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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2007
    Posts
    2,274

    Default which chores to skip or minimize?

    Ok...the "Why do people do this?" thread has been interesting to read. Within it, many have mentioned that horsekeeping at home simply has an endless list of needs, and therefore many have to be 'let go' more often than not.
    While I board right now, I'm setting up a small farmette (small!) at the same time for the future. I'd love to get a thread going here, of suggestions of 'been there done that' home horse keepers of how to minimize chores !

    For instance..one thing I'm wondering as we plan out the fencing...what do most people do for under the fenceline weed control? Weed wack? Round up? Combination? I can see where this will be a BIG time involvement if the property, like this one is 'road frontage' and needs to be neat and maintained.

    Would love to hear everyone's different "I've adapted to this time cutting idea" input!
    ayrabz
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    829

    Default

    The most important decision I made in regards to horsekeeping when I designed my barn was to let my guys have 24/7 access to their stalls. In general, my guys choose to be out most of the time, pee almost exclusively outside (even though their stalls are bedded) and use one corner of the paddock to leave manure. I spend 15 minutes a day "cleaning stalls" = picking the paddock and neatening up the stalls. And I use 3 bags of bedding a MONTH with two full sized beasts. I used to stall my horses FOR YEARS, but a variety of factors contributed to my change and it is for the better all around. If you can do it, you may love it!

    Also, get a hose!

    And mat or put down a hard surface in as many places as possible... makes cleaning aisles and stalls a cinch.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2005
    Location
    Just east of Short Hill Mtn.
    Posts
    2,696

    Default

    It takes time and money to keep the fenceline either sprayed or weed whacked. I have 10 acres and my hubby travels alot and is deathly allergic to poison ivy, so this is one of those things I've "let go." I mow all the edges (inside and out) of my pastures with my little finishing mower to keep it the neatest I can, then pay someone to come and weed whack about once a month (or so).

    I know some folks will disagree, but switching to pelleted bedding literally cut my mucking time in half. Mucking is the one thing I never skip. When I go down in the PM (they're on summer turnout now), I drop feed and then start mucking while they're eating. I can usually 3 of the stalls done before they're finished (I have five horses). If that's all the time I have, I'll do the remaining stalls when I pull them in in the morning, and if I'm rushing then -- I'll do them after I pull them in, while they're eating. Don't lock yourself into an absolute schedule. Sometimes things can get done late, or the next day.

    I only do their stall buckets every 3-4 days. They're insulated, so don't build up algea as fast as the normal buckets. When I don't have time to scrub and clean, I just dump them and let them dry out overnight while the horses are out. As long as they're not really mucky, that's enough.

    Use a tiny bit of bleach in their troughs. It will cut down on cleaning needs.

    A leafblower will clean your aisles and push out the cobwebs really quick. Ditch the broom!

    IN the spring spray all your stone areas with an uber ground herbicide (the kind that works for a year and you have to sign something to get!). It will save you from weeding and mowing your gravel all summer. Do the same on any edges you know you'll be neurotic about (around the base of the barn, at your entrance, etc.).

    The grass does NOT need to be cut every seven days like clockwork around your property. Everything does not need to be perfect. It's a horse farm.

    That's all I can think of right now!
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
    <>< I.I.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
    Location
    Cullowhere?, NC
    Posts
    8,635

    Default

    In addition to the in-and-out priviliges thing, if you have a spare space you can bed for "horse sleeping" that will help with saving bedding. Mine have designated one stall for pooping, one for peeing, and each have a "sleeping" spot, which stays clean. Mine is actually at the end of the barn aisle, they much prefer that to lying down in one of the stalls.

    Unless you have small critters (goats, etc.), just leave the bottom strand of fencing un-electrified and let the grass grow up to that. I spray twice each summer, and one afternoon each late summer, I walk the fenceline and cut any branches that are overhanging. Spraying a "brown-belt" around the outside of the pasture minimizes "rubbernecking" as well--less stress on the fence itself, but I only need to do it twice each summer. If your fencelines are not too steep, just put on the backpack sprayer, get on the mower and go.
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,465

    Default

    We had a guy from one of the big TB farms work at the barn for a while, and he had some tricks to make his work more efficient plus keep the place cleaner. He would sprinkle the barn aisle and pushbroom it real quick, then leafblow the moist crumbs that the pushbroom made out of the dust, which kept all the hanging blankets and high surfaces (and cobwebs) from getting covered with dust from the floor. He'd also collect up all the debris fom here and there and make one pile as he was working, then when he moved up the aisle he'd scoop up the pile and make the trip to the trash. The place looked great till all the clients made a mess again. I used to pick feet and groom in the stall so as not to leave dirt all over the floor and that is how it is done at the new barn.
    That landscape fabric is great stuff if you want to keep edges neat, we experimented with stones (lots of them here) under the fence, but the grass grows between the stones, which really tear up your weedwacker string so I don't recommend them. Currently we are trying lasagna mulching with newspaper for the flowerbeds and I'll be experimenting with that and the fabric around edges. If you can set up a fixed hose system for your buckets it saves a lot of walking and carting buckets and dragging hoses, we have that for the bunnies in summertime, keep it charged off a five gallon bucket. Certainly having well placed hydrants is a great time saver but that costs to have them put in. I could think of more in a bit.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    I agree that planning to minimize the mundane stuff is really helpful. I can turn my horses out, feed them, clean stalls and do all the basic daily chores without even touching a horse. Their stalls open to the sacrifice paddock, one gate connects that with the small pasture, and they live outside, mostly, with access to stalls if they want. I feed hay outside--keeps the stalls cleaner--and grain once a day to save time since none of mine get very much. An automatic waterer is something I would NEVER want to be without. Ever.

    So IF NECESSARY I can do basic feeding and barn chores in well under 30 minutes a day. I like to spend more time, of course, but if I can't, the basics are done and I can save the bigger jobs for weekends/days off.

    Mowing, weed-whacking and sweeping the aisle are PITA jobs, bit IMO the place looks simply fantastic when all of those things are done, so I try to keep up with that. Good thing my hubby enjoys weed-whacking, 'cause I LOATHE that job. I did turn off the electric to the bottom strand of my sacrifice paddock fence; that way the horses keep those areas "mown down" by nibbling cautiously under the fence.
    Click here before you buy.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2002
    Location
    Zone 6
    Posts
    1,890

    Default

    One thing I've found that works for me is stockpiling some sawdust in one corner of each stall. I mean the stalls are done and then I'll add a wheelbarrow full in one corner. The horses don't mess with the pile usually and I won't have to add more sawdust for a few days.

    I've found that if you bank it deeply all the way around they end up pulling it all out, so the corner pile works much better.
    Oh my god - she's gone and got the eventing bug! I will send you some antibiotics! Take the entire bottle and do two hunter shows and it will pass!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    829

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky Boy View Post
    One thing I've found that works for me is stockpiling some sawdust in one corner of each stall. I mean the stalls are done and then I'll add a wheelbarrow full in one corner. The horses don't mess with the pile usually and I won't have to add more sawdust for a few days.

    I've found that if you bank it deeply all the way around they end up pulling it all out, so the corner pile works much better.
    I do the same thing in my stalls!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Location
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World
    Posts
    6,190

    Default

    For the fenceline weed thing. I use the wet bedding from the stalls, put it under the fenceline as mulch. This might not be a good idea in a wet climate, but here in Florida, it dries out in no time, and keeps the weeds down.

    You can see the "mulch" in this photo:

    http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL214.../305923850.jpg

    So, the manure goes in the spreader, the wet shaving go into the wheelbarrow when I clean.

    I do spray it a few times a year, or hand pull the few weeds that do grow. I have a hand pull-along sprayer by Gilmore, that pressurizes as I walk, so no pumping, or carrying a heavy sprayer. Works great.

    I also multi-task every day, I have a long nozzle on the hose, which I can put in each water bucket in the stalls, and as it is filling, I can be picking any manure out of the stall at the same time - just standing there watching a bucket fill with water really annoys me at the wasted time (15 minutes for 6 buckets - I timed it once).

    I fly spray the horses while they are eating, they stand still for it, I get it done, and I'm not standing around waiting for them to finish eating.

    Newer Spreader, best invention ever.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    Bonsall, CA- with my horses finally home again!
    Posts
    2,165

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    For the fenceline weed thing. I use the wet bedding from the stalls, put it under the fenceline as mulch. This might not be a good idea in a wet climate, but here in Florida, it dries out in no time, and keeps the weeds down.
    I used to do the same thing with grass-clippings. But after one summer I stopped messing around and went for chemical warfare. Not Round-up, which I still used in the gardens, but the full-on "kill it for a year" stuff. I am blanking on the name of it but it's guaranteed that nothing will grow for a year. It's simply the most wonderful stuff. I absolutely hate weed-wacking and it takes forever, so use that stuff under your fencelines and you won't have to weed-wack them and the "dead zone" will be wide enough that you can mow to the edge with your tractor. Easy peasy. YOu'll still have to weedwack around trees and gardens and anything else that you don't want to actually kill though, because that year-long stuff kills EVERYTHING. In fact one year I used it on our brick walkway to keep the moss and grass out of it (and it worked just fine for that) but it ALSO had an effect on a black walnut tree next to the walkway in that that year the tree produced no walnuts (which I was quite happy about because another fall chore I HATED was picking up the effing walnuts from all over the walkway and gardens! But hubby yelled at me for nuking the walkway with that stuff so sadly I had to go back to spot Round-up-ing the weeds on the walkway )

    Anyway, long story short (too late!)- chemical warfare is the way to go (ducking and running from environmentalists... )
    ~Living the life I imagined~



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    9,578

    Default

    Another vote for free access to stalls & pasture.
    Lots less stall cleaning, less bedding used and healthier horses.
    My 27yo TB is better off for being able to move as he pleases or come in for a nap.
    Most nights they share a stall or separate to lie down for a bit.

    My "weedwhacker" for the fenceline is my TWH - he keeps a 2' wide path "mowed" all around the pastures. I know it's him as he always has RF knee dirty from kneeling. This year he has the TB doing the same Limbo.

    I arranged my farm so the barn is surrounded by the sacrifice area which, in turn, has gates leading to a pasture on either side. I can close off access to any or all with a single gate.

    This also makes my horsesitters' job easier - horses come in on their own for feeding - each to a stall. No leading in, leading out, it's all hands-off for the feeder.

    Heated buckets for the stalls are a lifesaver in Winter.
    Space for a week's worth of hay inside the barn makes your workload easier.

    My property fronts the road too and I used spoils from a gravel drive to form a berm in front of the barn.
    Planted with perennials alongside the natural weedage it almost looks intentionally landscaped.
    In the Fall I dump stall-cleanings directly onto the berm (after everything has died back) and by Spring it has composted.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2000
    Location
    SW PA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default

    Fencelines sprayed with weed killer 2x/yr, usually
    Fields bushhogged 2x/yr
    Paddocks cleaned weekly if needed
    Ponies out 24/7 with mats in stalls, no bedding needed (mine poop and pee outside this way)
    Lawn around house done 1x/wk
    Shavings from main barn reused as mulch
    House not dusted as often as it should be
    Proud to have two Gold Prince POAs!
    Takaupas Top Gold
    Gifts Black Gold Knight



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2007
    Posts
    2,274

    Default

    Can't tell you all how much I rely on and learn from COTH. THANKS so much for all the shared knowledge!!! Love!! knowing what works.
    In re: allowing access to stalls....the way this will be set up, while I cannot do that, they will have a sacrifice area that will have access to a 24x 12 'run in' that will be attached to the small two stall barn. so, they'll be able to have 'access' to that area, and down the line I plan to have stall mats in there and shavings for that '24/7' turnout when able. I will still have to open the dutch doors into the 'aisle' to let them in or out of their actual 'stalls' inside the barn, whenever I want to truly stall them.
    I also plan to put a water source in there (with plug and drain to the outside of the shed) so that I can in winter freeze times have ability for a water heater if need be.
    So far, have budgeted for the stall mats...but the "aisleway" ( only a 20 x 12 area infront of the two stalls) I am thinking I'm going to use some paver bricks that are already available for use. I know, not the 'ideal' aisleway, but I do have the material, so I think I'll use that and then position mats or a rubber 'runner' for the standing/grooming/farrier time.
    I admit, I'm getting very excited....this has been 'in the planning' for about 6 years !!!! Finally jumping off and getting it started!!! First priority was fencing, and its going to be Ramm, black, three 'rail' and two electrified coated wires all around.
    Soooo much to think about, and worry about getting 'wrong'!

    thanks guys...
    ayrabz
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2006
    Posts
    296

    Default

    Exciting times for you!!! We just finshed this process - 4 months ago ponies moved home!! Like you the planning (gathering funds) stage took many years and I'm so glad it did. Every detail was thought out, discussed,a nd waited on until DH came around to my ideas . He knows the building stuff - I know the horse stuff, and we both wanted safe, effective, and easy to work with results. I now have my dream barn in my backyard!!

    We have a dry lot with stone dust (no mud) as a barnyard that the stalls open too. From barnyard gates open to pastures - so far three pastures to rotate and gates decide which are open today. No one needs to be handled for turnout and although there is a run in in the biggest pasture the stalls are open for them to come and go.

    I only have two - so my suggestion is go for the small water trough in the pasture. DH bought mine and when I saw it I thought nice gesture, but thats small (50 gal). Not wanting to hurt his feeling on his independent purchase I used it and realized it was the best idea. I clean it out and refill twice a week without the hassel of mud puddles from dumping alot of water.

    Good luck with your plans!!!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2005
    Location
    Just east of Short Hill Mtn.
    Posts
    2,696

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
    I used to do the same thing with grass-clippings. But after one summer I stopped messing around and went for chemical warfare. Not Round-up, which I still used in the gardens, but the full-on "kill it for a year" stuff.
    (Waving madly at hey101! How you been? )

    We do the same thing here. I just can't handle all the weed whacking and weeding and hubby can't help because of his poison ivy allergy (three times to the ER last year). Yesterday I bought the 25 gallon sprayer on a cart with a pump from Tractor Supply. I'm very, very excited to try it out this weekend. I called my hubby and asked what kind of woman am I? I can't wait to leave work to play with my new "toy." Normal women aren't like this. He said he thinks it's sexy. And that's why I love him so much.
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
    <>< I.I.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2008
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
    Posts
    3,142

    Default

    Here are my priority:

    1. Anything relating to horses health and well beings (feed, hay, water, vets, shoes, dental). These I will not compromise.

    2. Anything relating to my horsemanship and ridings (lessons, regular riding, clinics, shows). These I will not compromise.

    3. Then anything else (manicure lawn/pasture, spotless barn/stalls) go way down the list. If I get the time and energy to do it, I do; otherwise, well, life goes on.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    10,619

    Default

    I cheat. I pay someone to come in and spray for me.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    829

    Default

    Just a thought... if you use the paver bricks just put a mat or two where your cross ties will be so you have a little grooming area that is easier on the legs and less slippery.

    We brought my guys home six months ago (time flies) after two years of planning and scarping money together. I can't even believe we did it! We built it ourselves and I don't think there was anything I would change. Your overhang will be perfect and the sacrafice area is the way to go. You will find it if you pick it daily, it DRAMATICALLY decreases mud drying time and flies.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,869

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
    Here are my priority:

    1. Anything relating to horses health and well beings (feed, hay, water, vets, shoes, dental). These I will not compromise.

    2. Anything relating to my horsemanship and ridings (lessons, regular riding, clinics, shows). These I will not compromise.

    3. Then anything else (manicure lawn/pasture, spotless barn/stalls) go way down the list. If I get the time and energy to do it, I do; otherwise, well, life goes on.
    Love it

    I'm the same way. I was terrified of hearing stories from others, before we moved to The Farm, that they never had time to ride after bring the horses home. I vowed that riding would be at the top of the list. I set things up to make life easier so that I DID have the time to enjoy riding without too much sacrifice to the land.

    You can do the in/out stall thing, but if you find the horses just go into the stalls to poop, they might as well have been locked up there, only you'll tend to have neater piles. You might think about locking them out at that point as long as they have alternative shelter - even treelines can work very well.

    I do have a hubby who takes care of the regular mowing, and this usually includes the fenceline. I do the pasture mowing. But, the riding mower, which he uses, does a great job of cutting under the fenceline directly. The "uglies" that are left are right around the fenceposts, but he goes after that 1-2 times a year and it's all good.

    *I* just think a weed-killed fenceline is unattractive, worse than having the "uglies" at the fence posts. But, others love it, so to each their own From a distance it looks great; I just don't like the up-close look. If you decided to weed-kill, just be sure you understand how the ground slopes. A inopportune rain with the right chemical can leach the chemical downhill and kill stuff you didn't want dead.

    For keeping the barn aisle a little neater a little longer - pick feet out directly into a bucket, and dump the bucket into a wheelbarrow that is set aside for this and the poop-scooping that is just here and there. I dump mine when it's full - I just don't have a fly problem with it sitting in the barn getting more and more full.

    My barn is enclosed within the fence perimeters, and I can close off the barn area itself if I want. This means that in most conditions, I don't have to spend time leading horses in and out for feeding - they come to the barn when I call, and when they're done, I open the doors to let them back out. That saves a good bit of time, which I never truly appreciate until I do, for reasons of immense wetness (ie part of the Winter) lock them out of the barn area and have to lead them. Hate that.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



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