Spring cleaning at the barn is a task that many equestrians dread. Why spend time scrubbing stalls when you could be riding? A clean barn is not only a more hygienic environment for you and your horse but also more organized so you are ready for the busy summer season. Cleaning the barn is also a great opportunity to see if anything needs repairing. Fixing the barn now will save you time and money in the long run.
We’ve broken down all the key tasks to do when spring cleaning the barn. Work your way through the different areas and you’ll have a neat and orderly barn in no time!
Cleaning the Tack Room
The easiest way to make space for spring is to pack away any winter blankets. Whether you keep these in your tack room, stall, or somewhere else, thick blankets that won’t be needed until the colder months take up a lot of space. Make way for fly sheets and lite weight blankets by packing away heavy turnouts and stable blankets. Clean and repair the blankets if necessary before storing them. Check out our blog on ‘How to Wash and Pack Your Horse’s Blanket for Off-Season Storage’ for our tips and tricks.
As horse owners and riders, we’re all guilty of hoarding more tack than we need. Four bridles, eight sets of boots, and too many saddle pads to mention? Check.
While it may seem like that random set of stirrup leathers that don’t match your saddle will come in handy one day, consider selling or trading them with someone else at the barn. Go through your tack trunk and see what you use regularly. Plus, think of all the new tack you could buy when you sell the stuff you don’t need…
Now is also a great time to clean and inspect your tack. Check the stitching on any leatherwork to ensure it is good to go ahead of the show season.
Grooming kits can look a little worse for wear after a long season of removing mud and dirt. Not only that, but if your horse’s coat has been shedding coming into spring then your brushes are likely full of hair. Grooming a horse with dirty brushes isn’t going to result in that show shine you want, so here’s how to clean your grooming kit:
1. Remove everything from your grooming box or tote.
2. Using a metal curry comb, remove any hair and dirt from the bristles of each brush.
3. Soak the brushes in warm, soapy water. You can use dish soap or a little shampoo. Avoid soaking wood-backed brushes in the water; try to soak only the bristles.
4. Scrub the bristles with soapy water.
5. Rinse each brush until the water runs clear.
6. Place the brushes on a towel to dry with the bristles facing down.
7. Wash any combs and hoof picks.
8. Clean out the grooming tote or box before adding all your brushes back in.
A well-stocked first-aid kit is essential for any horse owner. Go through your kit and get rid of anything that has expired. See if you are out of anything or running low so you can make a note of what to restock. You don’t want to discover you’re out of gauze or vet wrap just when you need it most.
Freshening Up the Horse Stalls
Next, it’s time to give the stalls a spring clean. Try to start this in the morning so everything will be dry and ready for your horse to return to overnight. If you’re transitioning to your horse being out in the paddock 24/7 this won’t be an issue.
Cleaning the Stalls:
1. Remove horses, bedding, buckets, and anything else in the stall. If you have removable rubber mats then take these out too.
2. Prepare warm water with some mild detergent and then scrub the sides of the stall.
3. Clean any buckets, troughs, or horse toys with warm, soapy water before rinsing thoroughly.
4. If you have rubber mats to clean, you can use a power washer on these or scrub them.
5. Working from top to bottom, disinfect all surface areas. You can use a 1:10 bleach to water solution.
6. Allow the disinfectant to sit for enough time to do its job. For the 1:10 bleach to water solution, this is a minimum of ten minutes.
7. Gently rinse all the surfaces.
8. Once everything is dry, replace the mats and buckets.
9. Add fresh bedding, water, and hay.
10. Put your horse back in their freshly cleaned stall!
While cleaning the stall, you should also lookout for any protruding nails or damage to repair.
Please note: this is guidance for general spring cleaning of stalls. If there has been an outbreak at your barn or your horse was ill, consult your vet for comprehensive advice on disinfecting the barn.
Cleaning the Barn
Before cleaning the barn itself, turn out the horses and clear the aisles. Starting from the top, remove any cobwebs, dust, and dirt. Sweep the floors and you can wash them down too. On the outside of the barn, check the roof and clean out the gutters. Any damp areas in the barn could be a sign of a leak so get this looked at and repaired if necessary.
Tidy up the hayloft and feed room by removing anything that has expired or gone bad. Then, scrub out the feed bins and buckets. A mild soap, like a dishwashing liquid, and a stiff brush will remove any dirt and grime. Ensure the feed bins are completely dry before putting any feedback in.
Pasture and Paddocks
Spring cleaning extends beyond the barn to the pasture or paddocks too. Clean out any shelters and ensure they are still in good condition.
Walk around the paddock to check the fencing in case it needs some repairs. This is also a good chance to look out for any dangerous items or poisonous plants. If your pasture has been covered by snow all winter this is particularly important as once this has melted it may reveal hazards.
Drain, scrub, and refill any water troughs. Similar to the feed buckets, you can use a mild detergent and a scrubbing brush to clean the troughs.
Now that the barn is sparkling clean add a few finishing touches:
Paint the Barn
A new coat of paint can instantly refresh the look of your barn. You could paint the barn’s exterior, paddock shelters, fencing, or stalls. Remember to use non-toxic and durable paint for your project. Pinterest is a good place to start if you’re looking for inspiration.
Add a splash of color with some beautiful spring flowers. Planters around the outside of the barn or hanging baskets make a lovely entrance. Look for flowers or plants that aren’t poisonous to horses and ensure your flower displays are kept out of the way of the horses.
Now you should feel ready to tackle spring cleaning the barn. Gather some barn friends to speed things up by working through all the chores together. Some good tunes and company always make things easier. Don’t forget to take some before and after photos so you can look back on your handiwork!