Spring is here, and we all know what that means—it’s time for spring cleaning!
Springtime excites all equestrians around the world as it doesn’t just mark the beginning of a warmer climate; it’s also the start of training for the upcoming polo season.
But before we all get too excited, it’s not just our horses that we need to prepare. We also have to keep our barns in excellent shape to ensure our horses will be comfortable and remain healthy. As a bonus, it will also make our lives a tad easier after cleaning. Here are some tips to get you started.
Put away the winter gears.
Collect all the blankets and thick gloves and send them to cleaning. Depending on how dirty they are, it might be possible to just wash them yourself. Once they’re dry, inspect each of them to check if they need some repair. If not, fold them neatly and keep them until the colder season resumes.
The winter gears aren’t just all about the fluffy stuff. You would also need to put away the bucket heaters, extension cords, and the like. After cleaning these items, you may store them together with the other winter equipment.
Clean your grooming supplies.
Spring cleaning isn’t just exclusive to the gears. Our horses need some care (especially when they start shedding their winter coats), too, which means you will need to clean your grooming kit. Thoroughly clean your combs and brushes. Aside from cleaning, clipper blades need to be sharp and lightly oiled.
Don’t forget that buckets, tubs, and troughs have to be scrubbed as well. Grab some stiff brush and baking soda to help clean metal ones.
Re-organize your shelves.
Take everything out of your shelves and dust them off. If you’re not the only one using it, it’ll be nice to invite the others. This will ensure that after cleaning everything, everyone knows where to look for a specific item.
Try to organize each item according to its seasonal use. You may also opt to put the things you often use on the lower shelves and the least used on the higher shelves. Apart from tidying them up, this will also help you find out which items you’d need to throw away, replace or replenish.
Due to the current pandemic situation, it will also be great to sanitize all surfaces to prevent spreading germs. Have a bottle of alcohol or some wipes ready close to surfaces that riders often touch daily.
Inspect the stalls.
After clearing up some space, it’s time to inspect the stalls—every corner of it. This might not feel necessary, but believe us, it is. Remember: The health of our equine friends depends on how clean and safe their surroundings are, including their stalls.
Remove the bedding first and start checking for any signs of rodents or bugs. If there aren’t any, check if they damaged any wiring, too. Then, start removing the cobwebs and relocating bird nests. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to sweep out all the dust and inspect if there are woods that need replacement, a loose nail, or maybe something that’s too rusty. See if the automatic waterers are working well without any signs of leaking or corrosion.
Do hay loft maintenance.
At this time, you are probably almost out of hay. Before the new bales come in, remove the remaining ones and sweep the floors. This will help you inspect each corner of your shed carefully. Make sure there are no wet spots from the snow or rain that could cause molds. Hay that has been damaged or wet should be disposed of immediately.
If there are signs of rodents, call the exterminator and plan how to get rid of them quickly. Rodent droppings could contaminate the bales.
Once you’re done, make sure to put the new bales positioned at the back while the old ones stay in the front. This way, you will be sure to use them first.
Wash the windows!
Washing the windows could be a daunting task to do in winter. But since the climate is much warmer, it’s time to clean the dust-covered windows! This will not only help you monitor your horses easily, but your horses will also love you even more for giving them a better view.
Air your tack trunks.
When was the last time you inspected your trunk? This will probably be an exciting activity if you don’t check your trunk often. Begin by removing all the equipment inside the trunk and setting them aside. Once it’s empty, clean your trunk thoroughly.
Now that it looks new again, it’s time to inspect and evaluate the equipment you’ve been storing inside it. Separate them into three groups: for keeps, donation, and trash. In the “for keeps” group, place items that are still in good shape, like leathers that only need cleaning and oiling or some blankets that only need washing.
In the “donation” group, put things that can still be used but you no longer like. If you got your horse some new combs for the new year, or you got plenty of new gloves or polo wraps, then you could give away old ones. It will also be cool to organize a “barn sale” if you want.
Finally, put all the broken or damaged equipment and expired medicines in the last group.
Once you’ve grouped them, it’s time to figure out what’s going back inside the trunk. You should also restock on items that you and your horse would need for the summer.
This might be a long list, but having a Pinterest-worthy barn is always the dream, isn’t it? Apart from that, spring cleaning your barn will make your training days more efficient and productive.
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Pámela Piedad is a journalist, author, designer, and the Editor-in-Chief of POLO LADY Magazine.