concentrates, experts agree that giving small amounts at intervals during the day is the optimal schedule for equine digestive well-being.