Caring for a farm always means that there are things that need to be done. Whether you are caring for the animals, picking vegetables, putting out fresh hay in the barn, gathering eggs, or doing some other chore; there is an endless list of things you must do. Then on top of that, you must also work to maintain the property. This upkeep may not have to be done daily, but it is always there; waiting for you to notice that you need to do a little something more. It is especially true for the fences you have around your farm. Without them, your animals may wander away. Therefore, you will most likely need to spend a lot of your time tending to and mending the fences; especially if you have horses to care for.
All animals love grass. Cows, goats, horses, and all other animals will search for grass and graze on it constantly. Often, they view the fences around them as obstacles and a grazing animal can push a fence to its limit. They are firm believers in “The Grass is Always Greener” and they will do what they can to prove it. They will push against it, put their head through it, and at times; go over it. This means that fence troubles happen more often than you may expect when you first get into raising animals. It also means that you will spend a lot of time looking around your farm’s perimeter in search of issues with the fence.
How Often Should You Check Fences?
You will want to check your fences quite often. However, it depends on the type of fence you have as to how often you will need to check it for issues. Wire fences may not need to be checked for tightness any more than twice a year unless you know you have a rowdy animal. Wooden fences that have been treated can be checked less often than those that have not been treated; especially if they have been treated with fiberglass resin and cloth. A great resource for this process is Epoxy Countertop DIY. Electric fences will need to be checked more often to ensure that grass isn’t touching them. On average, you may want to ride the fence line at least monthly to ensure that your animals do not end up roaming off your property.
The Tools You Need
Repairing a fence requires pretty much the same tools as installing it, but it also depends on the type of fence. A wooden fence may only require you to have a post hole digger and a drill for screwing loose boards back into place. If there is a post that constantly becomes loosened from the dirt, you may want to put in an expandable foam filling instead of concrete and dirt. The same is true for wire fences, but if you have them, you may also want to have a fence stretcher to ensure that it stays tight; no matter how often your animals push against it. Other tools include hammers, nails, fence staples, and more. Luckily, there is nothing hard about fence repair. It simply takes a little time to do and a little searching for issues.
Taking care of horses is a big responsibility. They need a lot of different things if you want to keep them healthy and happy. It doesn’t matter whether you are raising race horses or you are first time horse owner. For that reason, here are a few basic tools of the trade that every barn should have within easy reach.
For the Barn Upkeep
A lot of the tools you need for a barn, to keep it a healthy environment for a horse you may already have on hand. These tools include a pitchfork, shovels, and wheelbarrows to help you move hay around and cleaning up after the horse. If you want to drive the horse or ride it, you should purchase specific tack to help you with it. Water troughs and feed buckets are also necessary inside of a barn, especially if you plan to keep your horse in it. You will also want to have access to water troughs outside of the barn, but feed buckets are less of a requirement if you have good grass for him to eat. One good thing is feed buckets and water troughs can be any type of bucket that will hold a substantial amount of water or feed. The major concern is that you have a bucket that has never stored anything potentially toxic for the horse.
Caring for the Horse
Horses come with specific needs. They need brushes for their body and their mane. Lead ropes, bits, and bridles give you control over the horse, within reason, while you are riding. Hoof picks are great for caring for a horse’s feet between shoeing’s. If you have flies or bugs in and around the barn, you will need to take care of that using an insect repellent. There are several different types of sprays that can be used around the barn’s exterior and even some that may be sprayed on the horse. One comfort item that you may want for your horse is a water heater for a high pressure shower head or a heater if you live in areas that experience cold weather. This may only be an issue if you have a horse to care for during the winter months.
If you want to use the horse for driving, a sturdy and safe vehicle will be beneficial to both you and your horse. You will also want a driving whip to give you control over it. A helmet is also a good idea for a newly trained driving horse since each horse will have different reactions to movement around them from other vehicles.
It is also recommended for horse owners use safety stirrups on the horse. This will ensure your feet do not slip out of the stirrup. If you cannot get a set, you can also choose to get a pair of boots that have a one-inch heel. This will keep your feet firmly in place on the stirrup no matter how fast the two of you are running across the open fields.
When life gets busy, we all fall behind on chores. It is even harder to keep up when you have horses to deal with and a home for your family to run. Efficiency is the key to success and the bigger the barn and house, the tougher it becomes. You have to make it your priority to get everything on a routine and then you have to stick to it. Without prioritizing, you will never manage to succeed at creating a happy home for all the mammals that live there.
Morning Comes Early on the Farm
Every day there are animals and people that need to be fed. It is a fact of nature. On the farm, most people choose the early morning hours to take care of the first “feeding” of the day. It enables those on the farm to progress with their day and gives everyone a full stomach to do it on. Most horse owners get up before the sun does and takes care of the animals. Then as the sun breaks the horizon, they get to work inside the home to feel the family.
It depends on the size of the barn and how many animals you have, but most barns need to be cleaned out on a daily basis. Let’s face it; you cannot house break a horse and it is a little unfair to keep them in a dirty stall. The less you clean it, the more insects you will have coming to visit their bedroom and if you had insects in your room, you would go searching for how to see bed bugs at night. Animals do not have that luxury. They depend on you to keep everything clean so that they can simply thrive. You may also have yard work to deal with, house cleaning to handle, and a variety of other tasks that must be done daily.
Most everyone will have an evening feeding time that you need to stick to. This will most likely happen during the late afternoon for animals and slightly later for the family inside. In either case, it is a great way to wind down and get started planning for anything out of the ordinary that may need to happen the next day.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Life on the farm is not easy. Farmhands can take some of the load off your shoulders, but in most cases, they will want to sleep just as early as you. That is why many horse lovers end up going to bed early in the evening hours. Many people feel that 11 PM is a late night and will leave them sleepy the next day. When you are caring for horses and spouses, children, and more; you will be ready for sleep at the end of the day. Without it, you will not be able to rise early to start your day. Farm life and a love of horses is a great thing, but you have to work out how to make everything run smoothly for yourself. If you don’t, you will never create a happy, healthy home for all of the mammals you care about, including yourself.
Any horse owner can tell you that we all spend a lot of time and energy caring for our horses. It is something that goes beyond riding or brushing their mane. It is a full-time job and the more horses you have to love, the more of a job it will become. However, with that, most all of us realize that it becomes important to also take care of our own body. Jockeys who gain too much weight cannot ride in races, women with easily irritated skin shouldn’t spend their days in the sun, and more. Therefore, we are here to tell anyone who wants to get into caring for horses, “Take care of yourself and the horse will follow.”
When caring for horses, most people do not realize all the effort that is required. There is grooming, shoeing, exercising, and constant worry. A horse that takes a wrong step may never be able to walk again. If their feet get achy, they have a harder time with being ridden. Their barns should be kept reasonably clean and they should always have easy access to grains, hay, and other stuff that is vital for their heath and well-being. Each breed of horse has special care needs and these needs may change depending on what the horse is used for. Virtually every horse owner has a vet that they trust on their phones speed dial. If a horse owner doesn’t take care of everything necessary, they will not have a health horse, but taking care of the horse also requires that they take care of themselves.
Much the same as your horse, a healthy diet can help you get through the roughest days. It is important that you eat all the fruits, vegetables, and proteins that your body needs. You should also do your best to take care of your skin since a lot of your day will be spent outdoors with your horse. One of the best things that I ever started doing was using a DIY face moisturizer with SPF on a daily basis. It has helped my skin look younger and I end up with fewer sunburns throughout the year.
It All Comes Together in the End
Admittedly, horses were once wild. They roamed the country freely and held their head up high. They survived without people. Now, they enjoy being around their humans. Although working animals, they are there for your pleasure. When they lived in the wild, they were not “unhealthy”, but injuries could make the difference between life and death. They ate what they needed to eat and went wherever they needed to go. As your horse, they depend on you to provide for their needs. They need for you to ensure they have a healthy diet and that they are able to run freely. You can only help them and care for them by caring for yourself. If you care for yourself, they will be happier and healthier. It is a win/win situation for you both.
We are always looking for a better way to run our farm. We look for upgrades constantly to try and keep our horses comfortable and make every other aspect of running it more efficient. This is because we do not take chances. We need to understand where we stand financially when we have to travel for races and make sure our animals are happy. Taking better care of our horses is our primary goal and something that we feel makes us a better team in every way.
Why We Strive to Do It
Horses are not just animals. They are majestic creatures that roam the wild if not tamed by us. It is a pleasure knowing that they allow us to tame them and ride on them. It is a joy feeling their power under us and seeing them perform well in a race. Therefore, we feel that we owe them all the comfort that we can provide to them and do whatever we can to make our farm run smoothly enough that we can enjoy time with them. In ways, we feel that by taking better care of them, we will have happier horses who are glad that they came to us, which in turn makes them work harder when we need them to.
High End Stable Example
Our Newest Efforts
When most people think of a barn, they picture stalls, hay, and various grooming devices. We do have all of those things for the horses on our farm. Our barns are spacious and comfortable. We have power run to the barn and attempt to keep it well lighted when we need to. We also like making sure that it is comfortable inside the barn for both people and horses, which means fans and portable heaters. We do understand that horses are wild creatures, so it could be more for our benefit than theirs, but it seems to work. Since we also spend quite a bit of time traveling, our trailers are also comfortable for the horses. They have clean hay at all times and our trailers are equipped with a mobile solar power generator. During times when we stop for food, our horses still enjoy a fan and a pump puts fresh water for them to drink into a water trough inside the trailer.
Since we began attempting to make things on the farm more efficient and providing more extreme comfort measures for our animals; our success rate has increased. Our horses seem to perform better on race day and our friends who help us run the farm are also happier about being with us. Everyone seems to work better as a team. With our upgraded computer programs which make tracking finances and schedules easier, we are also able to remain more proficient, which gives us more time to spend with our friends and animals. We have discovered that when everything runs smoothly, there is more time to enjoy the animals that we fell in love with years ago. It makes it easier for us to focus more of our energy on the basics; our pure love of racing thoroughbreds.