Make Hay Deliveries As Easy As Possible

CEE barn doorsIt’s not too early to start thinking about laying in your winter supply of hay. When you own a barn full of horses, hay deliveries are an essential (and often constant) part of life.

While some hay farms or feed store will deliver hay directly to you, often it’s left up to the barn owner to transport and load their hay.  And some stores that do deliver, have certain requirements to make it as easy as possible for them to unload.  Here are some tips to make sure that hay deliveries run smoothly.

Position the Barn So the Loft is Accessible

When you’re planning your barn’s layout, make sure that you position the hayloft barn door so that it is easily accessible for trucks. The hayloft door should be installed in a location where large trucks can get up close to the barn. Make sure that you account for a place to store your hay ladder when it’s not in use.

It’s important to also make sure that a hay truck will have enough space to turn around, back up, and park when delivering hay. When you decide on the position of the barn loft, plan on creating a parking lot which is large enough to give the truck access to the barn.

Opt for Generously Sized Hay Loft Doors

The process of delivering hay can be made much easier if you install generously sized hayloft doors. The last thing that you want to have to do is work around doors with a tight clearance, so opt for larger doors than you anticipate needing. The larger opening makes it easier to safely guide the hay ladder into place, and it also allows for multiple people to be in the loft to stack hay as it’s delivered.

NOTE: While storing hay in your barn can equal ease in feeding your horses, hay is hay deliver 1 FINTAHAYhighly combustible and should be considered as a fire hazard.  Many barns opt for a separate structure something like a run-in shed with an open front for ease in both delivery and moving hay to the barn.

Make Sure the Driveway Has Adequate Drainage

The weather never seems to cooperate when you’re expecting a hay delivery, and if your barn driveway is dirt or gravel, you may find that it is a muddy mess when a hay truck is on the way. When you build your barn, be sure to plan ahead and make sure that your driveway has plenty of drainage. The same goes for your barn’s parking lot. Good driveway maintenance also plays a role and can help ensure that large trucks and trailers don’t get lose access to the property during inclement weather.

Design the Driveway and Access Road for Large Trucks

In addition to providing your driveway with adequate drainage, the very way that you design the driveway can make hay deliveries easier. When planning your driveway or access road, avoid sharp or narrow turns which can be difficult for a large truck to navigate. If the driveway is bordered by trees, then it’s also important to make sure that they are properly trimmed back so that large vehicles may pass safely.

Hay deliveries are a regular part of horse ownership. Planning ahead for hay deliveries when you build your barn can help to make the process easier!

Photo credit:  Classic Equine, FintaHay
Advertisements

Introducing Your Child To Horses

child riding THESPRUCEWe all remember the first time we met a real, live horse. For many kids, it’s a wish granted and a memory that stays ingrained with us forever.  If handled in a positive manner, it can be enough to generate a lifetime with these amazing animals. Introducing a child to horses is a special moment, but it’s also important to make sure the introduction is done well.

The best way to start you child with riding is to schedule a lesson with a qualified instructor and a bomb-proof lesson horses.  Both the trainer and the horse have most likely started many, many kids on riding.  They know how to make it a positive experience without the pressure that parents can sometimes apply.  Similarly, a good lesson horse can withstand just about anything a child can dish out.  But even lesson horses have their limit of patience so make sure your child knows a horse is not a machine.

However, maybe you’re lucky enough to  have your own horse or a friend who is willing to let  you borrow their horses. If you want to introduce your child to horses, then these tips can help.

Find a Trustworthy Horse or Pony

The key to a positive introduction to horses begins with a trustworthy horse or pony. Try to introduce your child to a horse or pony who does not nip or bite, even when presented with small fingers. Make sure the horse or pony has an excellent understanding of personal space, and that he or she does not kick.  Make sure the horse/pony knows the basic cues for walk and whoa and is comfortable being tacked up and groomed.

Have a Safety Talk Beforehand

Before you get to the barn, talk with your child about basic safety rules around horses. It’s best to have this conversation ahead of time, since many children will be excited and distracted once you arrive at the barn. Talk with your child about how large horses are and that they can hurt us without even knowing it. Make sure to establish rules such as not running or screaming when at the barn, and how the child must never walk behind a horse.

Make sure your child is dressed for safety as well.  While riding boots may not be necessary on the first visit, your child MUST wear a solid shoe, preferably with a heel.  No sandals or tennis shoes should be allowed.

Start your child off right by teaching your child about the importance of wearing a safety helmet when riding a horse.  Make make sure an appropriately sized and safety-certified helmet is a part of your child’s very first ride.

Have Adults Present to Help

Depending on your child’s age, you may want to have one or more other adults present to help out with the introduction. This is particularly important if you’ll be giving your child a pony ride. Another adult can focus on handling the horse while you work with your child. As an added bonus, another adult can help to capture the moment with photos or video.

Plan Accordingly

If you’re planning to introduce your child to a horse at a busy barn, try to schedule the introduction for a time when the barn is relatively quiet so you won’t be in the way. If you’ll be giving your child a pony ride, conduct the ride in a quiet, enclosed riding arena to be extra safe.

A positive first introduction to horses can establish a lifetime fascination with these beautiful animals.

Build A Safe Barn For You & Your Horse

cropped-barns-stalls1.jpgWe all know that horses are injury and accident prone, but designing your barn carefully can help to maximize safety for both the horses and people! Think about incorporating these safety tips into your barn.

Build a Generously Sized Barn Aisle

When planning your barn aisle, make sure that it will be wide enough to allow for horses to safely pass through. You should make your barn aisle at least 10 feet wide, though even wider is better. A wider aisle can better accommodate passing horses and equipment.

When designing your barn, also consider whether you will allow items like tack boxes to be stored in the aisle. While convenient, storing tack boxes in the aisle does reduce the amount of room that you have, and they can pose safety hazards. It may be wiser to construct an additional room or a larger tack room specifically to store tack boxes.

Build Wide Doorways

In addition to building a wide barn aisle, make sure to also build your barn doorways wide enough so that horses can be safely led through them. In addition to building large barn end doors, plan your barn so that it includes wide stall doors. Narrow doors can lead horses to catch their hips on them, and trying to lead an excited horse through a narrow door is a recipe for disaster.  Some people prefer sliding stall doors to hinged stall doors for safety. 

Provide Quality Footing with Excellent Traction

When you plan your barn’s design, also plan out the corresponding footing which will be in every area of the barn. If you will be laying a concrete aisle, then make sure that the concrete is textured and plan to use textured rubber mats over it to provide traction. A better option is to lay rubber aisle pavers across the entire surface, ensuring that the footing is safe and forgiving.

Don’t overlook the footing of your arenas, either. Now is the time to budget for the cost of properly building a riding arena. Having proper footing that is well-groomed can help to prevent injuries to your horses during training.  Consider safe fencing around the arena.

Use Safe Grillwork in Your Horse Stalls

If you will be using stalls which include grillwork, then take the time to make sure that the grillwork is properly spaced. Grillwork which leaves spaces that are too large between the bars invites catastrophic injury if a horse rears up and gets his hoof stuck between the bars. All Classic Equine Equipment top grillwork includes 1” bars set on 3” centers. Lower grillwork includes 1” bars set on 2 ½” centers so that even the smallest hoof cannot get caught.

Provide Adequate Lighting

Finally, make sure that your barn is well lit. Including skylights can maximize your use of natural light, but it’s also important to include quality light fixtures to keep your barn well lit and provide good visibility at night.

These small design changes can create a safer barn for you and your horses!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Riders Need Sun Protection, Too.

horse riding in sun NewHorseEarlier this month, we covered some of the best ways to care for your horse’s skin this summer to avoid sun-related problems.  Now it’s time to consider YOUR skin.

The active equestrian spends a lot of time in the sun. From long horse show days to training rides to lessons, we’re outside a lot. If you want to keep your skin looking great, follow these tips to care for your skin.

Remember Your Sunscreen

Don’t head out on a ride without your sunscreen! For the best protection, use a sunscreen with a high SPF rating, and don’t forget to reapply frequently. Make sure you cover areas including the back of your neck and your neckline.

To make sure you always have sunscreen on hand, consider keeping a bottle in your tack trunk. And if applying sunscreen by hand is just too much trouble, then invest in a bottle of hands-free, spray-on sunscreen to keep applications quick before you go ride.

Wear UV-Protectant Clothing

Your clothing can now protect you from the sun, too. When you’re shopping for outfits barn chores or riding, take a look at their features – many are now UV-resistant or UV-protectant. While these garments may cost a little more because of this feature, it’s a worthwhile investment, especially during the summer. Some clothes are even ingrained with sunscreen, now, too.

Top Off with a Hat

Whether you’re teaching a lesson or working outdoors, adding a hat to your wardrobe can offer your skin additional protection from the sun. While baseball caps are great, try to look for a hat which is surrounded by a brim so you can protect your neck and your face. The brim of your riding helmet offers you some protection, but you can also buy a helmet with a longer brim to get extra protection during sunny summer rides.

Moisturize

A quality moisturizer will go a long ways toward keeping your skin looking young and healthy. Moisturize your skin on a daily basis. It’s also a great idea to use a facial moisturizer which contains sunscreen so you get dual protection.

Stay On Top of Your Skin

If you notice that your skin is changing, or if you develop questionable spots on your skin, make an appointment with a dermatologist to get things checked out. If you have moles or troublesome skin spots, make sure that they are promptly examined. Staying ahead of potential health issues can make treatment much more manageable if they do turn out to be anything serious.

All the time we spend outside as equestrians takes a toll on our skin, so make sure you also give your skin the care it needs.

Photo credit:  Newhorse.com

Consider These Layouts For Your New Barn

 

Are planning your dream barn, but not sure of what type of layout is best for you and your horses? No problem. Let’s take a look at some of the more common types of barn layouts so that you can find the one that is just right for your facility.  And rest assured that our quality and affordable Classic Equine Equipment products can be used in any of these designs – and more!

shedrow herbst farmShed Row Barns

Shed row style barns feature a single line of stalls which face directly out into the open. Generally a gable roof extends out over the stalls, providing a covered area in which to work. Shed row barns are ideal for warmer climates where you don’t need the added weather protection of a full interior barn. They allow for excellent ventilation, since the horse stalls open onto the open-sided roof. However, shed row style barns aren’t a great choice for cold climates when you really need to be indoors during the winter.

Center Aisle BarnsCEE doors

Center aisle barns are one of the most popular barn styles in the equestrian world. Center aisle barns consist of two rows of stalls separated by a center aisle. These barns provide a sheltered interior to work within, and the orientation of the stalls makes them easily accessible when caring for large numbers of horses. When positioned to take advantage of the wind’s path, a center aisle barn can help to maximize ventilation.

Back-to-Back Barn

A back-to-back barn features two rows of stalls which are placed directly back-to-back. The stalls are designed to use the same single back wall, which can be an excellent way to save money. However, make sure that you use only quality wood and construction for this back wall, since it needs to support the wear and tear of two horses. In a back-to-back barn, the stalls face outward, similarly to a shed row. This design is excellent for warmer climates, but again, is not suitable for areas with a harsh winter. Putting up walls and enclosing the barn with exterior aisles is one way to make this design more versatile and suitable for colder weather. This style is sometimes referred to as an island stall design.

L-Shaped Barns

L-shaped barns are center aisle barns which include a right angle turn. This style can be an excellent choice when working within a smaller area in which you can build. The L-style barn can maximize the number of stalls that you can include while still keeping all of the horses under a single roof.

U-Shaped Barns

U-shaped barns are a popular style for larger facilities. They are center aisle barns which feature three aisles in the shape of a U. All of the stalls are connected in this style, and the U-shaped barn also provides a convenient area for a courtyard, a horse grooming stall, or any other features that you may wish to include.

It’s important that your barn layout is right for your intended uses. If you have questions about your barn layout, then please contact us – we’re happy to discuss your plans with you.

Photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment

Store Horse Feed Properly

horse eating grainWe 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.

Avoiding the Sun this Summer

horse with sun umbrellaWith summer now officially here, you know it makes good sense for you to be careful in the sun with adequate coverage and sunscreen. But it’s also important to check your horse for signs of sunburn and learn how to avoid problems.

Sunburn occurs from too much exposure to the sun without proper covering or protection. It can be caused by a side effect to some drugs, like tetracycline, that cause photosensitivity. Light-colored horses and horses with white markings can get quite badly sunburned without proper care. This occurs especially on the muzzle and around the eyes. Dark-coated, dark-skinned horses usually are not as prone to sunburn, but can experience a certain amount of bleaching of their coat. The most common is that a black coat suddenly turns red.

Since it’s always easier to prevent something than to treat it, here are some suggestions to safeguard your horse against sunburn.

  • Covering your horse with a fly sheet not only protect against flies, but also from the harmful rays of the sun.  The fly sheet has tiny holes that allow air to circulate so he doesn’t get too warm.
  • Use a fly mask, especially one that covers both his ears and all the way down to the tip of the muzzle.  Many horses have white blazes and snips – anywhere the coat is white with a pinkish tint showing is susceptible to burning.
  • Use a sun screen product on your horse.  While it is best to use sunscreen products especially made for horses, it is also possible to use sunscreen for humans on your horse.  To be safe, use the ones designed for sensitive skin.
  • Apply sunscreen ½ hour before going in the run and reapply any sun screen products every two hours to maintain its strength.  There are some colored sunscreens that will help you see if the product needs to be reapplied.  For example, if your horse has been grazing on wet grass, the sunscreen on his nose can easily be washed away.
  • You can also use fly spray that contains sunscreen to prevent sunburn as well as control pests.
  • Use shampoos and conditioners with sun screen as well.
  • Limit your horse’s time in the sun, especially 12-3pm when the sun is typically strongest. 
  • Offer shade for your horse to get out of the sun, e.g. trees, a run in shed, etc. 
  • If you’re going on a trail ride, select a shady route.
  • Turn out your horse at night and keep him out of the sun during the day.

Remember that sun burn can occur even on cloudy days so take the same precautions even when the sun isn’t shining.  If your horse does become sunburned, protect it from further sun exposure and try to keep the area as clean to prevent infection.  You can use sunburn relief products like aloe to help reduce pain and keep the skin moist to avoid peeling.  Antiseptic ointments also work to protect and help heal.  If blisters or some other skin condition develops, it’s best to check with your vet to make sure there’s not some other problem at work.

Watching out for harmful sun rays is important for both you and your horse!

Photo credit: Tuesday's Horse

 

Easy Ways To Keep Your Horse Cool During Summer Rides

evening or morning riding CLEARSPANSummer is the best time to own a horse, but we have been getting some real scorchers these last few years.  Here are some tips on keeping your horse cool this summer.

  • Ride early in the morning or in the evening.  It is usually hottest from about 1pm – 5pm so before or after is better, even if it means changing your regular ride time.
  • Ride under cover when possible.  If you must ride in the heat of the day, ride in the covered arena.  Without the sun beating down on you and your horse, you are apt to keep several degrees cooler.  However, if it’s before or after the heat, you may find a nice breeze if you ride out-of-doors.
  • Consider “cool places” to ride – on a shady trail or on the beach.
  • Dark colored horses – like dark-colored clothes – will absorb more of the sun’s rays and be hotter.  So be extra vigilant with dark skin animals.
  • On the other hand, light-colored horses or horses with any white markings are more susceptible to sunburn.  Make sure you put a light coat of sunscreen on the tip of your horse’s ears, on his nose and any other white spots exposed to the sun.
  • Look for high-tech fabrics in saddle pads.  Many pads are textured or made of fabrics designed to keep your horse cool under the saddle.  Remember that dark colors absorb heat, so think white saddle pads.  Or, if you feel comfortable, ride bareback.
  • Keep your workouts short.  Do just enough to keep your horse in shape and his mind sharp. 
  • Even though it’s hot out, it’s still important to warm your horse up before tackling any serious riding.  Walks on a loose rein with transitions or changes of direction are usually enough.
  • Of course, you must cool your horse down after riding.  Because it’s hot out, don’t expect to get your horse down to no sweating.  Just give muscles time to relax.  If you can get off and hand walk him, so much the better.
  • Periodically offer short water breaks while cooling him off. Hold off on the deep drink until after he’s relatively cool.
  • A post workout shower is always appreciated but, again, wait until he’s pretty well cooled off.  Your initial inclination may be to turn on the cold water, but warm going gradually to cool is less of a shock to his system.  Though it may be warm at shower time, it may get cool later in the evening so consider if your horse will need a light cooler if he’s still wet.
  • Finally, know the symptoms for heat exhaustion of your horse and how to treat it.  Left untreated, it can lead to the more severe heat stroke.

Follow these tips and have a great summer!

too-hot-to-ride.jpg

Photo credits: Equestrians Rock, ClearSpan

Decoding Military Horse Statues

horse statueHorses have faithfully served our country through countless battles, becoming an integral part of America’s military history. Top leaders are often depicted in statues, and they’re frequently mounted on horses. It’s long been said that military horse statues follow a certain “code” – but is it true?

The Military Statue Code

According to legend, and some ill-informed tourism guides, you can tell how the rider depicted in a statue died according to how many of his mount’s hooves are in the air. According to this code, if a horse has one hooves raised, the rider was wounded in a battle. A horse with two hooves raised means that the rider died in battle. If a horse has all four hooves on the ground, then the rider survived all of the battles.

It is possible that the code originated with the military horse statues in Gettysburg depicting the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, since most of those statues do hold true to the code. It is also possible that the code is the result of a hypothesis run wild – after noticing the consistencies amongst the statues in Gettysburg, word of the supposed code may have spread.

The Truth Behind the Code

So does the code hold true? Not exactly. While Gettysburg statues largely adhere to the code, other statues don’t follow the code at all. That the military horse statue code was invented and followed by sculptors is doubtful, given the number of statues, both modern and historical, that don’t follow the code.

In Washington D.C., America’s hub of history, many statues stray from the code. The statue of General Andrew Jackson, located in Lafayette Park of Washington D.C., was created in 1853. Jackson is depicted on a horse with both front legs raised, which, according to the code, should signify that Jackson died in battle. In fact, Jackson did not die in battle – he later died of tuberculosis.

One has to consider the physical limitations and practicality of adhering to the code, too. Sculpting knowledge and talent has certainly advanced, so sculpting a rider on a rearing horse would be no problem today. But 19th century sculptors faced different limitations and had different resources available to them, so sculpting a rearing horse would have presented far more of a challenge.

The code, while a romantic idea, can’t be relied upon. However, that doesn’t reduce the huge influence that horses have had on the military. After all, top military figures are depicted on top of a horse – the ultimate sign of nobility, honor, and power.

If you are taking a vacation this year to any of America’s historical sites, chances are you’ll see a horse statue.  Now you can be the “statue expert.”