Do-It-Yourself Tips and Tricks for Around the Barn

Roll Up Your Sleeves

If there are two things every single equestrian on earth is lacking, it’s time and money. Vet bills, lesson costs, grain, and, you know, trying to be a productive member of society outside of the horse world can take quite the toll on funds and sanity. Unfortunately—even though we keep asking the universe to stop—things break, problems arise, and solutions need to be found. These tried-and-true tricks for around the barn are super savvy—both for the wallet and the brain.

1. We all know that scissors have legs and run away at the most inopportune times (it’s really hard to cut bailing twine with your teeth—ask us how we know). Tie a pair to a retractable dog leash so they’re always where they belong.

2. When the weather outside is frightful, nobody freaks out more about the temperature than horse folks. If the winter chillies are sneaking in through drafty barn doors, wedge an old, thick horse blanket underneath to keep the frost at bay.

3. You’ve perfectly folded your horse’s blanket so that it lies nicely and the straps don’t hang down—everyone’s dream, right? Keep those blanket-folding skills on show by wrapping a stretchy, self-sticking bandage around slippery blanket bars.

4. ‘Tis the season to work on de-spooking your horse. It’s also the time of year when post-holiday cleanup means getting rid of trees, wreathes, and decorations. Put them to good work as jump filler—and hang on tight!

5. It’s never too early to start preparing for the wretched season of flying bug doom—ahem…we mean spring. Get ready to combat flies and other pesky pests in a natural, easy way by screwing a spray top onto a bottle of vinegar.

6. Nothing says dinnertime like a chorus of buckets clanging against stall walls. For your own sanity, mount a milk crate at bucket height, then, hang the bucket so it sits in the crate. And enjoy the peace and quiet.

7. Stumped on what to do with perfectly good traffic cones once driving practice is over? Cut off the tops of two cones in a curved pattern—they will fit a jump rail perfectly.

8. No matter the reason, spending an extended amount of time in a stall is such a bore. Dip apples and carrots in molasses, then roll in oats. Hang those bad boys on a string (in a place where they can’t be pinned against anything and devoured in seconds) and boredom will be busted.

9. It’s a universal fact that every equestrian hoards something—be it saddle pads, bits, or blankets. If halters are your vice, dig into that pile of old, moldy leather and use two to hang potted plants around the farm—a plastic pot fits wonderfully in the nose piece.

10. Training toilets (yes, those ones) make fantastic bases for cavaletti—plus, it’s quite a funny sight to behold.

11. In a pinch, an old five-gallon bucket screwed to the wall makes a fantastic saddle rack. As a bonus, you can store things in the open end!

12. If you have a few extra pieces of wood lying around (don’t we all?), you can make easy collapsible saddle racks for just the price of hardware. All you need are a few smooth J-hooks with holes, eye hooks, screws, and a screwdriver. Cut two pieces of wood to the preferred length (long enough for your saddle of choice), screw them together in a T shape, attach the J-hook to the top, mount the eye hook to the wall, and you’re good to go! To take it to the next level, sand the edges and corners to prevent scratches.

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