What stable owner or manager doesn't want to be more organized? The getting organized is step one, and the staying organized is step two. Here are 10 tips to help you get and stay organized around your barn.
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Whether the herd in your care consists of a dozen horses or a dozen dozen horses, those horses (and their owners) have a lot of “stuff.”
Before you took on your management role, you probably didn't 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. In this article, 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 Helpers
1. Bathroom organizer
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.) Make sure you use these in out-of-the-way places like tack and storage rooms. Keep them out of barn aisle ways as they have no give in them if horses or equipment get caught in the horseshoe. If you don't want to go to that trouble, there are plenty of horseshoe hangers sold online or in tack shops.
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 about the same shape as a shoe? That’s what makes an over-the-door shoe rack a great brush holder. The pockets also work well holding spray bottles, collections of hoof picks, braiding equipment and often-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 also work well as an easy-to-install area for hanging girths, bits and helmets. They are completely customizable with a variety of metal hooks to hang nearly anything that’s not too heavy.
Especially For Barns
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,” explained a Kensington Protective Products representative. The outer bag has a handle that makes it easy to carry, and D-rings so it can be hung up.
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,” explained 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. For more information visit www.saddleboss.com or call 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,” said a High Country Plastics spokesperson. “It can be used as a storage caddy.” The 24-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 Barn Stool is available at many online stores and tack shops.
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 comes in five-arm or 10-arm sizes and can be purchased at a number of online stores or tack shops (including StateLineTack.com).
5. The Organized Barn Organizing System
For those who like just a little bit of chaos around the farm, this might 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,” said The Organized Barn and Trailer owner Michelle Rooney. One of the most popular kits, the Tack Stall Kit, includes everything you need to get started. Other kits for barns and trailers and individual accessories are available. For more information visit www.organizedbarn.com.
Whether on a large budget or small, there are many products out there that can help you organize the clutter in your barn, and stay organized afterward. Your clients will be grateful for the time efficiency these products bring to their daily management routines.