Barn Life Made Easy

Make daily life at the barn a little easier with these eight barn hacks.

Owning a horse is filled with daily challenges. The list is extensive, from ensuring your horse’s health and cleanliness to maintaining an organized and functional barn. However, there are barn hacks to make these daily tasks a breeze. Transform your everyday barn chores into smooth, hassle-free experiences. Think outside the box, and make your life simpler and more efficient.

From keeping your horse’s tack tidy to lighting up your barn so you’re not stuck fumbling in the dark, these barn hacks are designed for horse owners who value efficiency and simplicity. These solutions aren’t just about making chores easier but about improving your barn life, saving money, and giving you back more time to spend with your horse.

Hack #1

Wash Rack on the Go

What’s the Hack? When a hydrant or wash bay isn’t available at a horse show or trailhead, a portable shower offers convenience to cool your horse down and keep him comfortable after you’re done riding. It’s lightweight and easy to store in your horse trailer. It can also help you out if you’re in a pinch and need to clean a wound, but don’t have access to a hose. Some portable showers even let you know the temperature of the water and exactly how much battery power you have left, so you don’t have to play the guessing game when giving your horse a bath.

Hack #2

No More Hay Waste

What’s the Hack? Feeding time is a blend of balancing proper nutrition while keeping an eye on the budget. This hack blends affordability with functionality. The ordinary storage tote, a staple in many households for organization, takes on a new role in the barn. By repurposing these containers, you can create a hay feeder that keeps your hay off the ground and prevents excess hay waste while also simulating the natural grazing habits of horses. Plus, it directly impacts your horse’s health by reducing the intake of dirt and potential contaminants.

Do It Yourself: Begin with a 27-gallon storage tote—preferably the durable black totes with yellow lids from the hardware store. Cut two large holes—big enough for your horse’s head—in the yellow lids. Fill the tub with hay and snap the lid back on. Use duct tape to smoothen any cut edges as a safety measure to protect your horse from potential injuries, and make sure to put your hay container in an area where your horse can’t get his feet caught in it. Incorporating hay nets within the setup encourages slower feeding. This mimics natural grazing rhythms, supporting your horse’s digestion and overall well-being.

Don’t let your horse eat his hay off the ground; keep it safe from debris in a DIY hay feeder. Photo by ella/

Hack #3

No Power, No Problem

What’s the Hack? Lighting in barns can be a challenge, especially in areas devoid of direct electrical connections. Solar-powered barn lights offer a smart solution to this predicament, merging the power of renewable energy with the demands of consistent lighting. By drawing energy directly from the sun, these lights provide a sustainable lighting option that’s both effective and environmentally responsible, ensuring that no corner of the barn remains in shadows. Plus, with no electricity bills associated with these lights, they’re a cost-effective long-term investment.

One of the primary concerns with outdoor fixtures is their ability to withstand the whims of weather. Whether beating downpours, scorching heat, or freezing cold, many solar-powered lights can withstand Mother Nature, ensuring your barn remains consistently lit.

Hack #4

Not Your Average Storage

What’s the Hack? Whether you’re a competitor or board at a barn with limited space, the hassles of lugging around essential equipment are all too familiar. A rolling trunk simplifies the ordeal, making transporting your gear easy, all while ensuring it remains safe and organized. The built-in wheels glide effortlessly across diverse terrains, be it the gravel at a showground or the concrete floor of a barn, making packing up to head to a horse show quick and efficient.

Some trunks even come equipped with built-in locks with keys to protect your valuables from theft and make sure that the contents remain intact during transit, preventing spills.

Hack #5

Natural Horse Care

What’s the Hack? Coconut oil has made a significant mark in the horse world. A coconut-oil product designed specifically for horses like Keratex’s Coconut Oil Hoof Balm can help condition your horse’s hooves and can even be used as a shine when you’re in the show pen.

Coconut oil is also a great natural conditioner for your horse’s mane and tail. After you use your favorite shampoo and conditioner, put some coconut oil in your horse’s mane and tail to work as a deep conditioner and leave in overnight. The next morning when you wash it out, his mane and tail will feel soft and moisturized.

Applying a coconut oil to your horse’s hooves can help condition your horse’s feet while looking good for the show pen. Bonus tip: Hang on to an old hoof oil applicator so you don’t have to use your hands. Photo by camera craft/

Hack #6

DIY Insulated Buckets

What’s the Hack? In colder climates, ensuring horses have access to unfrozen water can be challenging, especially in barns without electricity or for those preferring not to use electrically heated buckets. A practical solution to this is creating your own non-electric insulated water buckets. The insulation layers efficiently trap heat, significantly reducing the chances of water freezing, even in very low temperatures, and the combination of bubble wrap, insulation, and tape not only insulates but also reinforces the bucket, keeping it sturdy and functional throughout the winter.

Do It Yourself: Start by wrapping each five-gallon bucket with three layers of small bubble wrap. Use duct tape at the bottom for flat back or tapered buckets to secure the wrap and prevent slipping. Use duct tape to seal the top edge (just below the lip) and bottom of the bucket, ensuring the insulation is airtight. This step is crucial for maximizing the insulation effect. Encase the entire insulated area with duct tape. Start from the top tape layer and cover to the bottom, leaving no bubble wrap or insulation exposed.

During winter storms make sure your horse has access to unfrozen water with a DIY-insulated water bucket hack. Photo by willowpix/

Hack #7

No More Messy Medicine

What’s the Hack? Administering medication in pill form to horses is usually a challenging task. The usual method is making the paste in a separate container before transferring it into a dosing syringe, a messy process.

A streamlined approach directly utilizing the dosing syringe simplifies this procedure. By using the syringe as a mixing vessel, the entire process becomes tidier. There’s no need for extra containers, so no additional clean-up is required post-administration.

Do It Yourself: Place the pills that need to be administered into the dosing syringe—crush them for quicker dissolving. Draw an adequate amount of water into the syringe to mix with the pills. The amount of water will depend on the number of pills and the desired consistency. After securing the syringe, shake it well to help break down the pills. Give it some time for the pills to dissolve completely.

And if your horse needs a pill that doesn’t need to be given in syringe-form, pick up a coffee grinder and leave it in your feed room. You can use it to grind up your horse’s pills to mix into his grain.

Hack #8

Water Trough Reminder

What’s the Hack? Do you find yourself forgetting to turn the water off when filling up your horse’s outdoor water troughs? Come up with a reminder system to help you remember to shut the water off before you flood your horse’s paddock or pasture. You can set a reminder on your phone or use a wrist band as a friendly reminder.

Do It Yourself: Grab a waterproof wristband and attach a tag to it (can be a leftover horse blanket tag that you have in the barn) that reminds you to shut off the water. When you have the faucet turned on, wear the wristband so you can look down to remember that your water is still running. Once you turn the water off, place the wristband back on the faucet so the next person can use it when it comes time to refill the trough.

Hack #9

Automatically Organized

What’s the Hack? Whether used for watering, cleaning, or other purposes, hoses, when not stored properly, can become a tripping hazard and an eyesore. An automatic hose reel is a storage solution that keeps your barn tidy and your hoses lasting. With its automatic retraction capability, this tool keeps hoses wound up neatly without kinks.

One of the leading causes of hose degradation is improper storage. Hoses left exposed are susceptible to UV damage, cracking, and kinking. An automatic hose reel shields your hose, reducing exposure to external elements, and by ensuring it’s wound up smoothly, it prevents kinks and stress points.

Giving your horse a bath just got a lot easier, thanks to the help of an automatic hose reel designed to keep your hose tangle-free and off the ground. Photo by lubo ivanko/

Hack #10

Avoid the Dust

What’s the Hack? Once stalls have been cleaned and horses have been fed, the next thing to do is sweep up your mess so your barn aisle stays clean and dust-free. If you find yourself coughing and sneezing from dust and debris when it comes time to clean up at the end of the day you can create a water mixture that will help keep dust down and leave your barn smelling its best.

Do It Yourself: Keep the dust down and have your barn smell its best by mixing a little multi-surface cleaner with water into a watering can. You can then sprinkle the watering can down your barn aisle in a zig-zag pattern before sweeping up to keep the dust at a minimum and leave your barn aisle smelling fresh at the end of the day.

[Consider these 10 essential factors before building a barn]

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