Blanket Repair Tips

February 27th, 2015

horse in blanket

Through the course of the winter season, horse blankets take a beating. Your horse’s blankets may be showing rips, tears, and even missing hardware. If you’re hoping to get them through just a few more months, then repairing them by hand is probably the way to go. These tips will help you get your blankets to last the rest of the season.

Use a Patch

Blanket patches are probably the easiest way to fix small rips and holes. It is best to use a patch specifically designed for repairing horse blankets, and if you are repairing a waterproof blanket, you will want to be sure to use a waterproof patch. Tent patches and duct tape can also suffice in a pinch.

Before you apply a patch, bring the blanket inside and give it time to return to room temperature. The area to be patched will need to be clean and dry. Don’t throw the blanket into the washing machine, though – doing so may make the hole bigger. Instead, clean the area to be repaired with an alcohol wipe or with alcohol on a cotton ball. Allow it to dry thoroughly before you apply the patch.

Sew Small Repairs

Small rips and tears can be hand sewn. Because horse blankets are made of durable material, you will need a heavy-duty needle, like a carpet needle. Be sure that you use a strong thread – marine supply stores generally have both the needle and thread available. Dental floss or fishing line can be substituted for thread.

To make a repair on a particularly heavy-duty area in the blanket, such as where the surcingle joins the blanket, you will need to use an awl, which can help to safely press the thread through the multiple layers of material. An awl is handy to have around the barn, too, since it can be used for leather repairs.

Re-Waterproof

Blankets can lose their waterproofing capabilities over time, and if your horse is getting wet beneath his blanket, then it may be time to re-waterproof the blanket. Blanket re-waterproofing treatments are available through tack stores and online retailers, and some horse owners even use tent waterproofing treatments on their blankets successfully.

Purchase Extra blanket Hardware

At some point, your horse will either break or lose hardware from one of his blankets. Having extra blanket hardware on hand means that you can quickly put the blanket back to use. It’s a good idea to buy blanket hardware to have in your tack box, or save the hardware off of an old blanket before you throw the blanket out.

The end of winter is nearing, but your horse’s blankets need to last at least another month or so. These hand-fixes can get you through until you can have the blanket professionally repaired.

Photo source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/66025008_extInt0/ISS_6027_00168-Isignstock-Contributors-Horse-with-a-blanket-country.html

Original source: Blanket Repair Tips

How To Take Great Engagement and Wedding Photos At the Barn

February 26th, 2015

bride and horse

You’ve seen them: the stunning photos of a bride with her horse, or of an engaged pair mounted on horseback. The photos themselves are breathtaking, and you can only imagine the memories that went into their creation. When horses are a major part of your life, it’s natural to want to incorporate them into your wedding or engagement photos. Here are some tips to help you do that successfully.

Make Sure the Barn is Clean

If your photos will be taken at or near the barn, then spend some time making sure that the barn itself and its surroundings are clean and tidy. A neatly raked or swept barn aisle, blankets hung on blanket racks, tidy stall fronts, and clean barn windows will make a big difference in any photos that you take.

Prepare the outside of the barn, too. Wash the windows of the barn doors, mow grass and trim bushes around the barn, repair any fencing, and mow or rake paddocks for a neat and tidy appearance. The larger the area that you prepare for the photo shoot, the greater the variety of photos that you will be able to take.

Schedule the Shoot During a Quiet Time

Just when you schedule the shoot can greatly affect its success. For the best results, schedule the shoot during a time when the barn will be quiet or empty. The photographer may have suggestions based on when the light will be best. Many photographers prefer to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is golden and not as harsh as it is during the middle of the day. Keep your horse’s schedule in mind, too – if he will be relaxed after his breakfast, then a morning shoot may be best.

Have Your Horse Bathed or Groomed Beforehand

Prepare your horse for the shoot in the same way that you would get him ready for a show. Have him bathed or groomed, and pay attention to the little details that will show in photos, like untrimmed whiskers or a runny nose. Make sure that the tack that your horse will be wearing is also cleaned.

Prepare Your Horse for Cameras and Outfits

If a photo shoot will involve a dress, especially one as large and flowing as a wedding dress, then take some time to acclimate your horse to such a dress well before the shoot. If you will be riding your horse in the dress, multiple training sessions may be necessary.

You should also spend some time acclimating your horse to photography. If your horse has been shown, then he’s probably used to cameras, but it never hurts to hold a refresher course. Bring your own camera to the barn and take some photos of your horse in preparation.

Be Flexible

It’s so important to be flexible during photo shoots, especially when horses are involved. The light may change, the weather may not cooperate, and your horse may be having an off day. You can never know what to expect, so be flexible and try to go with the flow.

Holding an engagement or wedding photo shoot at your barn is a great way to share the special day with your horses. It’s sure to be a day that you will never forget.

Photo source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/34068613_extInt0/02E22603-Ingimage-Woman-in-a-wedding-dress-on-a-horse.html

Original source: How to Take Great Engagement and Wedding Photos At the Barn

Tips to Make Your Metal Tack Shine

February 25th, 2015

shiny stirrup

From bits and stirrups to the silver on your Western saddle, knowing how to get a good shine out of your metal tack can make a big difference when you step into the show ring. These tips and tricks will help you to get your metal tack to shine like new.

Clean Regularly

Regularly cleaning your metal tack is key to keeping the job manageable. The more often you clean your silver and metal pieces, the easier the job will be. Heavily tarnished silver is more difficult to clean than silver with a mild tarnish, so stay on top of your cleaning.

Use Silver Polish and Polishing Cloths

When cleaning silver tack, a little silver polish and elbow grease can go a long way. It’s important to be patient when cleaning silver, especially if it is heavily tarnished. Apply silver polish and thoroughly clean the metal until you can see the shine emerging. The cloth that you are using will be discolored. Use another cloth dipped in a bit of water to remove the rest of the polish and reveal the silver. If the silver isn’t clean enough, then repeat the process.

If you are cleaning silver conchos or accents on a saddle or bridle, it is important to avoid getting silver polish on the saddle’s leather. If possible, remove the conchos before cleaning them. If you can’t remove the silver, then use a silver polishing rag, already infused with the silver polish, for a more accurate cleaning in these smaller areas.

Try Toothpaste and a Toothbrush

Toothpaste can also be useful as a silver polishing aid. A bit of toothpaste and a toothbrush can bring out a shine in your metal bits, and it is especially useful for the small crevices and curves in the mouthpiece and cheek pieces where dirt can accumulate.

Use a Dishwasher

Yes, that’s right – your dishwasher can be useful when cleaning bits and stirrups. You will want to give the items a thorough cleaning before popping them in your dishwasher, and make sure that you get any sand and dirt off of the stirrups. Remove stirrup pads, wipe down the bits, and put them through a cycle in your dishwasher. They will come out shining.

Treat Bits with Mouthwash

Polishing and cleaning bits can leave them with a stronger metallic taste than normal for your horse. To counteract this, pour a bit of mint mouthwash onto a cotton ball or rag and run it over the mouthpiece, then allow it to dry.

Cleaning metal and silver tack doesn’t have to be a major chore if you have the right tools and stay on top of the cleaning!

Photo source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/54591395_extInt0/02H14626-Ingimage-Close-up-of-a-stirrup.html

Original source: Tips to Make Your Metal Tack Shine

Is Your Barn Too Close to Your House?

February 23rd, 2015

barn house

If you’re building a property from scratch, the exact location of the barn and the house will be up to you. It may seem like a dream to have your house right next to the barn, but is it really ideal? While you decide on just how to lay out your property, keep these points in mind.

Consider Existing Topographical Features

Your property’s existing topography will have a say in just where you can locate buildings. Think about drainage, water runoff, wind, accessibility during all seasons, and the overall features of your property when planning its layout. If you’re working with a particularly hilly area, or an area that involves ponds or rivers, the positioning of your buildings may be more restricted. Either way, as you plan out your property be sure to choose locations that will work with the property’s topography.

Decide Whether You Want a Yard

If you’ve dreamed about your horses being able to walk right up to your kitchen window, it may be tempting to keep your barn close to your house and even include fenced pasture running up through your backyard. Think about this carefully, though – by bringing your horses close to your house, you will be sacrificing much of the traditional backyard that so many people desire.

Even if you don’t mind the sacrifice, think of the future. If you plan to have children, a backyard can come in handy. And, when it comes time to sell the property, a property that includes even a small backyard may be easier to sell than a property where the backyard is a horse barn or pasture.

Think About Safety Issues

Situating your horses in close quarters with your house can result in new safety issues that you must consider. For instance, if horses are allowed to run up alongside your house, then you need to take measures to prevent them from breaking windows, tangling with a porch, or getting into other dangerous situations. Remember that lawn fertilizers can be toxic for horses. Carefully consider how well your horses and your house may mesh.

Opt for a Middle Distance

Often it’s simplest to situate your barn near your house, but far enough away so that the barn and the house each have their own separate areas. Doing so will mean that trips out to the barn are quick and easy, but you will also still have a yard and your own space to enjoy.

Every situation is different, and a major part of any successful barn building project is good planning. Think about not only what you want today, but what you might want down the road as you plan out where to locate your house and barn.

Photo source: http://www.classic-equine.com/posts/custom-barns/

Original source: Is Your Barn Too Close to Your House?

Planning for Storage in Your Boarding Barn

February 20th, 2015

tack wall

When you’re building a barn with the intention of opening it up to boarders, there is one very important aspect that you will want to plan for: storage. Storage space is a valuable commodity when it comes to boarding barns, and with proper planning you can maximize storage in your barn to make it more appealing to boarders. Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Focus on the Tack Rooms

Depending on the size of your barn, you may have one or more tack rooms. Tack rooms are essential for good storage, and a well-designed tack room will keep valuable tack safe while also being easily accessible and secure. When you plan out your tack room, allow for more space than you think that you will need – you are certain to find a use for all of the space that you have available.

Organize Your Tack Room Well

A well-organized tack room will maximize both storage and efficiency. There are countless tips for organizing your tack room, but one of the most helpful things that you can do is to use a tack storage system. A tack storage system will keep your equipment organized and neat while minimizing the amount of space needed, so you can fit more equipment in your space.

Think About Location

The location of your storage areas in your barn is important for both convenience and safety. Your tack rooms, for instance, should be easily accessible, but you also don’t want them to be the first thing that a barn visitor sees, for security reasons. Storage areas for lesser-used items, like blankets, can be located in less central areas.

Build Tack Lockers

When you run a boarding barn, you will face the necessity of providing secure storage to your boarders. Tack lockers are an excellent way to do this, since they can be individually locked to give only the owners access to their contents. With the high value of horse tack and equipment, investing in storage lockers when you build your barn can pay off in terms of preventing theft and providing everyone with peace of mind.

Tack lockers are available in a variety of styles and sizes, so you can select the one that works best with your barn. Classic Equine Equipment offers tack lockers that can be designed to suit the style of your horse stalls and barn, creating just the atmosphere that you desire.

Storage is an absolute must when building a boarding barn. If you plan ahead and maximize storage, you will avoid headaches when your barn fills up with boarders.

Photo source: http://www.classic-equine.com/barn-accessories/tack-systems/

Original source: Planning for Storage in Your Boarding Barn

How to Stop Your Horse from Chewing Wood

February 19th, 2015

ISS_5139_00404

You provide your horse with plenty of fresh hay and regular grain feedings, but still he feels the desire to gnaw on his stall or pasture fencing like a beaver. Wondering why wood chewing occurs and what you can do to stop it? We’ve got the answers for you.

Why Horses Chew Wood

Many foals chew wood when they are first discovering and using their teeth, but most horses quickly grow out of this behavior. For those that don’t, though, underlying issues may be at work. Horses may chew wood out of boredom, but ingesting wood can also indicate a nutritional deficiency.

Cribbing, on the other hand, is a similar behavior but doesn’t result in the ingestion of wood. Treating a horse that cribs requires a different approach than preventing a horse from chewing wood.

The following solutions can help to stop your wood chewer.

Increase Turnout Time

Boredom can often cause wood chewing, especially for an active horse. If your horse chews wood primarily while in his stall, try to increase his time outside to see if that makes a difference. You may try relocating his stall to a more centralized, active point in the barn. Introducing a turnout buddy can also make a difference for a horse who chews wood out of boredom.

Examine Diet

Poor nutrition can cause a horse to chew wood in a natural attempt to get sufficient nutrients. If your horse has a wood chewing issue, examine his diet carefully. Providing additional roughage can keep your horse occupied for longer periods of time, giving him something to do with his mouth. It is also a good idea to consult an equine nutritionist to determine if your horse’s diet is lacking. Hay testing and examining the nutritional value of the grain that you are feeding will likely be steps that you will take to assess your horse’s diet.

Apply Paints and Sprays

If diet changes and turnout time do not improve your horse’s wood chewing issue, then it may be time to take additional measures. Applying anti-chew paints and sprays available at tack stores and equine retailers can help to deter your horse from chewing wood.

Use Metal Mesh

Wrapping wood in a tight metal mesh will physically prevent your horse from chewing on it. This technique works best on fence posts, trees, the corners of a barn, and stall doors. When you apply the mesh, be sure that it covers the entire wood surface and do a final check to sand or bend off any sharp edges or points.

Wood chewing can be damaging to both your property and to your horse’s health. It is best to get to the root of the problem, if possible, when keeping your horse from chewing wood.

Photo source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/66026129_extInt0/ISS_5139_00404-Isignstock-Contributors-Portrait-of-a-young-chestnut-horse-crib-biting-on-.html

Original source: How to Stop Your Horse from Chewing Wood

How To Organize Your Horse Trailer Tack Room

February 18th, 2015

horse tack on wall

Having a tack room or a dressing room in your trailer is a luxury, but even the largest of rooms can quickly become crowded when you’re traveling to a horse show or clinic. Need tips on how to get your horse trailer tack or dressing room organized? These ideas will help you to make the most out of the space that you have.

Use Collapsible Saddle Racks

Installing collapsible saddle racks in your trailer’s tack room is a great way to keep the room organized. Wall-mount saddle racks will help to keep your saddles and tack up and off of the floor, and you can decide to use only as many collapsible racks as you need at a single time. By placing your saddle on the uppermost rack and collapsing any racks below your saddle, you can maximize the amount of space that is in your trailer.

Install Extra Hooks on the Walls

When it comes to organizing your horse trailer tack room or dressing room, you can never have too many hooks. Invest in extra hooks that can be mounted on the room’s sides – it’s a good idea to get rubber hooks that are more forgiving than metal if you bump your head. Use these hooks to hang bridles, tack, and your show clothes. You can also hang small baskets to hold items like splint boots, bell boots, or polo wraps.

Use a Small Storage Bin

When you have lots of smaller items like supplements, a First-Aid kit, and grooming accessories, a small multi-drawer storage bin can come in handy. Invest in a two- or three-drawer plastic bin that you can store in the corner of your tack room or beneath your saddles. This bin can help to keep smaller items organized, freeing up larger areas for your bulkier items.

Install Clips to Hold Larger Items

Those organizational clips that you use in your barn to hold the handles of brooms and pitchforks against the wall? They come in handy when installed in your trailer, too, and can help to keep your pitchforks, brooms, lunge whips, and any other tools organized and upright during transportation.

Use a Door Caddy

A door caddy, either a fabric one with pockets or a metal shelving unit that attaches to the inside of your trailer tack room door, allows you to store items against the door itself. Using a door caddy has another advantage, in that when your trailer door is open you can easily access items in the caddy without having to step into the trailer.

Spending the time to really organize your trailer tack or dressing room can pay off by letting you easily access every item that you need. After you’ve organized your trailer tack room, you can set about organizing your barn’s tack room.

Photo source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/62300629_extInt0/03A26366-Ingimage-Horse-bridles-hanging-in-stable.html

Original source: How to Organize Your Horse Trailer Tack Room

Tips for Building a Barn Apartment

February 16th, 2015

nuts and bolts on wood

Apartments in or above barns can be convenient and appealing to both boarders and barn owners. A barn apartment offers many advantages, but building it requires special planning. Be sure to do the following when designing your barn apartment.

Investigate Local Housing Codes

Before you dig into planning out the barn apartment, find out just what your local housing codes require for an apartment to be inhabitable. Different areas have different requirements in terms of the number and location of exits, amenities (such as a fridge or stove) provided in the apartment, width of entrances, and electrical coding. The best way to find out about local housing codes is to contact your state’s housing department for the information and resources that you will need.

Think About Location

Just where in the barn you locate the apartment can have a significant impact on its convenience and functionality. Many apartments are located above barns, which does require everything to be carried up stairs. Additionally, the noise of the horses can carry very easily through the apartment’s floor. If you opt for an upstairs apartment, then locate it above a quieter area, like the tack room or feed room, rather than directly above a block of horse stalls.

Another option is to locate your apartment on the ground floor of the barn. This option can be more expensive than building the apartment upstairs, since it will require additional space and materials. When planning out an apartment’s location on the ground floor, locating it near the barn’s bathroom can save you money in terms of the plumbing cost.

Incorporate Fire Walls

Don’t forget about the importance of fire walls, especially if an apartment is located in a barn. It is ideal to avoid storing hay in the barn at all for your barn’s fire safety, but if hay must be stored in the barn, then make sure that all of the walls and doors separating the apartment from the hayloft are fire doors and walls. Be sure to also plan for a fire alarm system both in the barn and in the apartment, and include plenty of fire extinguishers.

Work with an Experienced Builder

Selecting a builder who is experienced in building both barns and residences is vital to the success of your project. An experienced builder can help guide you through the process, and can turn your plans into reality.

The Classic Equine Equipment team would love to help you plan your barn, and we have resources of experienced builders all across the country. As you plan your barn, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Photo source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/62255739_extInt0/03A57349-Ingimage-Carpentry-detail.html

Original source: Tips for Building a Barn Apartment

Is Your Barn Energy Efficient?

February 13th, 2015

barn with lights

Given the rising cost of electricity, you certainly don’t want your electric bill to be any higher than it has to be. Your barn may be a source of wasted energy, though, resulting in higher bills. Check out these common ways that your barn may be inefficient with its electricity usage.

Running Old Refrigerators

Old refrigerators are common in barns, but they may be wasting energy while not doing a great job of cooling. If your barn’s refrigerator is old, consider buying a new one. The money you spend on it can pay off in lowered electric bills.

Looking for a use for that old fridge? A refrigerator disconnected and placed on its back can create an excellent feed storage bin, since the door, now on top, will close securely to keep rodents out.

Using Inefficient Lights

Old barn lighting may be upping your electric bill. Inefficient barn lights can require a lot of power to put out relatively little light. As a result you need a lot of lights, drawing even more energy.

Instead of wasting electricity using inefficient lights, install new barn lighting and use energy-efficient bulbs. Check out the bulbs that you’re using in your indoor arena, too, and see if a better option is available.

Even better, consider installing skylights or new barn windows to take advantage of the natural light when it’s available. Solar panels are another great idea, since you can harness the sun’s power and store it for when you need it.

Leaving Lights On

You can conserve a lot of energy simply by turning your barn lights off when you’re not using them. Be sure that lights are turned off whenever no one is in the barn. The same is true of turning off other devices, like radios. To save extra electricity, fully unplug the devices when they are not in use.

Running Fans in the Summer

Running fans in the summer is a popular way to help keep the barn temperature down, and the moving air has the added benefit of helping to cut down on flies in your barn. However, fans do use energy, especially if you have multiple fans running for hours each day.

Instead of relying on fans for air flow, design your barn to maximize air circulation. Open stall plans with European style stalls create a barn atmosphere that is both airy and bright, reducing the use of fans and barn lights. Classic Equine Equipment also offers stall doors that are ventilated for additional air flow, while stalls can be created with a grill bottom partition.

Wasted electricity and energy means wasted money in your barn. Fixing just one or two of these issues can lead to big savings over the course of a year.

Photo source: http://www.classic-equine.com/posts/european-series/

Original source: Is Your Barn Energy Efficient?

Managing Weeds in Horse Paddocks

February 12th, 2015

Grazing Horses

There’s nothing better than a well-maintained horse pasture. But sometimes, despite your attentive maintenance, weeds can take hold and threaten to take over a paddock. If you’re battling weeds in your horse pasture, these tips can help you to get them back under control.

Identify

Before you set about removing or destroying weeds in your horse’s pasture, take some time to identify the weeds first. Make sure that none of the weeds are toxic to horses, and if they are, then remove the horses from the pasture immediately and intensely treat the land to rid it of those plants. If you find toxic weeds, check with your local department of agriculture for guidance on the best removal method.

Use Herbicides

Herbicides can be an effective method in removing weeds. Before you apply an herbicide, make sure that horses can safely ingest the product that you will be using. Hand-sprayed herbicides can be ideal for treating small areas, while larger pastures can require more significant treatment. To be safe, keep the horses out of the paddock while it is being treated.

Mow Your Pastures

Mowing your pastures can help to prevent weed growth. If you mow your paddocks, you will be reducing the height of existing weeds and giving the grasses additional access to sunlight, which the weeds could otherwise block out. Remember to mow your pastures regularly, especially if you will be mowing as a weed management measure.

If you have weeds that are condensed in a smaller area, then hand-pulling the weeds may be a more effective method than mowing. By hand-pulling weeds you will be removing the entire plant, slowing or halting its growth. Hand-pulling is a method best used as soon as you notice weeds appearing in the pasture, not once they have taken hold and spread over a wide area.

Reseed Your Pastures

Reseeding your pasture can help to improve the population of nutritious grasses. Reseeding can be a good option if your pastures are looking run-down, but also remember to rotate your horses off of the land to give it a chance to recover from intensive grazing.

Frost seeding your pastures can be an effective way to revitalize and replenish your pastures with the grasses that you want to be present. Frost seeding is best performed in February or March, and it requires minimal labor, relying on the thawing and freezing of the ground to drive the seeds down to take root.

When it comes to managing weeds, acting quickly before they really take hold can help to keep them under control. Stay on top of the issue and you will be rewarded with a quality pasture with minimal weeds.

Photo source: http://www.ingimage.com/imagedetails/54347383_extInt0/ISS_5169_01972-Isignstock-Contributors-Beautiful-horses-on-the-field-Wildlife.html

Original source: Managing Weeds in Horse Paddocks