Time Saving Tips

rsz color coding1. Color code your barn. Having a small barn allows me to color code each horse's items. Each horse has a color associated with him. His feed buckets, blankets, hay nets and stall door all have that horses color. I buy inexpensive beads at craft stores and use zip ties to attach the beads to the horse blankets, stall doors and hay nets. I purchase feed buckets in colors to correlate with that particular horse. This also makes it easier for anyone in the barn to know which item belongs to which horse. A simple glance to the horses stall door double checks which horse has which color. I also have name plates over each stall to further avoid confusion.

2. Premeasure grain for the next meal. Horses tend to get impatient at mealtimes waiting for their grain so I have each meal measured out, including supplements so I can grain the horses without adding extra time. I store the grain in the color coded buckets inside a large metal trash can to discourage pests and to prevent it from being accidently knocked over. The top bucket is empty and contains a laminated card that specifies which meal the buckets underneath contain. 


3. Label blankets by weight as well as size. I don't write the horses name inside blankets because they are often used on different horses. Instead, I write in permanent marker the blanket size (because the tags fade pretty fast) and weight (medium weight or heavy weight) inside the blanket where the name would be. I also store them in heavy plastic bags after laundering with this information on the outside of the bag to make identification easy.

4. Make an emergency medical kit of commonly used items and store in a plastic brush box. Put each medicine container inside a baggie to help prevent leakage. Keep a small clipboard for veterinary notes. 

View from top of medical kit. I keep most of my medical supplies in a cabinet and use the small kit for treating a horse with only the items I need. This keeps it handy for multiple treatments instead of searching through the medicine cabinet each time.

5. For barns that add oil to grain rations, use a gallon container with a pump. This makes adding oil to the feed less of a messy proposition. Oil will freeze in the winter, but I've found that adding boiling water to a small bucket and then placing the gallon jug of oil into the bucket will defrost the oil pretty quickly. I use Cocasoya oil and have found that the boiling water will allow mixing of the settled oils from the bottom of the jug quite easily.

6. I keep my grain in metal trash cans to prevent animals from gaining access to the grain. Because I don't keep the grain bags, I wouldn't be able to find the manufacturers lot number in case of a recall. I put some small hooks above the grain cans that I attach the feed tags whenever I put new grain into the can. 

View of the supplement shelf above the grain cans. The bright green tag is the feed tag for the grain in the can beneath the shelf. White boards contain feeding information for each horse. The blue thermos can hold 2.5 gallons of water, a handy size making bran mashes, topping off water buckets or having warm water for cleaning.