EQUUS AD­VAN­TAGE

EQUUS - - Equus -

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.

Wa­ter­ing

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.

Feed­ing

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.

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