Even if you and your horses live in an area where the climate is balmy year ‘round, the changing of the season from fall to winter marks a good time to take care of important annual or semi-annual tasks. This includes cleaning out the dust of summer, changing lightbulbs, inspecting stall and gate latches and more. But many equestrians are located in a place that Jack Frost regularly visits between now and spring. For cold-weather folks, getting battened down for the winter takes on an extra urgency.
Dr. Bob Coleman, who managed horse operations in his native Manitoba, Canada, before becoming an associate extension professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal & Food Sciences, knows better than most that pre-winter preparation can make the season easier on both horses and humans. Coleman and his University of Kentucky colleague, assistant extension professor Morgan Hayes, say it’s important to plan in advance. That way, when the weather turns bitter and conditions might deteriorate, you’re already prepared.
Photo by Leslie Potter.
Read more in the US Equestrian Magazine Winter 2020 edition.
Tack trunk organizing may only happen once in a blue moon, but if you are going to take the time, you want to do it effectively. Follow these tips to give your trunk a thorough cleaning and re-vamp to save yourself unnecessary trouble down the road.
1. Begin by emptying your trunk out completely. Being at the barn and around horse shows, tack trunks can collect a large amount of dirt without you even realizing. Take everything out and thoroughly clean the base and walls of your trunk.
2. Weed out what you don’t need or use. If you don’t routinely clean out your trunk, odds are you have a few things that aren’t of use anymore. Ask yourself if you will use it in the next year and if not, donate or toss it. The same goes for older items – if something is too worn or too old to be effective, it’s probably time to let go.
3. Clean the items that are left. If your trunk is newly cleaned, you don’t want to toss dirt-covered items right back into it. Give everything a thorough cleaning before finding a place for it back in the trunk.
4. Prioritize your most used items. Not everything needs to be taking up space in your trunk. Set aside items you only use seasonally or a few times a year, such as fly sheets or winter gloves. Find a closet in your barn or house to store these items so they don’t spend the year gathering dust and dirt in your trunk. When the seasons change, or you find a need for a rarely used item, you can make the necessary swaps.
5. Organize for convenience. When putting your trunk back together, do yourself a favor down the road. While it may be tempting to play a game of Tetris to see how nicely things fit together, this may not be the most practical strategy. Make sure the items you use daily are the easiest to access. The last thing you want is to dig for your gloves and crop as you walk your impatient horse to the mounting block.
6. Use storage containers and dividers. Often trunks don’t have dividers built in, so head to Amazon or The Container Store to find some appropriately sized baskets, drawers, and boxes to fit certain items to prevent them from disappearing, especially the small ones. You can even save money by reusing containers from other sources, rather than buying them new. Trunks can get tossed around in transit to and from horse shows, so storage dividers will help keep things in place and make your organization efforts worthwhile.
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