Whether the herd in your care consists of 12 horses or 120, they have a lot of “stuff.” Not before you took on your management role did you realize that it is possible for an owner to have a halter in every color with polo wraps to match, three blankets for every season, and half of the inventory of her favorite tack catalog. And it certainly never crossed your mind that all of these things would make their home in your tack room.
Luckily for stable managers, there are loads of options for storing tack and equipment. Here, Stable Management looks at 10 great storage ideas: five that you can find in your local department store, and five that were designed specifically for the organized barn.
EVERYDAY STORAGE IDEAS
1. Bathroom organizer
It seems every horse requires at least three bottles of shampoo and conditioner. This can leave wash stalls looking disheveled.
When the inventor of bathroom organizers first unveiled his master creation, he probably didn’t know he’d be helping out thousands of barn owners, too. These organizers come in all sizes and with various features.
One helpful wash-stall organizer is a large wire wall-mounted unit with several shelves. Buckets can be clipped to it and spray bottles can hang from the wire frame to keep them off of the ground and out of the way. The wire racks are a great place for drying sponges, too.
2. Horseshoe hooks
What do you do with all of those used horseshoes? You ask your farrier to bend them for you in his forge. Then you nail them to the wall—with horseshoe nails, if you want to be cute about it—and you hang halters, lead ropes, stray coats, and clipboards from them. (Don’t forget to thank your farrier.)
3. Rubbermaid boxes
This is not the most creative storage idea, but these boxes are useful. Rubbermaid or plastic boxes come in all sizes. There are even clear plastic boxes to help you remember what’s in them. For a barn with a small number of boarders, you can give everyone a box in a different color. These boxes are also easy to label with permanent markers.
4. Over-the-door shoe racks
Have you ever noticed that a grooming brush is the same shape as a shoe? That’s what makes an over-the-door shoe rack a great brush holder. The pockets also do well with spray bottles, collections of hoof picks, braiding equipment, and oft-lost hair ties.
5. Peg board
You’ve always known a peg board was handy in the garage for hanging hammers, saws, and other tools. It can do double duty as an easy-to-install area for hanging girths, bits, and helmets, as well. They are completely customizable with a variety of metal hooks to hang nearly anything that’s not too heavy.
1. Kensington Blanket Storage System
The two bags in this package are designed to keep blankets in top shape. The inner bag is a Textilene mesh—the strongest mesh available. It’s PVC coated, anti-bacterial, breathable, and does not attract mold. The outer bag is a waterproof 600-denier fabric ripstop bag. “Even if you get a little tear in it, it won’t rip the rest of the way,” explains Joe Reynoso, with Kensington Protective Products. The outer bag has a handle that makes it easy to carry, and D-rings so it can be hung up.
These bags are free with the purchase of Kensington’s four-layer blanket system; $59.99 suggested retail price when sold separately.
Contact: www.kensingtonproducts.com, 1-877-469-1240.
2. Saddle Boss
The Saddle Boss, a molded plastic saddle form mounted on a sturdy metal frame, can hold English and western saddles in a space-saving, versatile design.
“Some of the racks are easily adjustable, height-wise, and some you can slide in and out, therefore you can stack saddles to save space,” explains Saddle Boss owner Mike Pendino. Units can be free-standing or wall-mounted and interchangeable from the barn to the trailer to the horse-show tack stall. The price varies based on the model and source. Contact: www.saddleboss.com, (952) 469-3400.
3. Barn Stool
Not that a busy stable manager has time to sit down, but if you did, you might wish you had a Barn Stool nearby.
“It’s not only a barn stool,” says High Country Plastics sales and marketing manager Max Abei. “It can be used as a storage caddy.” The 30-inch-tall cylindrical container holds long-handled whips and pitchforks when it’s standing on its closed end. When it’s standing on its open end, it makes a nice stool. The Barn Stool comes in seven colors and its polyethylene construction is environmentally friendly. The suggested price is $28.
Contact: www.highcountryplastics.com, (208) 455-8611.
4. Equirack Saddle Pad Rack
The Equirack Saddle Pad Rack by CMW Inc. is about as sturdy as a saddle-pad rack can get. Made of heavy-duty, 14-gauge steel tubing, it’s the company’s best seller. Riders like them because they allow wet blankets and pads to air out, and co-owner and vice president Clay Cross says, “It’s nice to be able to swing them out of your way” by folding the arms against the wall. The rack sells for $120, including shipping. Contact: www.cmwpanels.com, (605) 347-5073.
5. The Organized Barn Organizing System
For those who like just a little bit of chaos around the farm, this may not be the product for you. This full organizing system starts with wire panels that attach to the wall with mounting brackets. A variety of baskets, shelves, hooks, and hangers designed for saddles, bridles, and other horsy goods are specially designed to fit into the panel grid. You can change the configuration for children, for western riders, and for those who require many shelves and baskets.
“You can take it off the wall in the barn, bring it to the show with you, and hang it in the tack stall,” says The Organized Barn and Trailer owner Michelle Rooney. One of the most popular kits, the Tack Stall Kit ($80), includes everything you need to get started. Other kits and individual accessories vary in price. Contact: www.organizedbarn. com, 1-888-298-8628.
Whether on a large budget or small, there are many products out there that can help you organize the clutter in your barn. Both horses and clients will be grateful for the time and space efficiency.