By Chelsey Burris
As we get ready to start a new year, it’s a good time to “clean house” around your stable. By taking a little time to decide what you truly want to bring into the new year with you, and clearing out the clutter, you can get a jump start on those New Year resolutions. Here are five things we suggest getting rid of as we ring in 2021:
Tack for Horses You No Longer Have
Remember when you had that chestnut filly, and you bought that saddle pad that matched her coat so perfectly? If you sold that filly two years ago, and the saddle pad clashes with your current horse, it may be time to think about finding it a new home. Consider donating tack and equipment that is just collecting cobwebs to local horse rescues in your area. They will be able to put it to much better use than you, and tis the season for giving!
Expired Supplements or Medications
Supplements, medications, and other equine health products can be expensive, so it’s understandable that you don’t want to throw them out if they are still good. However, if it expired a year or two ago, it’s not a good idea to keep it around the barn. In some cases, the expiration date may just mean the item is less potent, but in other cases, it could mean an ingredient inside it has gone bad and could be dangerous for your horse. The start of a new year is a good time to check expiration dates and pitch anything that is past its prime.
Hazardous Things You’ve Become Accustomed To
Most regions have fewer shows in the winter, so with your added downtime, it’s a good opportunity to evaluate your barn for safety hazards that you were perhaps too busy to notice in the summer. That overloaded power strip next to the hay stack is just asking for trouble. The same goes for electric cords that have been taped and re-taped over and over again. Check aisle ways for anything a horse could trip on or cut himself on. Horses seem to have the tendency to hurt themselves on just about anything, so try to remove any hazards lurking inside your stable, or around their paddocks, to save your horse the pain and you the vet bill. And don’t forget to pop some new batteries in all smoke detectors.
Helmets That Have Already Done Their Job
Wow, that new helmet you bought really saved you when your new horse went up and over this summer at his first show, and you landed right on your head. But did you know that after a fall, the helmet that protected you is most likely compromised and will need to be replaced? Most modern helmets contain a layer of foam to absorb the shock when it hits the ground. This layer doesn’t recover after the impact, so if the helmet has done its job of protecting you through one spill, it’s time to replace it with a new one to ensure you are riding safely.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that life is short and nothing is ever guaranteed. Many equestrians have found horses to be the main thing keeping them sane during these trying times. So, if you find that every time you go to the stable your barn mates create a toxic environment or bring you down, it may be time to consider moving to a new facility. The internet has made searching for a new barn easier than ever, and many horse communities even have their own Facebook pages where you can ask questions and get guidance without leaving your house. Life is short, don’t let negativity ruin your time with your horse!