Once you’ve bought a horse, keeping it happy is more important than feeding and grooming. To better maintain your horse barn for your steed, keeping the stalls clean and ventilated, is more important even if you are short on space. Sport horses, in particular, need ample space to stretch and sleep within the stalls. If you perform horse show jumping on an animal that hasn’t rested or recuperated well, chances are, your horse will lose spirit and wither away.
This article talks about the ways you can make existing stables and barns more suitable for your horse’s well-being. These measures need not always be costly and time-consuming. Quite often, simple hacks will do. Here are the 6 easiest ways to maintaining your horse barn better.
1. Visual stimulation
Horses do feel safer in shelters that are protected from the elements. But they also need to know that large spaces are within reach. Horses are also herd animals. This means that they need to see other horses around them to feel comfortable and upbeat. Using a stall guard in place of solid walls and doors allows your show jumper horse a clearer way of knowing that it’s not alone.
2. Keep your stalls clean
Clean your horse stalls twice a day and ensure fresh water is available at all times. Provide plenty of roughage in feeding troughs. And keep visiting your horse routinely and personally. Your horse needs to know that you are its closest friend.
Horse barns are big and airy for a reason. The more horses you have the more air and ventilation you’ll need. The smell of fresh rainwater or blossoming bushes should feed through the enclosures at all times.
4. Scratching posts
In the hot, humid season bugs and insects on the horse’s mane are unavoidable despite all the grooming. This is particularly true if you have less space available. A horse that’s unable to scratch when it itches will kick buckets and troughs, attempt to bolt, and become difficult to control.
5. Wipe barn walls and wood with bleach to avoid infections
As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, viruses spread easily. Bleach is a great disinfectant and germ-killer for stable surfaces.
6. Facilities for tackling change in seasons
“If you really want to keep your horse happy and loyal, provide stalls blankets in the cold season and fans in hot weather”, says Happy Comly, owner of Comly Sport Horses. Her facility boasts of a fully enclosed arena with 12 x 12 matted stalls and a large round pen. Comply also provides horse training services that includes boarding, medication, supplements, deworming, and vet visits.
Apart from enclosed spaces to give shelter and prevent horses from running or wandering off, you need to maintain large enough arenas or running spaces for regular exercise. Show jumper or hunter horses need to be taken out or ridden regularly in order to keep them strong, happy, and fit for competitions.
Watch out for signs of unhappiness, such as changes in appearance, withdrawal, undue aggression, weaving, lunging, kicking, or cribbing. Keep your stalls well-maintained and you’ll have a winner.
Check out the facilities Comly provides for show jumping horses here.