Barn Chores – Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly
There’s a lot we do every day for our horses, and then there are the chores that we do weekly, monthly, and even yearly.
- Here are some basic guidelines about how often you should be attacking these barn chores. Your routines will vary, as will your horses and time, so feel free to slide things around to fit your barn’s needs.
Daily barn chores
These include temperature, pulse, respirations, digital pulses, and a quick gum check for hydration. It doesn’t take long and can be your first indication that something is off. Once again, this is the hill I’m going to die on. To learn how to check vital signs and what the normals are, this article can help you. For learning about digital pulses, this fascinating read is for you. If you just can’t help yourself, also read this one about how to check for hydration.
Memorizing the rest of the normals.
I’m looking for inputs and outputs. How much did he eat and drink, and pee and poop? This is easily done as you are doing the chores. The other normals, such as behavior, appetite, etc. can be noticed as you are feeding and milling about.
Taking vitals is fast and easy.
I do a quick check of legs when I’m first doing vital signs. This also includes checking digital pulses – the first thing to do to catch hoof problems. While I’m grooming, each leg gets a thorough inspection with fingertips and eyes. Cuts and scrapes are clipped and cleaned. This also ties nicely into looking for ticks in all of those nooks and crannies around your horse’s elbows.
It’s just easier to clean tack every day. And what horse wants to wear dirty stuff? Don’t neglect the saddle pad – a good brushing with a stiff brush can help prevent your saddle pads from becoming hairy and crusty and growing legs and walking away on their own. Supple and safe tack is clean, flexible and strong. Tack that’s dried and crusty is dirty, stiff, and unsafe.
Bucket swishing and feed tub rinsing
Some days a swish is all you need, other days a rinse and quick scrubby wipe, other days a total soap and scrub session. The saying at our barn is that if we wouldn’t eat or drink from it, neither should our horses.
I only consider it clean if I’m willing to drink from it.
Footing check in the arena.
Depending on where you are and at the regularity of arena maintenance, you may want to walk a lap or so to inspect for wet, hard, inconsistent spots. This lets you know what needs to be avoided, and your horse’s girth and saddle can settle in before you hop on. Manure in the ring should also be removed – this is the number one reason that arenas get dusty.
I really hope this goes without saying, but stalls should be cleaned daily. The more you can clean them in a day, the less ammonia you have to contend with, the fewer flies will be around, the more strong you will become, all good reasons.
Scoop paddocks and dry lots, too.
I’m also a huge fan of scooping paddocks and pastures daily. This is reasonable if you have a smaller set up for horse turnout, not so easy if you have a literal back 40. This helps with fly control, pasture maintenance, parasite and worm population reduction, and even water quality. Many romantic and beautiful creeks and water sources can get polluted with manure runoff.
If there’s poop, it needs to be scooped. Grass or otherwise.
It’s just easier and tidier to sweep every day. I prefer to use a broom over a blower, and spritzing the area with some water helps keep the dust lower and therefore more out of your face.
Weekly Barn Chores
- These barn chores can be done in one day, hopefully, or they can be spread out over the week. Your call.
Checking supplies and inventory
This is a chore that can become a regular on your calendar if you have a scheduled delivery day from your feed store. Or not. Check inventory on bedding, food and feeds, hay, supplement, cleanings supplies, and even grooming supplies. Autoship options on most online orders are a good option here to save some time and money.
Deeper cleaning of barn and horse items
I’m talking about blankets and fly gear, cobweb removal, deep cleaning of bins, buckets, troughs, grooming tools, brushes, emptying out the horse vacuum.
Inspect all the hinges and latches!
Check fencing and gate hinges
Most of this can be done day to day, but some properties have extensive fencing and unused gates that need to be checked on. Can you do this by trail riding around? Or taking a golf cart or tractor? Or hoofing it yourself?
Turning the compost pile
Your piles of poop will turn into garden goodness with regular turning, and once a week is a good place to start. If you use a three-bin system, it’s easy to dump one bin into the next one with your tractor scoop. For more on starting a compost system, check this out.
Monthly Barn and Horse Chores
Ciipping and trimming of your horse.
At the top of my priority list is the bridle path, to be sure your horse’s tack fits. You can also tidy up legs, tail tops, beard hairs, and any wayward hair that bugs you.
Do a regular weight check on your horse. Your eyes and fingertips aren’t accurate measuring tools – use a weight tape to keep tabs on things. Details on how to do that are here. Easy peasy.
Medication check and vet kit mucking out.
Nothing says “woefully unprepared” quite like an empty horse first aid kit or one that contains expired meds. Go through this monthly to organize and reorder. You may also need to consider moving some ingredients to fridges if your usual storage spot gets too hot or too cold.
Check expiration dates often, as well as storage temperatures.
Fire extinguisher checks.
Make sure these are charged! Replace as needed, and don’t forget the one in your horse trailer. More info on fire extinguishers here: https://blog.koorsen.com/how-can-i-tell-if-a-fire-extinguisher-needs-to-be-recharged
Check your horse trailer.
This includes inside, outside, the tire pressure, and even underneath. Not only are you looking for signs of wear and tear, the tires should be properly inflated, the emergency brake should be working, all electrical stuff needs to be a go.
Stripping your horse’s stall, maybe pulling mats, too.
Skip your daily gym routine and clean your horse’s stall, top to bottom. It’s not just about keeping things clean. Ammonia and excessive dust are big problems for your horse’s lungs. You can also check that mats are level. Yanking mats with vice grips is super easy if you need to do some leveling out.
Thorough paddock inspection with a magnetic sweeper.
On the seek and destroy list here, it’s broken fencing, holes, problematic weeds, and metal things. Pastures have a tendency to spit up random things. Using a giant magnetic sweeper will help you uncover lots of mystery metal pieces that pop up. More on pasture inspection here.
Is your rig ready to roll in an emergency?
Yearly barn chores
Honestly, this list is small, I hope, because everything has been handled throughout the year already. But there are a few things to think about.
Trailer service and inspection/registration
There are lots of trailer sales and service places that can do complete services and check-ups of your rig. Your trailer will also need new tires every 3-5 years, even if you don’t drive your rig. Registration requirements also vary by your state! Same goes for tractors and other farm equipment.
Call the pros!
Reduce the fire risk at your barn by having a legit electrician make sure your wiring won’t burn down the barn.
Do you have a calendar of chores?
Shop here for some things to help you do your chores! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are no additional cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support – it helps me keep this website going!
Every barn needs a thermometer!
And a stethoscope!
And a weight tape!
This is the delightful rolling magnet I spoke of. Absolutely priceless for the barn.
Blast away all traces of ammonia with this stuff.
My favorite tack soap.
My favorite leather conditioner.
Don’t ever touch a tick again.
Thank you, everyone!