We have a love-hate relationship with barn chores. Sure, we enjoy the time in the barn, watching our horses as we…shovel poop, clean buckets, fix fence, or clean up wasted feed, sometimes in cold, muddy conditions. But there are innovations that can help the “love” part outweigh the dread that sometimes comes along with barn work.
Here are nine products to consider trying in your barn, whether you have a small acreage and a few stalls or a larger horse farm with more property to manage.
ClearSpan Fabric Structures
The idea: The Hercules Truss Arch Building is ideal for horse or stable owners. These durable buildings provide a clean, dry, safe environment to house your horses, set up an indoor arena, or store feed. The company also offers metal and hybrid buildings, which blend the benefits of metal and fabric structures.
How it works: ClearSpan structures are built with ultra-durable, triple-galvanized steel. They’re covered by a polyethylene fabric that lets natural light filter through, eliminating the need for artificial daytime lighting. The structure’s design doesn’t require support posts, so there’s maximum usable space, whether it’s for riding, boarding, or storage. The Helical Anchoring System foundation eliminates the need for expensive foundations and cuts construction time and costs significantly. Choose from stock models or customize your order to fit your needs.
Learn more: Prices vary by model and design; call (866) 643-1010 or visit clearspan.com.
The idea: These sub-compact, four-wheel-drive, diesel tractors—the BX1880, BX2380, BX2680 (shown), and BX23S—are perfect for small farms and horse facilities for all the jobs that are too big for a wheelbarrow, farm cart, or four-wheeler.
How it works: Attachments and implements for any job—including mid-mount mower decks for clipping pastures, operator-friendly front loaders, front- and rear-mounted snow-blowers, and a full line of Land Pride implements—afford user-friendly versatility. The new BX23S comes standard with the LA340 Swift-Tach Loader and new BT603 Swift-Connect Backhoe. This makes attaching the loader or backhoe implements quick and easy.
Learn more: Starting at $11,789; learn more at kubota.com.
Horse Walker Walkways
The idea: These mats from Linear Rubber provide a smooth surface with good footing for exercising horses on a hot walker.
How it works: Walkways are donut-shaped paths for use with horse walkers. The mats create a smooth, level surface and are suitable for indoor or outdoor use. They eliminate any dangerous ruts, mud, and dust as the horse is exercised. These mats are custom-made to any diameter and any path width, so Walkways are easily installed over any existing surface. Assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece has precision-cut, interlocking tabs to form the circle of continuous matting. Genuine rubber has a durable surface and is impervious to moisture and resists extreme heat or cold.
Learn more: Price varies by size; for details call (800) 558-4040 or visit rubbermats.com.
The idea: New for 2017, the Toro Workman GTX is a utility vehicle for horse farms that boasts a combination of comfort, utility, and control, making it user-friendly.
How it works: “The increased power, improved steering, and exclusive suspension and braking systems make the Workman GTX the most versatile, practical, and comfortable utility vehicle in its class,” says Steve Anderson, founder of Equine Equipment (learn more about Equine Equipment on page 48). Available in gas or electric models, the Workman GTX features hundreds of configuration options, including front and rear attachments, a flat bed, and a four-seat option. Use it for hauling hay, cleaning stalls, doing farm repairs, or construction.
Learn more: Visit toro.com.
Simple Feeding Solutions’ Hay Rack Corner Feeder
The idea: This corner feeder works in stalls, lean-tos, and turnout pens or on panels, fences, or barn walls—anywhere there’s a corner, indoors or out.
How it works: This corner feeder takes advantage of often-overlooked space so horse owners can maximize any feeding set-up. The Hay Rack includes a metal 24-by-24-inch frame that accommodates the Hay Chix hay het (half-bale/full-bale sizes) and hardware, and is quick and easy to install. Once installed, this feeder drastically reduces hay waste. With no closure hardware required, it’s easy to use and saves time. Simply toss in the hay.
Learn more: Call (651) 404-7377 or visit haychix.com.
ElectroBraid Fence Wire
The idea: ElectroBraid is a permanent electric fence designed especially for horses. It’s both a physical barrier and a psychological deterrent for enclosing pastures and paddocks. It’s highly visible to horses, strong, durable, and resilient.
How it works: This fencing material looks like high-quality braided yachting rope. A double helix of copper wire conductors is braided into the outer jacket of the electric fence rope. Three or four strands of “Braid” of ¼-inch diameter are mounted on insulators on any kind of posts. Horse fence posts can be wood, vinyl, or steel, spaced 30 to 50 feet apart. The Braid comes in white, checkered, or black. The ropes of ElectroBraid are highly visible and can absorb the energy of a panicked horse, typically “bouncing” the horse back into its pasture with no harm to horse or fence. This fencing has a 25-year warranty.
Learn more: $174.99 per 1,000-foot reel of electric rope; visit electrobraid.com.
Everyone Loves a Deal
When shopping for expensive new equipment, it always helps to find a price break. You can start by checking if any of your breed or discipline memberships come with discounts on certain equipment brands.
You can also see if you qualify for a discount program like that offered by Equine Equipment (equineequipment.com; (877) 905-0004). You contact their office, complete a short survey to determine if you’re eligible, and then they notify your local dealer that you qualify for up to a 26-percent discount. The bonus is that you’re buying from a local dealer, which makes maintenance and repairs easier for you in the long run.
Equine Equipment represents a number of brands, including the Toro and Massey Ferguson implements mentioned in this article.
Cowboy Shed, by Universal Structures
The idea: This versatile building can be the ideal workshop or storage building for hay or farm equipment. It can also be used as a two-stall or four-stall horse barn. These can be built as a do-it-yourself building kit.
How it works: There are several options to choose from, including a 36-feet-by-36-feet basic model with 10-foot or 12-foot sidewalls. This building can have a gable roof or raised center aisle. If you need more space than the basic building affords, you can add 12 feet to extend its length, with a 12-foot bay extension option. End-wall sliding doors come standard. Other options include 12-foot bay extensions, man doors, windows, lean-to, 12-foot eve height with 3/12 pitch, roll extension, solar-light package (solar panel, batteries, and two LED lights), and a raised center-aisle roof with 12-foot eve height.
Learn more: Prices vary by building and options; call (888) 404-2276 or visit universalstructures.com.
Massey Ferguson Global Series Tractors
The idea: For 2017, Massey Ferguson is featuring a product line of 60-horsepower to 130-horsepower tractors with three different frame and horsepower ranges.
How it works: The Massey Ferguson Global Series was designed to deliver rugged and reliable operation for users in the equine world. Strong and agile, they’re suitable for handling heavy loads found on larger horse operations.
Learn more: Visit masseyferguson.com.
The idea: This new zero-turn riding mower combines commercial durability, reliability, and comfort with style and value. Every mower model has different configurations, from suspension seats to rear discharge, propane, diesel, electronic fuel injection, etc.
How it works: Each of these new mowers features a heavy-duty fabricated steel frame and Exmark’s Ultra Cut cutting systems in side- or rear-discharge configurations, which are perfect for the family horse farm.
Learn more: Visit exmark.com.