Winter-Time Chore Efficiency Starts With Good Lighting!


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This time of the year everything on our small horse ranch is all about winterizing. Heading into fall, chore efficiency is my main mantra. If we can set things up so the barn and horses are easy to manage and chores can be accomplished with a minimum amount of hassle, then it’s more likely that things will get done later on when it’s cold, rainy or snowy, windy and dark. Speaking of dark, having good lighting in and around your barn is paramount to chore efficiency.

This week we worked on the lighting issue at our new place. Our new barn does have paddock lighting (a definite “must have” for those with paddocks and a 9 to 5 job. Coming home after work to fumble around in dark paddocks trying to clean and do chores is no fun!). But light switches had been placed by the previous owner all at horse nose height. The first few mornings after we moved in, when we came out to feed the horses had apparently been playing with the light switches all night; some lights were on, others we wanted on were off.

Well-lit wash areaThis week we had an electrician move all light switches to a height above the horses’ heads. We also had him put in lighting in our wash rack. I chose to have two lights (both with ballasts to withstand colder temps) in the wash rack, so that there would be light on both sides of the horse versus one single light directly above that creates a dark shadow underneath the horse. This way it will be much brighter for wintertime shoeing, grooming, bathing or all important vet work

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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