I'm not here to talk about the obvious things that should be in a barn—like fire extinguishers and horse and human first aid kits—I'm here to talk to you about the things you might not think of right away.
Here are some other things that come in handy in the barn, things that you might not have thought about, that can really be great to have.
1. Baby Diapers:
Weird, I know. At some point, almost all horse owners have to deal with a hoof abscess. Packing the hoof with ichthammol, putting a baby diaper around it, and then vet wrapping and duct tape is a sure fire way to keep a bandage on a foot, which leads me to number two...
2. Duct tape:
You can never have enough duct tape in the barn! It is used to wrap feet, fix fence boards, the list goes on and on. You can even use a piece of duct tape on your horse's nose to distract him and help him behave for the vet or farrier. Stock up on duct tape, it even comes in cool colors and patterns these days!
3. Coffee Grinder:
What do you do with a coffee grinder in a barn? You use it to crush pills. When your horse is on antibiotics or other medication, and you have to figure out how to administer them, you will be glad you have a coffee grinder. You grind the pills up practically to a powder. Then you can either use a syringe and water to give it orally, or you can put it on their feed if you think they will eat it.
You should have molasses in the barn to help with medicating horses. It is so thick and sticky that if you grind the medication into powder and pour it on the feed and stir in Molasses, your horse probably won't be able to resist the sticky goodness. It also keeps the ground up powder from just dropping to the bottom of the feed bucket when you pour it over the feed.
5. Rubber Gloves:
Rubber gloves are great for everything from putting ichthammol in abscessed feet and cleaning sheaths to cleaning cuts and wounds. No matter what you end up using them for, you'll sure be glad you didn't have to do it bare-hand.
Listerine is a cheap and easy way to treat hooves with thrush. You can put it in a spray bottle, and spritz it on the hoof after you pick them. It is a lot less messy than things like koppertox, and it does the job just as well.
7. Digital Thermometer:
I don't know how many times I have had to take a horses temperature and had trouble reading the mercury in the thermometer. You either can't figure out how to hold it up to the light, or you are not sure it was shaken down before you used it. You can pick up a cheap digital thermometer at the drug store or Wal-Mart. If your horse gets sick, you will be glad that you have it.
8. Leaf Blower:
If you have a concrete barn aisle, using a leaf blower to blow it clean is quick and easy.
No barn is complete without a radio. Doing barn chores is much more fun with the radio on and walking a colicky horse up and down the barn aisle in the dark is a lot less creepy with music playing. It is even fun to ride with the radio on sometimes!
10. A Lost and Found Box:
Especially if you are a boarding or lesson barn, you will always be finding jackets, random gloves and whips laying around. Rather than having them clutter things up, get a bin with a lid (so the stuff doesn't get dusty and gross) and label it as lost and found.
11. Markerboard or Chalk Board:
Having a marker board or chalkboard is a good way to communicate information to boarders. Give special feeding instructions to barn staff, or even plan which horse your lesson kids will ride. It also is a great place to write the farm address. That way, in the event of an emergency, if someone had to call 911, they would know where to find the address easily.
Do you have any random items in your barn that you can't live without? I'd love to hear what they are!