It’s unavoidable: when you have horse stalls to contend with, they’re often dirty, messy, and less than a joy to clean and maintain. Many proud equestrians love their animals immensely, but not all of the associated upkeep. Who really does? It’s messy, and a total hassle most of the time. But it doesn’t have to be as big of a mess as you might imagine. Through the right steps, you can help maintain the health of your stock-and your sanity. It all comes back to making sure your facility is well constructed in the first place.

Let’s start from the ground up. Although hard-packed clay flooring is among the most commonly used in barns and stalls, it is also up there as the most high maintenance form of flooring. Investigate the possibility of installing an alternate form of flooring in your barn. Limestone dust is great, as it allows easy draining when you go to wash off the floors, but you need to make sure your floor is level before you install it. Because limestone is so hard, it can be rough on your animals, so making sure that there is an adequate amount of bedding present is equally important. You can also consider hardwood flooring, which is very low-maintenance. It’s costly, but pays for itself over time in ease of maintenance. Also consider rubber mats on the floor, which you can easily take out and wash off when necessary. Stall skin, which can be cut to fit the exact dimensions of your barn, is another great option to consider.

Consider the installation of a water system within the barn. This can save you the trouble of hauling heavy buckets back and forth regularly. An automatic system, when properly calibrated to your water meter, is a great investment because it will let you know exactly how much your animals consume in a day. This system can also eliminate your need to continuously clean the buckets, and save you money because it doesn’t waste an excessive amount of water. Make sure the pipes are somewhere they cannot be damaged by any errant bites or kicks.

Lastly, make sure that your horse stalls get the proper ventilation. Without it, unpleasant smells and ammonia can easily build up within the walls. Plus, if your animals are exposed to allergens for long periods of time, it will bear negative effects on their health in the long term. Find a way to make sure that air flows through the space. For instance, you can add windows that allow air to circulate throughout the barn, or install fans. When the weather permits, you can also open up the doors to let the breeze in.

The fact of the matter is simple: horses spend more time in horse stalls than they do in the ring or out in the pasture. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure their home is well taken care of. Through these easy steps, you can work to ensure a better life for your four-legged companions.

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