4 Barn Chores I’m Not Looking Forward to This Winter

 In Blog, Confessions of a Horse Owner, Equine Confessions, Keeping Horses at Home

Some of my favorite barn chores turn into dreaded tasks when winter weather arrives.

I almost anticipate everything with excitement—a power abs yoga class? I can’t wait to feel the burn! Court for a traffic ticket? Yay, time for the best people watching experience ever! And while rainy days weirdly make me feel happy, as soon as I step foot at the barn I am no longer grinning– okay well maybe just a little, how can you not smile when your horses whinny a generous greeting?! But then I see mud and brown soupy puddles, and suddenly I’m not feeling so jolly.

We had our first rain here in Southern California a few weeks back, although it was light with minimal muddy mess, I was instantly slapped in the face with all I took for granted this summer. Can you believe I complained about it being  too hot?!  Perhaps because I wasn’t faced with mucking out a muddy stall, my boots quickly sinking into a mysterious mixture of urine, shavings, and wet dirt…

4 Winter Barn Chores I Dread

1. Heavy Poop Buckets

At my barn we use a poop bucket system, I fill up a bucket that sits on a set of wheels, then roll it over to the large dumpster we have, pick it up, and heave it over the edge. Then, every Thursday, the trash truck comes and does away with pounds of poop. In the summer time, the poo dries out quickly, making for light buckets I can easily fling up and over into the dumpster. But in the wintertime I’ve got to put some step into it, suddenly the poop—full of moisture—is 10x heavier!! Also, as I toss the manure into the bucket, I HATE when it splashes up on the sides, because then when I go to toss the bucket in the dumpster I have to put my fingers in the nasty icky.

2. Muddy Stalls

Every winter I dream of the day my horses will have a real barn fully covered from the storm, but for the foreseeable future they are stuck out in the elements. They each have a large overhang to keep them dry, but a portion of their stall is uncovered and free to fill up with water. Thank goodness for my trusty rain boots because a basic pair of tennis shoes would never hold up.

3. Fur Coats

I realize I could prevent this upcoming rant by simply clipping my horses but since I don’t show these days I let them get all furry. They get so dirty though!! Every speck of dust seems to cling to their hair and if they happen to roll in a dirty spot, wow it stinks trying it get it off—literally! Plus, with it being cold outside, a cold hose seems awfully abrasive to use. To make myself feel better, I remind myself of things like in the wild horses will stand up to their chest in water even if it’s cold outside.

Quick Tip: Always keep baby wipes at the barn!

4. Rained Out Rides

It already happened to me today, the winds were too bad to ride, and I thought—oh no, it’s started again! In the summer you can ride every day you want, even if the sun isn’t shinning the arena is dry, but in the winter, entire weeks are lost to muddy arenas and relentless rain.  Perhaps nailing my flying lead changes on Stanley will have to wait until more ‘stable’ weather arrives…


What do you dread about winters at your barn? 

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