The ground is thawing, the birds are chirping and the daylight hours are getting longer. Spring is the time to make repairs, freshen up the property and begin any new projects before summer arrives. We have 10 tips to help you get started.
Outside the Barn
1.Inspect and repair: Snow, ice, winds and even driving rains can wreak havoc on pastures, roadways and buildings. Look for damage and make repairs before the busy spring riding/lesson/show season gets started. Don’t forget to inspect the gutters and downspouts on your buildings and clear leaves to prevent clogging.
2.Look for washouts: Drainage ditches and low-lying areas can become washed out and present a safety problem, as well as an erosion hazard. Walk the property and check all the ditches and low-lying areas, and check all the fences while you are out walking.
3.Schedule a clean-up day: Invite clients to pitch in for a cleanup day in exchange for their help, offer a lunch and/or a minimal service for free. Wash out the mud, clean out the run-ins and generally tidy up from the winter.
Inside the Barn
4.Check fire extinguishers: Examine all of your extinguishers for physical damage, corrosion, leakage, clogged nozzles and charge. Confirm the pressure gauge or indicator is in the operable range or position, and lift the extinguisher to make sure it’s full. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, or yours are expired or not full, buy new ones.
5.Restock hay: Chances are your hay supply is dwindling. Secure enough for the rest of the current season and prepare for the coming year. It might be good to start looking for a supplier and contract for the winter of 2017-2018's hay supply.
6.Sweep-up: As long as your hay supply is low, sweep up any loose hay and remove any broken bales.
7. Schedule a vaccination day: Request an appointment with the veterinarian to get vaccinations for clients and barn horses done before travel season starts, and make sure all of your records for school, private and boarded horses are up-to-date.
8.Schedule an education day: Invite in a feed representative, veterinarian or other equine professional to provide a mini-education day for your boarders and staff.
9.Get grass ready: Slowly begin grazing for 15 minutes and increase by 15 minutes each day until four to five hours of consecutive grazing is reached. Don't just let horses out on fresh spring grass without this gradual introduction.
10.Tune up the lesson horses: If your lesson horses have been off for the winter, start them in a conditioning program before returning them to full lesson schedules. Also, depending on your type of facility and what you do, you also might want to get yourself in better shape to get ready for show/riding/lesson season.
There is always plenty to do around a horse farm or boarding stable, but with a little planning, you, your horses and your facility can be ready for the busing spring riding season.