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Pretend you have a brand new, small private barn...

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  • Pretend you have a brand new, small private barn...

    list/name the MUST haves you've USED and come to love!

    Basically, I mean ANYTHING, from bucket hooks, to feeders, to small acreage tractors/spreaders, lights, fans, water troughs, hoses, ANYTHING.

    I love the info on products from COTH folk who can really review its tried and true value!

    This is a little barn, so only personal use, here (For instance, I've already decided on a Newer spreader when I can afford one) but, I'll be choosing /buying everything needed for 'finalizing' it. The building is done, stalls and stall mats are in. The aisleway will be packed bluestone with mats. Run in is done, all fencing and gates are done.
    But truly EVERYTHING else...even the electric is not in yet, but I've read/followed all the threads / suggestions on putting electric in that I can.

    I'd love a thread where everything--no matter how small a detail item, or how large -- you've learned to be a MUST HAVE at/in your personal barn is shared!
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett

  • #2
    lights in the x-tie area
    lighted arena
    mats on all concrete areas where a horse will stand for more than 5 minutes (x-ties, wash racks, etc.)
    buckets with hooks for watering (I'm not a huge fan of auto-waterers)
    fans in all the stalls
    fans in the x-tie area
    plenty of storage space
    stalls where the horse can poke his head out (IMO, leads to much happier horses)
    good footing in riding ring(s)
    decent set of jumps
    and a million other things too! I can't wait to see what others say


    • #3
      I use my utility knife, scissors and pliers on a daily to weekly basis [cutting open hay bales, cutting electric tape fence, etc. etc.]. Buy a good tool kit for your barn and never let it leave! My utility knife lives on an unused cross-tie ring and must always be returned to that exact spot.

      I have a 3-drawer plastic cart from Target for my first aid supplies and it keeps them readily accessible but clean. I'd keep an extra pair of scissors in my first aid kit (plus bandage scissors) so your "working" pair doesn't get lost.

      When you buy tack racks and hooks, buy twice as many as you think you need because you will find needs for more.

      I use double ended snaps and various bucket hooks, etc. for a variety of things. Get a few handfuls of them from Tractor Supply and keep in a drawer. Always good in an emergency. "....if I only had some sort of *hook* or something I could fix this right now!..."

      Honestly, most of the things I've needed are basic. I haven't found many fancy tools that are really that fabulous. The key is to buy GOOD quality the first time -- manure forks, wheelbarrows, and especially hoses. Have fun!


      • #4
        i vote for a two wheeled wheelbarrow or cart like chocomare loffs. I bought mine at Sam's Club and you couldn't pry it from my cold dead hands.... NEVER go with one wheel again... it's just too easy to tip over the wrong way at the wrong time.
        If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


        • #5
          Good storage containers for your feed. I took a metal water trough and made it into a feed bin and just added a lid.

          We have one pony that loves to let everyone out at night. We know have snaps now for extra security.

          A good drag for your fields. We made one nine years and it still works like a charm.


          • #6
            Put electric outlets EVERYWHERE. Also, put water/pumps/buckets/hoses, everywhere. You can never have enough places to get water. Water heater in feed room. A god's send on cold days, for bathing, for making up warm mashes, just to wash hands. Tackroom/feed room, whatever size you THINK you need, add on at least 1/2 that more. Heated tack room/feed room with places to hang wet blankets. Make manure pile accessible in ALL weather conditions. What may look like a great place in the 'easy months' may be a pain in the neck in the harsher conditions. Also, don't make it more than 'one step' to muck stall then to manure pile. In other words, don't count on mucking a stall, then dumping the waste in the tractor and then take it to the pile. Murphy's law will dictate that the first time the tractor is full and can't take one more wheelbarrow load is when the tractor won't start. Then you'll get a chain reaction of 'this can't get done, til that gets done'. That happened at a barn I worked at and now that I have my own barn, I worked out the kinks and made sure that if the mechanical stuff breaks, my barn will still function. Good luck. It's very exciting to get it all up and running. Believe me, even now, I'm still tweaking my barn to make it more efficient.
            R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
            36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever


            • #7
              I love the corner feed buckets that we bought for out barn. They just seem easier for the horse to eat out of since they have more room for their nose. Plus, no more BANG! BANG! BANG BANG! from the enthusiastic eaters

              If you secure them with eye hooks through the screw holes it makes it really easy to take them out for cleaning.


              • #8
                I LOFF my plastic (not metal) cart that I pull with a lawn tractor. Its about the depth of a hay bale. I use it to haul hay out, clean run-ins, put my sprayer in during weed season, haul things between the house and barn etc. I clean stalls hook it to the tractor and take it to the compost area away from the barn.

                Definitely buy more bridle/halter hooks than you think you need. I also mounted some with extra halters at the house after I had an escape and my halters were the opposite direction than the horses.

                I love having a microwave and small fridge in the tack room

                Almost forgot - heated buckets!!!
                Epona Farm
                Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

                Join us on Facebook


                • #9
                  Fire extinguishers at the end of all barns and in the middle of longer barns/sheds - and in any lofts or storage areas esp for bulk bedding - dumps of sawdust/shavings.
                  Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Catersun View Post
                    i vote for a two wheeled wheelbarrow or cart like chocomare loffs. I bought mine at Sam's Club and you couldn't pry it from my cold dead hands.... NEVER go with one wheel again... it's just too easy to tip over the wrong way at the wrong time.
                    I have the opposite opinion. I have 29 stalls to clean, and I tried the 2-wheelbarrows. I found them to be hard to maneuver, and really torqued my back fighting with it. I have a Jackson 1 wheel that I have had for about 25 years, and just love it.

                    I use Ames poly forks (Featherlite) without the angle brace. They are hard to find, but the ones with the cross piece where the fork angles always feel like they are matted with hay to me. They cost twice as much, but last 4 times as long as the popular cheap fork.

                    I love the wall mounted water bucket holders. No need for double end snaps that break, and they are fixed in place, so easy to unhook full buckets.

                    If you can, buy a tractor with a bucket on it. It will be your best friend.


                    • #11
                      I am borderline fanatical about cleaning any buckets and feed bins so they need to be able to come out on a daily basis. When I worked at the farm the BO changed the corner feeders to ones that could be removed just so that I could clean them.

                      Fire extinguishes everywhere you think you might need then, and then 2 or 3 more!

                      Have a designated place for scissors, utility knives, and anything else sharp.

                      A large feed room with a large counter space, sink, hot water, a kettle, microwave, and a small fridge. And either a drawer under the counter or a closed container on top for spoons and measuring equipment. This is also a good room for a phone if you are putting one in. This is also where you should have a list of all your emergency numbers.

                      Double the bridle and saddle racks that you think you need.

                      Plan your blanket drying area that it is well ventilated. Nothing worse than blankets that won't dry because there is no air circulation.


                      GOOD SAFE Crossties! (This should go without saying, but....)

                      A white board of chalk board to leave yourself notes and reminders.

                      Always have on hand (by the main door) wire cutters, a twitch, a fire extinguisher, and a good pair of scissors.
                      Riding the winds of change

                      Heeling NRG Aussies
                      Like us on facebook!


                      • #12
                        Wow, this could be a long list. When our barn was about two weeks away from being done, we drove up to Delaware for the big Dover tent sale to buy everything. If I remember correctly, my list of essentials looked something like this...

                        3 buckets hooks/stall (feed, water & 1 extra for special stuff)
                        1 ring hook /stall (for hay bag hanging)
                        1 corner feed bucket/stall
                        2 regular buckets/stall (extras are great to have, for trailering, chores, etc.)
                        1 heated bucket/stall (though I've since switched to insulated)
                        1 blanket bar/stall
                        1 halter hanging hook/stall
                        2 sets of cross ties
                        20 eye hooks
                        20 double snaps
                        3 feed scoops
                        2 liquid supplement pumps
                        3 garbage cans (for open feed storage)
                        6 english saddle racks (to hang on wall)
                        3 floor saddle racks
                        1 bridle rack (6)
                        1 mounting block
                        2 mucking forks
                        1 metal pitch fork
                        1 broom
                        1 long handled scrub brush
                        1 wheel barrow (splurge on the rubbermaid one, it's worth it!)
                        4 bale twine cutters (you'll lose them all the time)
                        2 new hoses
                        duct tape
                        set of basic tools to leave at barn
                        horse snacks
                        "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                        <>< I.I.


                        • Original Poster

                          Is this not the best place on earth for this kind of knowledge?
                          Thank you all....I LOFF reading of your intense belief in items that have made a difference that you can't live without!
                          It IS fun, but scarey to begin from nothing....so what you share and endorse is really beneficial to me---as I hope for many!

                          Remember to share even the minute item you might not have thought of! I'm looking into : lighting, water troughs, fans, stall feeders, cross ties, hardware, hoses, hay feeders, etc, etc, etc!!!

                          You're all the best. thats why I'm here!
                          "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                          --Jimmy Buffett


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                            I have the opposite opinion. I have 29 stalls to clean, and I tried the 2-wheelbarrows. I found them to be hard to maneuver, and really torqued my back fighting with it. I have a Jackson 1 wheel that I have had for about 25 years, and just love it.

                            I use Ames poly forks (Featherlite) without the angle brace. They are hard to find, but the ones with the cross piece where the fork angles always feel like they are matted with hay to me. They cost twice as much, but last 4 times as long as the popular cheap fork.

                            I love the wall mounted water bucket holders. No need for double end snaps that break, and they are fixed in place, so easy to unhook full buckets.

                            If you can, buy a tractor with a bucket on it. It will be your best friend.

                            small private barn ;-) I used to muck out 20 stalls... currently only have three... at most will only have four. BIG difference! Mine manuevers really easily with one hand because even when my shoulder is a problem I still have to clean up after ponies. Can't budge a one wheel with one hand.
                            If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


                            • #15
                              My new favorite item is the blocker tie ring. Horses can pull back without panicking. My farrier loves them for cross ties.

                              If you are in an area that freezes, you want the water buckets to be on hooks that are snap free. No fun like taking your gloves off when it is 0 degrees to thaw the snap.

                              Hose reels that can be detached from the water supply and wheeled to a heated indoor area are also wonderful. My barn is so small that I have a 25' Sears black hose that I disconnect and drain every time I use it in winter. I use the quick connect fittings. So long as you undo it right away, they do not freeze.


                              • #16
                                i would also suggest a hay hook.... for the day before your best friends wedding that you get yoru nails done and have to move hay for the ponies.... cause well... if you arne't used to fake nails, trying to move a bale of hay with them is kinda painful if you forget you have them. A hay hook makes things a tad more pleasant.
                                If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


                                • #17
                                  Buy a multi drawer plastic organizer to keep snaps, bolts, etc. in. You will always be able to see them, they will stay clean and organized.

                                  Electric outlets everywhere - you can never have too many. Lots of good lighting!


                                  • #18
                                    How 'bout some "smart" features in the barn's electrical, so that you can turn on/off the barn lights from your living room? Also, as others have said, hot water in the barn, for making warm mashes as well as warmer baths. Also, a chalkboard or write on/wipe off board where you can leave notes (if you went out on a trail ride when you'll be back and where you went, or if the vet is dropping by, or if someone else is feeding for you one night and you want to leave additional instructions, etc.) Also, somewhere in your house or barn maybe you might want someplace to store documents like vaccine records, etc.


                                    • #19
                                      Buckets of many sizes
                                      From muck bucket size down to the 2 gallon size -
                                      Spray bottles - I keep one with a diluted chlorine solution for scrubbing out buckets
                                      waterproof industrial rubber gloves
                                      box of rags (like you get at an automotive shop)
                                      Baby wipes
                                      hanging shoe 'pocket' organizer - useful for so many things
                                      lights outside the barn -
                                      add twice as many lights as you think you'll need inside the barn
                                      Construction grade flashlights at each door
                                      pair of coveralls kept inside the barn
                                      Bridal Sweet 05/28/1983 to 01/23/2008


                                      • #20
                                        As the last barn I worked at had a terrible set up for the farrier (and I felt awful and would buy him a coffee every visit to make up for it)... ask your farrier's opinion about the best work space. Asking the vet would be nice too, and you can always incorporate the two into one space.

                                        Here's my farrier's wish list:
                                        ~Out of the way of the main aisle (so that horses and people don't need to wait, interrupt his work, or squeeze past)
                                        ~EVEN EVEN EVEN EVEN EVEN (the barn's floor was 'hilly'... poor guy)
                                        ~Well lit... from above, but not directly over the horse. Put the lights above and to the side, so that the horse isn't casting a shadow on the work. Put more lights than you think you'll need. Winter can be dark and dreary!
                                        ~Radiant heat (we both came up with this one on a -10 degree winter morning)
                                        ~Lots of power outlets. LOTS!
                                        ~Close to the end of the barn, where he can park his truck, so he doesn't have to carry equipment a long distance
                                        ~Roomy enough to correct the horse's behavior if needed, to change the horse's position, to turn the horse around, and to provide plenty of space to escape if needed
                                        ~A counter along one wall (as you won't be able to resist storing things in this area, and this will at least keep them neat). I would have loved this when we were dealing with hoof xrays on a laptop screen... my computer did not like being set on a hay bale and having to deal with hay dust. Plus, you can put the coffee here! Remember, a counter will decrease available space.
                                        ~A spot for a fan in the summer, that will not block escape routes

                                        And my favorite piece of equipment.... a leaf blower! It worked wonders blowing out the aisle. I would have to take care not to blow it behind equipment or into corners, but it was much faster than sweeping and the barn looked amazing afterwards!