Spring is around the corner, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to get your hands dirty, clean out that stable, and get ready for a season of summer riding. No matter how thoroughly and regularly you muck out, months of accumulated dirt and dust will leave your stable looking less than perfect.
Luckily a thorough spring clean is all in a day’s work, and it will set you up for an entire season. And there really is nothing quite like the feeling of a completely clean stable!
Why bother with spring cleaning stables?
As well as making sure everything’s ready for a fuss-free summer, a deep spring clean will help your horse’s health, too. A thorough scrub helps remove things like parasites, which might not be visible to the naked eye, and which may increase the risk of your horse becoming ill. The environment will be more pleasant for both of you, and as an added bonus, your stable yard manager will be happy as well!
What stable cleaning equipment do I need?
As well as all your usual cleaning equipment – such as the wheelbarrow and shovel you use for mucking out – a few other pieces of equipment will make your life a lot easier.
- Make sure you have a horse friendly disinfectant for scrubbing walls and floors.
- A vacuum cleaner can help you blast away those cobwebs and get dust away from the roof space – it might be a good idea to hire an industrial model. Whether or not you use a vacuum cleaner, a dustpan and brush will be handy for getting into corners.
- It’s also worth hiring or borrowing a pressure washer if you don’t already have one. These are great for deep cleaning the floor.
- A yard brush is also a must, for loosening and moving any dry dirt that has built up.
- A stepladder will help you reach tricky high-up areas.
- Lastly, choose clothes that you wouldn’t mind throwing away if necessary. Get that hair tied back and, if you think it will be necessary (for example, if there will be a lot of dust being disturbed) get a face mask as well.
How to prepare to clean your stables
First of all, make sure your horse is somewhere safe. Some horses can be mucked out whilst still in the stable, but for a deep clean they definitely shouldn’t be present.
Get all of your equipment lined up and close to hand. Forward planning means you won’t have to dig around looking for things, and you won’t have to rush out to buy something to finish the job. As a deep clean can feel like a big job, having a plan of attack can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Lastly, remove everything you can from the stable – including the rubber mat.
Ten steps for stable cleaning
- Once everything is out of the stable, start at the top (literally). Use a brush to dislodge collected dust and cobwebs from the ceiling area, but look out for nesting birds. A face mask can help here, as you don’t want to be breathing all that dust in. A stepladder is your best friend for this task.
- Loosen and sweep away any floor dirt with a yard brush. The more you can get rid of now, the better.
- Get into the corners with a vacuum cleaner or dustpan and brush.
- If there are windows, clean these with a horse-friendly solution – if you don’t have any specialised disinfectant, a white vinegar solution works wonders on glass!
- Use your pressure washer, if you have one, to thoroughly clean the floor. (Remember, it’s best if your rubber matting has been removed. If you can’t remove it, only use the pressure washer if the water can easily drain out and the floor dry.)
- If you haven’t got a pressure washer, use a horse-friendly cleaning solutions to scrub, paying special attention to any stubborn stains.
- Now that everything inside is clean, see to your rubber matting. Make sure you dislodge any dirt or stains, so it’s ready to go back down.
- Thoroughly clean any feeding buckets and water containers.
- Make a thorough check of the stable – are there any exposed nails, for example, or can anything come loose and injure your horse? Now’s the best time to sort these little problems out, as you’ll be able to see everything clearly.
- When everything is dry, put the mats back set up as usual. Then prepare to welcome your horse back!
Other stable cleaning tips
- Make sure you leave plenty of time for everything to dry. You don’t want to get to the end of the day and realise everything’s still soaking wet!
- If possible, clean your stable at the same time as a friend is doing theirs – the moral support can make a long job seem a lot easier. Or recruit a friend to help with yours, and make the job half as long.
- While you’re in spring cleaning mode, why not check and thoroughly clean your tack as well?
- If you’re lucky enough to have a tack room (and you have the energy!) a spring clean will work absolute wonders there as well. It also presents a great way to check that you tack is in good condition.
- As a rewards for all your work, why not treat yourself to some new equipment? Maybe you’ve needed to replace those jodhpurs for a while, or your brushes are looking tired.
- Stock up on any supplies you think you’ll need – now your stable is clean and organised, you don’t want to ruin the effect by running out of hay. Make sure your horse first aid kit is fully stocked and that you have enough bedding and food. You might also want to stock up on Animalife supplements as well.