12 Tips to make any barn safer

 

12 Tips to make any barn safer

Horses are a risky business. An average horse weighs around 1200 lbs. and it is no secret that horses are incredibly unpredictable by nature, making them a walking hazard. Horses are not only dangerous to their human riders/handlers, but they are also talented at finding the strangest ways to harm themselves.

Although accidents will always happen, there are numerous measures you can put in place to ensure that your barn is as safe as possible. Do not let yourself or your horses be victim to a preventable accident. It will take a minimal amount of money, time and effort to implement these helpful safety protocols at your barn:

1) Make helmets mandatory for riding horses. There is never a good enough excuse for riding a horse without a helmet but unfortunately, some people still think they are above riding with helmets. We need to protect these people because, obviously, they are already lacking important brain cells. Make it a rule that everyone has to wear a helmet whenever their butt is on a horse.

2) Only lead one horse at a time. Okay, this is not always the most convenient way to turn horses in and out but the only time I have witnessed experienced horse handlers lose horses or get injured while leading horses is when they had multiples. The extra exercise of walking back and forth to turn horses in/out one at a time will not kill anyone but leading a herd of horses at once might.

3) Invest in a human first aid kit. Every barn should have a human first aid kit on hand. We are not all so destitute that when riders get hurt we have to vet wrap them together until the paramedics arrive. Check out this list of what your first aid kit should have in it and make sure your barn has one. To make it easy for you to buy one, we gathered a few here at different price points. Just click and buy.

 


 

4) Make it a rule that body protectors have to be worn whenever a rider is schooling cross-country obstacles. You are not allowed to ride cross-country at an event without a body protector, so why should be allowed to do the same at home. As with the helmet rule, no exceptions and no excuses are acceptable. If someone is jumping over solid obstacles then they MUST have a body protector on.

5) Perform frequent paddock checks to search for any potential hazards. Horses are attracted to dangerous things in their fields like flies are to honey. Paddocks need to be thoroughly inspected at least weekly for potential safety hazards ranging from poisonous plants to fence boards with nails sticking out, to gopher holes. Don’t just look at the field from the gate, make sure you walk all around the field and give it a going over with a fine tooth comb. You can guarantee if you don’t find the danger in the field, your horse will.

6) Make the feed room horse-proof. Even though stall doors should always be securely shut, sometimes people make mistakes. In addition, some horses have escape artist talents. You need to have a feed room that a horse cannot walk into and eat its heart out. This means all feed needs to be put in bins with lids that latch shut. Founder and colic are real, so make sure your feed room is secure.


7) Develop an emergency evacuation plan for the barn and make sure all horse owners/riders are aware of it. Natural disasters are unpredictable and barn fires have happened before and will happen again, so it is imperative that your barn has an emergency evacuation plan. Your barn needs to have an emergency plan and everyone who works rides or owns a horse there needs to be made aware of it. If you are not sure how to develop an emergency evacuation plan, here are some excellent tips.

8) Make sure there is always a rasp and shoe pulls available at the barn. You don’t want to be reliant on your farrier to remove a horse’s shoe. Horses can twist a shoe half off and get the toe clip stuck in their foot or develop a painful hot nail at any time. You should be able to pull a horse’s shoe off on your own and to do so effectively you need to have a rasp and shoe pulls. Get everyone at the barn to pitch in and buy these tools and keep them in a place where everyone has access to them should they need to use them.

9) Always have a truck and a horse trailer on site that could be hooked up and loaded with a horse at a moment’s notice. If a horse colics or injures itself severely, it will need to get to an equine clinic pronto. There will not always be time to fuss about trying to find a truck and trailer to ship the horse. A horse’s life can depend on having a truck and trailer ready in an instant to take the horse to get proper veterinary care. This is why it is a must that there is always a truck and trailer on site at every barn.

10) Keep clutter to a minimum in the barn aisles. If a horse spooks in the barn aisle, you don’t want it getting tangled up in random things that are lying around. You also don’t want anyone tripping over something and getting hurt. Keep the barn aisles tidy at all times, it will be safer and it will also look a lot more professional.

11) Install reliable smoke detectors with sprinklers and an alarm that sounds offsite as well as in the barn. Barn fires can cause catastrophic losses overnight. It is critical that your barn has working smoke detectors with alarms that will sound offsite where there is guaranteed to be a person that will hear it and be able to call 911. An automatic water sprinkler system in the event of a fire could also be a huge help. Investing in these systems may seem like overkill and you’ll never want to get any use out of them, but you should always be prepared for the worst.

12) Never quit looking for potential safety hazards and fixing them! If you notice something being done at your barn that doesn’t seem safe or you see any potential hazard then fix it. If you cannot personally fix the issue, then bring it to someone’s attention who can. You can never be too safe and you’d never forgive yourself if you noticed something and didn’t do anything about it and someone got hurt as a result.

Do you have any tips on how people can make their barns safer? Share them with us!

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