How Feeders Can Make Your Life Easier

November 27th, 2015


Have you ever considered installing a horse feeder in your barn? Horse feeders come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common – they can make your life easier! If you’re not yet considering buying a horse feeder for your barn, then these reasons might make you want to start thinking it over…

Slow a Horse’s Food Consumption

Feeders can slow your horse’s overall food consumption by feeding him smaller meals spaced out throughout the day. When your horse eats feed, particularly grain, in smaller portions, he retains more of its nutritional value. These small meals help to keep food moving through your horse’s digestive system in a more natural fashion than the standard feeding of two or three meals a day provides.

Feed Your Horse When You’re Not Home

Do you ever feel like you’re tied to the barn because you need to be around to feed the horses at certain times? Investing in an automatic feeder removes this restriction and allows you to go out to run errands or travel while knowing that your horses will receive their meals on time back at home.

Set Up Meals Quickly

When you have the luxury of an automatic feeder which can feed out certain portions, preparing your horse’s meals is a snap. There’s no more pre-measuring; you just need to pour the feed into the feeder and let it take care of the rest.

Prevent the Risk of Sand Colic

When you feed your horse from a pan on the ground in his pasture, he’s sure to spill feed over the sides. In picking up this feed, he may ingest sand and dirt, putting him at risk of sand colic. Using a feeder to feed your horse helps to prevent your horse from contracting sand colic.

Reduce Waste and Feed Bills

Horse feeders help to minimize spilled and wasted feed. This means that your horse gets more of each meal, and that you need to invest in less feed. Your feed bills go further every month.

Keep Your Horse on a Schedule

Horses thrive on schedule, especially when it comes to meals. Keeping your horse on a feeding schedule can help to keep his digestive system healthy, reducing the risk of issues like ulcers and colic. The ability to keep your horse on a regular feeding schedule can be particularly important when you have a horse who is sensitive to schedule and feeding changes.

Horse feeders free up the time that you would typically spend feeding your horses, allowing you to dedicate your time to other activities. Horse feeders can definitely make your life easier, and you’ll want to consider adding at least one to your pastures or barn!

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Reasons to Be Thankful You’re a Horse Person

November 26th, 2015

Young woman hugging her horse

With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s time to be grateful and give thanks! When you think about it, we’re all pretty lucky that we’re horse people. This Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at the reasons we have to be thankful that we’re horse people!

We Have Equine Therapists

Who’s lucky enough to have a therapist of their very own? Horse people are, and our therapists even have four legs. All jokes aside, horses are wonderful stress relievers, and heading out for a ride is a great way to forget about your concerns for a bit.

Riding Makes Staying Fit Fun

Anyone who cares for a horse or heads out for a ride knows full well the physical demands of this sport. From hauling feed and hay to convincing your horse to stop bucking at the canter, equestrians have to be strong and physically fit. Riding is a whole lot more fun than heading to the barn – we’ll take horses over a treadmill any day!

We Always Continue to Learn

When you’re a horse person, you never stop learning – ever. From attending clinics to learning the ins and outs of building a custom horse barn, there’s always something more to learn, and the same can be said about riding! There’s always a way to improve, so you can rest assured that this hobby will never get boring.

Horses Teach Us Compassion and Dedication

Few hobbies can teach us such valuable lessons as riding and caring for horses does. As horse people, we learn compassion for this noble animal, and can then apply that compassion to other areas of our lives. Dedication is another important lesson that you can’t help but learn when you’re a horse person. From caring for a sick horse late at night to working tirelessly to improve as a rider, many horse people are some of the most dedicated people that you’ll find!

We’re Not Afraid of Hard Work

As horse people, we clean stalls, groom muddy horses, unload hay deliveries, and stack bags of grain. Horse people aren’t afraid of hard work, and that characteristic can be applied to many other aspects in life.

We Make Great Friends

Possibly one of the most important reasons to be thankful to be a horse person is because of the friendships that we make through our hobby. Not only do we create amazing friendships with our horses, but we also meet some awesome people along the way who become lifelong friends. Whether it’s your barn buddy who you grew up riding with, or the trainer who has always been there for you, chances are you’ve made some great friends in the process of riding horses.

So, why are you thankful that you’re a horse person this year?

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What Your Trainer Wants to See In Your Barn’s Design

November 25th, 2015

Woman and horse

As you start planning out your dream barn, you’ll want to include all of the features that you have dreamed about having in your own barn. But there’s another person who will likely use your barn on a regular basis: Your trainer. While your barn needs to work for your needs, it also needs to work for your trainer. Have you thought about what you trainer wants to see in your barn’s design?

Large Stalls

Any trainer will be appreciative of a barn that has large horse stalls. Larger stalls help to keep horses comfortable, and allow horses to move around a bit. This ability to move can help horses to recover after workouts, leaving them well rested and ready for their next ride or training session!

Safe Turnout Areas

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to halt the progress you’re making with a horse due to an unnecessary pasture injury. Your trainer will want to see that your barn has safe turnout areas to reduce the chance of your horse being injured in turnout. Strong, visible fences without any sharp edges, good footing, and adequate space for every horse on your property will help to keep your horse safe.

Properly Sized Indoor Riding Arena

The presence of a properly sized indoor arena is vital to year-round training when you live in a climate with a harsh winter. Your trainer will be glad to have an indoor arena available!

If you want to keep your trainer even happier, then make sure that the indoor arena can be accessed from within the barn. Cold walks outside in the snow and rain to get to the indoor are unpleasant for anyone.

Properly Sized Outdoor Arena

Your trainer will also want to see a properly sized outdoor arena. When you bring your horse to a show or event, he’ll be confronted with all kinds of distractions when he’s asked to perform outdoors. This transition is far easier if you have an outdoor arena back home where you can train your horse to focus despite wind, birds, far-away sights, and other distractions.

Round Pens

A round pen is an excellent training tool, and many trainers will appreciate having a round pen available when they need it. Round pens are particularly helpful when training young horses, though it can also be helpful for teaching riders skills such as improving balance and developing a deep seat.

When you take your trainer’s desires for your barn into consideration, you may end up with a barn which pleases the both of you!

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Protecting Your Barn From the Elements

November 24th, 2015

Red Barn Endures Mountain Winter Wallowa Whitman National Forest

When you build a horse barn, you expect that the barn will protect your horse from the elements. But have you thought about what you should be doing to protect your barn from those same elements? Rain, wind, and snow can take a toll on any structure. Here are some tips to help protect your barn during inclement weather!

Protecting Your Barn From Wind

There are a number of ways that you can protect your barn from wind. Protecting your barn begins with its initial construction. When you’re deciding where to position the barn on the property, you may want to find an area which is somewhat sheltered from the wind, if possible. It’s also important to consider the wind’s path when deciding on which direction to position your barn – you may wish to take advantage of the wind’s path by positioning your barn so that the wind travels down the aisle to keep things cool during the summer.

You probably won’t want wind traveling down the barn aisle during the winter, so invest in heavy-duty heavy-duty barn end doors which are appropriately sized and which fully cover the barn entrance when closed. Additionally, nail down any shingles that may come loose on your barn or roof. Good maintenance can help to avoid serious problems down the road!

Protecting Your Barn From Rain

In protecting your barn from the rain, you will want to make sure that your barn is appropriately painted in order to protect the exterior wood from moisture. Depending on the conditions in your area, you may need to repaint the barn every four or five years. Make sure that you always use a quality paint to protect your barn.

Good drainage can also help to protect your barn from rain. Rather than allowing the rain to pool around the barn’s base, install plenty of drainage to direct the rain away from your barn. Water sitting against the base of your barn can cause the wood to rot and can even flood into the stalls, so make good drainage a priority whenever you build your barn!

Protecting Your Barn From Snow

In areas which receive heavy snowfall, you’ll need to take additional precautions to keep your barn protected. When you first build your barn, discuss which pitch of the roof would be appropriate for the area with your builder or contractor. A properly pitched roof will help to encourage snow to slide off of the roof, but in particularly bad storms, you may need to use a roof rake to help with snow removal.

By protecting your barn from the elements, you can help to keep your barn in great shape for years to come!

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How to Properly Store Horse Feed

November 20th, 2015

scoop of grain horse feed

We all know how sensitive equine digestive systems are. It’s important that we only put quality feed into our horses, and that all begins with how we store the feed once it enters our barns. Take a look at these tips for storing horse feed to make sure that you’re doing things right when it comes to storing horse feed!

Create Heavy-Duty Rodent-Proof Bins

Rodents are naturally attracted to your feed room, so it’s important to take measures to protect your feed from them. Create heavy-duty rodent-proof feed bins which securely close to keep the feed protected from rodents, bugs, moisture, and dust. Metal or heavy-duty plastic trash cans with securely closing lids can work, though you may need a larger type of bin if you have a large barn.

Clearly Label Everything

Next, make sure that everything in your feed room is clearly labeled. From different types of feeds to supplements, knowing what is in each container and which horse receives it is important to equine safety.

Keep Supplements Tightly Closed

If you’re working with supplement buckets and tubs, make sure that each container is tightly closed after each use! It’s a good idea to store supplements up on a shelf or in a cupboard to help deter rodents.

Store Unopened Feed Bags on Pallets

When you are storing unopened feed bags, always store them up on a pallet. Feed bags should never sit on the ground, where they are at risk of absorbing too much moisture and may be exposed to grain mites.

Rotate the Feed

Whenever you receive a delivery of horse feed, make sure that you rotate the feed out with any remaining bags that you’re storing. Remove the older bags, store the newer bags on the bottom of the pile, and replace the older bags so that they are used soonest. This method helps to avoid storing expired feed or having feed go bad while in your care.

Check Expiration Dates

Always check the expiration date on any bag of feed that you are opening. Expired feed may be moldy, which can put a horse’s health at risk.

In addition to checking the expiration dates on the feed bags themselves, you should visually inspect the feed in the feed bins. It’s important to make sure that the barn lighting in your feed room is bright enough so that you can easily see into the feed bins and supplement containers. Good light allows you to spot moldy or spoiled feed and to dispose of it before it’s ever fed to horses.

When you make an effort to store feed properly, you are helping to ensure your horse’s safety while also ensuring that the feed you buy doesn’t expire or go bad while in your possession.

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Tips to Keep Your Barn Warm This Winter

November 19th, 2015

Farm with a barn and horses in winter at sunset

Cold, airy barns can make chores unpleasant during the winter. Your barn doesn’t have to be an icebox this winter – with the following tips, you can help to keep your barn warm, even on the coldest winter days!

Start with Proper Construction and Insulation

The key to keeping your barn warm during the winter really starts with its construction. If your barn is airy, full of holes, and has end doors that don’t fully close, you’ll be fighting a lost battle in keeping it warm.

In some cases, you may be able to make repairs to make your barn a little more airtight. Proper insulation is also important, especially for rooms that are actively heated during the winter, like your tack room or viewing room. Good insulation will reduce your heating bills and pay for itself in the long run.

Choose Correctly Sized Barn End Doors

During the winter, you will want to be able to securely close up your barn. You will depend on your barn end doors to seal out the cold air, but they can only do this if they are appropriately sized. Check your barn end doors and make sure that they offer plenty of additional coverage, both from ground to ceiling and from side to side, so that there aren’t gaps even when the doors are fully closed.

Additionally, be sure to invest in quality barn end doors. Barn doors made of thin wood not only won’t insulate your barn, but they will likely need to be replaced in the matter of a few short years. Buying quality barn doors is a worthwhile investment.

Keep Horses in Adjacent Stalls

If you are working in a large barn with multiple empty stalls, you can keep your barn warmer by moving the horses so that they are all in adjacent stalls. If a wing or portion of your barn is left empty, then consider closing it off for the winter. This method can help to concentrate heat in a smaller area, keeping your barn warmer.

Install Heaters

Installing barn heaters will go a long way towards keeping your barn warm and comfortable during the winter. A heating system can add enough warmth to your barn to keep it comfortable for both horses and humans. Consider also adding heaters to your wash bays so that they may be used during the wintertime.

If you’re not keen on installing permanent heaters, then look into portable options. The downside of portable heaters is that they can be fire hazards, so make sure to only use them in safe areas free of debris, hay, and shavings, and be sure that someone is always on hand to supervise their operation.

There are many ways that you can keep your barn warm this winter. Which methods will you be putting to use in your barn?

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Differences Between Sliding and Hinge Door Stall Fronts

November 18th, 2015

Differences Between Sliding and Hinge Door Stall Fronts

One of the major decisions that you will face when building or expanding your barn is selecting what style of horse stall is right for your barn. While there is plenty of variety between stall styles, stall doors come in just two styles – sliding and hinge doors. Unsure of which type of door is right for you? Here’s some information that might help in your decision!

Sliding Stall Doors

Sliding stalls doors are a popular option for many horse barns. Sliding doors have a major advantage in that they save room, since the door doesn’t swing outward into the barn aisle. For this reason, sliding stall doors are ideal for busy facilities where multiple horses are frequently coming and going. They also make a great choice if you are dealing with a narrow barn aisle in your facility.

Sliding stall doors do have less aesthetic appeal than hinged stall doors. Sliding doors must be supported by an overhead track. While the overhead track isn’t as appealing as the open appearance of a hinged stall door, you need to weigh whether the space saved by a sliding stall door is worth it for your facility.

Hinged Stall Doors

Hinged stall doors need room to swing out into the barn aisle. This means that your barn aisle must be fairly wide, especially if you have two rows of stalls directly across from each other. You will also want your barn aisle to be free of items like tack boxes so that you can easily navigate the aisle with a horse.

If you are considering installing hinged stall doors, then carefully evaluate your barn aisle. The aisle needs to be level, since the bottom of the stall door may get stuck on uneven flooring. Ideally, you should build your stall so that there are at least a few inches of clearance between the bottom of the stall door and the flooring of the barn aisle. If your barn aisle is full of hills and ruts, a hinged stall door might not be the best choice for your barn.

Hinged stall doors are aesthetically pleasing, because they make it possible to have a more open stall plan than a sliding stall door will allow. Hinged stall doors can make for an elegant appearance, such as that offered by the European Stall Series. They can truly transform the atmosphere of your barn!

If you’re still unsure about which type of style for stalls is right for your barn, please give us a call. We would be happy to talk about our different stall lines and can help you to find the best product for your barn.

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Winter Horse Bucket List

November 17th, 2015

Winter Horse Bucket List

Do you have plans for your horse this winter? Are there special activities that you’re looking forward to participating in? While the amount of riding we do may slow off during the winter, there are still plenty of things to do in the company of our horses! Here’s a wintertime bucket list that you and your horse can tackle.

Ride in the Snow

If you live in a climate which gets snow, then head out for a ride after the winter’s first snowfall! As long as there’s no ice beneath the snow, you can ride safely, but be sure to keep rides short to avoid overexerting your horse.

Host a Barn Christmas Party

December will be the perfect time to host a barn Christmas party, and now is the time to start planning! Invite all of your barn friends and boarders, and ask everyone to bring a dish for a potluck meal. You can combine your Christmas party with ahorse stall decorating contest. Consider holding a gift exchange or Yankee swap during the party.

Be sure to spend some time decorating your barn for the holidays safely – keep decorations away from light fixtures and out of the reach of horses, dogs, and cats. Have your camera handy on the day of the party to capture some great pictures!

Read a New Riding Book or Watch a DVD

When the weather is just too harsh to ride in, you can continue to learn about riding and improve your skills from the comfort of your couch. Pick up a new riding or training book or DVD, take notes, and put what you’ve learned to work the next time you get to ride your horse!

Have a Wintertime Photo Shoot

Get together with your horse friends and schedule a wintertime photo shoot. You can have all sorts of fun by decorating your horse with a garland or by wearing a Santa hat for the photos! And if you need a photo for your Christmas cards, you might end up with a shot that’s just perfect.

Go for a Sleigh Ride

Try to find someone local who offers sleigh rides. A sleigh ride can make for a fun adventure, especially if you’ve never gone on one before.

Work on Groundwork

If you’re not able to ride during the winter, then make a point of working on groundwork with your horse. A good groundwork basis can build your relationship with your horse, and the respect that your horse gains through groundwork can later transfer to the saddle.

What activities are on your winter horse bucket list this year?

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Keeping Wildlife Out of Your Barn

November 13th, 2015

Close-up of a raccoon from the front  Nahaufnahme eines Waschb�ren von vorne

Now is the time of year when wildlife starts to find its way into your barn. And while squirrels, mice, and birds might be enjoyable while they’re outside, when they come into your barn they become nuisances and even health hazards. Need to keep wildlife out of your barn this fall and winter? These tips can help you do that!

Keep the Barn Clean

Possibly the best thing that you can do to keep wildlife out of your barn is to keep your barn clean. Strive to maintain a clean, swept barn aisle which is free of clutter, like tack boxes and equipment. Keep the doors to your tack room and feed room securely closed, limiting the hiding spaces that are available to animals.

Keep Feed Properly Stored

Wildlife will be attracted to your feed room due to the delicious smells of your horse feed. Make sure that you keep all feed properly stored in secure, rodent-proof feed bins and containers. Additionally, sweep up the feed room on a daily basis so that spilled feed is not left behind. The feed room is also a good spot to lay traps for mice.

Get a Barn Cat

A barn cat can be an excellent defense against rodents in your barn. When you get a new barn cat, you will need to keep the cat in a secure room for about a month so that he learns that the barn is his home and doesn’t immediately stray off. For extra rodent defense, consider getting a few barn cats.

Keep Stalls Clean

Make an effort to clean your horse’s stall first thing in the morning. Sweep up any loose shavings, and pick up any discarded hay or grain. Keeping stalls clean leaves less feed around to attract wildlife.

Use Horse Feeders

Spilled feed attracts animals, so try to minimize the amount of feed left behind in your horse’s stall. A horse feeder can reduce the amount of feed that your horse spills by providing him with a larger area to eat over. Try to avoid ever feeding your horse from the floor while in his stall.

Opt for Secure Barn End Doors

Being able to completely close up your barn can also help to keep wildlife out. Check your barn end doors to make sure that they are appropriately sized and that they close completely – this will also be important as winter sets in and you need to keep snowstorms out.

Keeping wildlife out of your barn during this time of year can take some effort, but will result in a healthier atmosphere for both humans and horses!

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Barn Designs for Easier Stall Cleaning

November 12th, 2015

Barn Designs for Easier Stall Cleaning

When you own a horse barn with multiple horses, there’s a good chance that you spend most of your chore time cleaning stalls. Stall cleaning is a necessary chore, but did you know that you can actually design your horse barn to make stall cleaning easier? Here are some tips that you’ll want to consider when planning and building your barn!

Include Generously Sized Stalls

One of the biggest mistakes that new barn owners make is to install stalls in their barn that are really too small for their horses. While a 12’ by 12’ stall is generally accepted as an appropriate size for most horses, if your horses are large, a 12’ by 12’ stall can actually be a tight fit.

When your horse doesn’t have adequate space to move around during the night, he will be forced to turn in circles. This motion can churn his stall into a mess; by morning, you may be faced with a stall that needs to be stripped. Opting for stalls which are generously sized for your horses will help to keep the stalls neater overall.

Install Stall Mats to Protect the Stall’s Base

Rubber stall mats are a necessity when you’re trying to make stall cleaning easier. Installing stall mats can help to prevent your horse from mixing the stall’s base into his bedding, while also creating a smooth surface which makes stall cleaning easier.

Reduce Your Bedding with a Stable Comfort System

The StableComfort System is a stall mattress system which provides excellent cushion to your horse’s stall. A rubber crumb-filled mattress is covered by a thick rubber cover, creating a supportive and soft basis for the stall. The StableComfort System reduces the amount of bedding that you have to use for cushion, keeping your stall cleaning chores fast and easy.

Include Adequate Lighting in Each Stall

There’s nothing worse than trying to clean a stall in dim light. When you build your barn, be sure to install adequate lighting in each stall. Any lights that you install should be properly surrounded by a protective cage. Opt for strong barn lighting so that you can always see when you’re doing chores during the wintertime, when the sun is out less.

Install Barn Fans to Keep You Cool

Stall cleaning during the summer can be an unpleasantly hot chore. Opt to install barn fans to help with air circulation. Turning these fans on at the beginning of your stall cleaning chores can help to keep you cool, making the chore of stall cleaning more tolerable.

Stall cleaning is a necessary chore in any horse barn. Which of these methods will you put to use to make your stall cleaning chores easier?

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