The Big Clean—Get Your Barn Ready For Show Season
“A clean barn is a healthy barn” is a phrase most horse people grow up hearing, and the saying is true considering a horse’s health, especially the respiratory system, is dependent on a clean environment. As the failsafe signs of spring emerge, we find ourselves creating a mile-long list of everything we need to clean, always seeming to miss a task or two. Forget-not this year, as we spoke to the Jamie Blash and Madeline Ostrow from Four Winds Equestrian Center of Oxford, MA, and Mary Hughes from Canton Equestrian Center of Canton, MA, about everything barn owners should do for an effective spring cleaning.
So, why is spring cleaning such a big deal? The Four Winds team lays it out plainly. “Without a spring cleaning habit, your barn can turn into chaos! For the health of your clients, and most importantly your horses, staying on top of a good spring cleaning routine is an essential part of running your barn.” Mary agrees but also advises to consider making it a routine more than once a year. “We have two major clean-ups around the barn each year— one in the fall and one in the spring. The harsh New England winter can be rough on the facilities and farm equipment, so cleaning is not only important for preparation but also for after the impact of winter.” Keeping up on your barn’s cleanliness is not only a responsible practice for your horses but also a healthy practice as well.
As you can imagine, keeping up with barn cleanliness can be a difficult task for many barn managers, which is why it is vital to have a big clean-up once a year. On top of major barn cleanups, Jamie reminds us of the importance of doing little things every day throughout the year. “Simple things such as dunking your horse’s bit in a water bucket after each ride, picking out your horse’s feet before and after each ride, and daily sweeping of your barn aisles is enough to stay on top of your barn and your horse’s cleanliness,” Jamie shares. Mary agrees, stating that barn cleaning is an every day task.
When it comes to organizing for the big day, a team of able-bodied people with all hands on deck to get everything done is a must. It is usually up to the barn manager/owner to assemble the crew as they know whom is best to assign each task to. For example, if any heavy machinery is being used during the clean-up, be sure to acquire someone who is well educated on how to work the equipment. For this, Mary gives a shout out to Facilities Manager Tim Hughes. “He can operate all of the heavy machinery on property and knows how to do just about anything!” Both our experts thank the students at their barns as well—they are usually a big part of spring cleaning. “Our instructors rally their students and help with whatever needs to be done,” shares Mary. “Students, boarders, and some of their parents add sheer numbers and help get the job done more quickly.” Jamie stems off of this, stating that, “Everyone has his or her own specialties that help with the final product.”
With warm weather on the horizon and show season here, our experts remind barn owners and managers that a clean and healthy barn will only push them closer to success—be sure to include a spring clean-up before the season kicks into high gear.