Smart Storage Around the Barn

Keep horses and humans safe by storing your supplies and equipment properly 

The cycle repeats itself every year: Spring turns to summer, summer to fall, and, before you know it, winter arrives, then spring again. Have your supplies been sitting on the same shelf (or in the horse trailer or truck glove compartment), exposed to light and temperature fluctuations all that time? Are your feeds, supplements, medications, and other necessities stored safely and securely so they are inaccessible to horses, pets, and children but also in optimal environments to preserve their quality or condition?

Light and heat are the enemies of feeds, medications, and other supplies. And cold can turn a tin of soft and squishy ointment into a rock-hard solid block in the ­winter.

Read on to learn what our experts—Christine Skelly, PhD, extension specialist at Michigan State University and director of MSU’s My Horse University; and Tommy Hays, DVM, a partner at Elgin Veterinary Hospital, in Texas, and a founding member of the Texas Equine Veterinary Medical Association—recommend for safe, smart storage in your barn.

Vitamins and Supplements

Store these items in a dark, cool, dry environment such as a cabinet in a temperature-controlled room, says Skelly. “Temperature and humidity control are important to keep the product from degrading over time; a refrigerator may be too humid, and a kitchen area may get too hot.”

The same goes for feed rooms that aren’t climate-­controlled; while it might be convenient to store supplements here, they could be exposed to high temperatures in the summer and/or light.

Also, keep them in their original package. “Packaging not only identifies the product but also provides protection from light exposure,” Skelly says. It also contains the product’s expiration date and administration instructions. Some supplements are pre-portioned into packages to allow for more storage options, which can be particularly helpful when traveling, she says. Their labels should include this information, as well.

Don’t leave feeds, supplements, drugs, or health supplies in a vehicle or trailer for long periods. “Unload as soon as you reach your destination,” says Skelly. “Extreme temperatures can damage most equine-related health products.”

Organizing and storing products properly can help you ensure each horse receives its veterinarian-recommended or -prescribed supplements or medication(s) at the correct time and in the correct amount, she

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