As the weather begins to turn and the days get shorter now is the time to take a look at your tack room and put some measures in place to get it winter ready. By creating a more efficient tack room you will save yourself time, minimise stress and generally make life much easier. Especially on those dark mornings and evenings when it freezing cold and raining.
The first thing to do is have a big clear out and get rid of anything you don’t need. Now if you haven’t got a spare half a day to do this its no problem. Simply segregate your tack room into different areas and do one at a time. For example spend an hour decluttering your shelves, then next time go through the rug box etc its amazing what you can achieve in a short amount of time. Put an alarm on your phone, give yourself an hour and go for it. In a few days it will all be done.
Get rid of anything you no longer need/want. Any equipment in good working order can be sold on or given to a charity, other items such as rugs etc that are not usable can still be re purposed. For example cut off straps and keep as spares, cut the fabric into squares for future repairs etc.
Once the are has been decluttered separate out the things you only use in the summer, for example fly rugs, masks, fly spray. These items can be stored in an out of the way place on the top shelf or at the bottom of the storage box, somewhere they won’t be in the way everyday.
Next get all the items you will be using regularly through winter – turnout rugs, stable rugs, hoods, mud fever boots/creams, overreach boots, bibs, stable wraps/bandages, saddle covers, rain sheets, walker rugs, coats, wellies and Hi Viz equipment
Check all of the items and make sure they are ready to go and not damaged. It is also good to check that rugs are still waterproof – do this by pouring a small amount of water over them, the water should bead and sit on top of the rug. If the water is absorbed into the rug, then it is not waterproof and needs reproofing. Remember to check straps and binding too.
Decide where you will drying rugs and make sure that area is clear and ready for use. Ideas on how to dry rugs can be found here. Put stable rugs in the appropriate place in or around the stable, and also remember to put out any wraps or bandages.
Put saddle covers onto saddles and place rain sheets in an easy to grab location. Make sure your wellies are good to go and again put them in an easy to reach location.
Remember to give your grooming kit a clean out and make sure you have good brushes for mud removal, now is also a good time to check the vet kit and make sure its all up to date and fully stocked. You can find more information on what to include in your vet kit here. Move any medication that cannot get cold to a warm place. Update feeding charts if you are changing or increasing feed/hay.
If you have any tack you are not going to be using over the winter be sure to store it away properly and check it regularly for damp and mould. The next blog will give you more ideas for storing tack over the winter.
If you are getting ready to clip make sure your blades are sharp and your clippers are working. Also get any mud fever treatment creams etc to the front of a shelf at eye height, or add to your grooming box/bag so they are easy to access on a daily basis.
Make sure you have spare light bulbs for the tack room and a working torch in a handy place if the tack room lights do need changing in the dark. A head torch is a very good investment.
Finally check all your contact details are up to date and make sure you book in any Christmas grooms cover that is needed, and get hay and bedding deliverers and muck heap removal all booked in.
If you have any hints or tips of your own please share them with us.