The name’s Stardust and I am one of the research mares (“Horse Heroes”) at Rutgers. I am here to give you a blow-by-blow report on everything that’s happening at Rutgers. But first, let me tell you a little about myself.
I am a 16-year-old Standardbred with racing imbedded in my bones (and muscles!). Unfortunately, I couldn’t race because of my pigeon-toe; however, I can certainly “fly” on a treadmill and I haven’t been lame once in the 12 years I’ve been at Rutgers! I also love to play with my four-legged and two-legged friends. My favorite game is tag, although, I don’t think the students like being “IT” very much! To read more about me, visit the Center’s “Horse Heroes” website.
Now, back to the barn. Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed several pieces of equipment go missing, (especially my favorite brush!), but then, it reappeared a few days later (thank goodness!). I did a little investigative work to get to the bottom of all these changes. As it turns out, the students and staff are “spring cleaning”! They are cleaning off all the mud off the stalls, us girls tracked in during the winter and disinfecting all the grooming equipment and buckets. They are also removing all the cobwebs. I’ll be sad to see my buddy, Charlotte the Spider go, but I know it’s for the best!
Here’s some spring cleaning tips that you can do for your barn:
- Clean and disinfect EVERYTHING:
- All grooming equipment (brushes, hoof picks, totes, etc.)
- Water and feed buckets or troughs
- Tack (bridles, halters, lead ropes, saddle and saddle pads, bell boots, etc.)
- If it smells like a horse, then it’s not clean enough!
- Your own boots. Today, I saw someone using a hoof pick on them! Yikes!
- Manure removal equipment (picks, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, etc.)
- Wash winter blankets by hand (or take them to an equine-friendly laundry mat!)
- Power wash stalls with disinfectant
- Inspect your trailer for any missing or rusted parts and have them repaired.
- Clean up any hazards that were trapped under the mounds of snow we had this winter
- Remove any cobwebs, bird’s nests, standing water, which is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes
- Check the bird netting of any holes or gaps
- Replace any damaged signage (No smoking and BioSecurity Signs)
- Check any loose wires
- Clear out any weeds that can be toxic to horses or other livestock
All of these tips are important for maintaining good biosecurity practices. During the spring, the many bacteria and viruses thrive in the warmer weather and can easily spread from horse-to-horse if you’re not careful!
Check out more tips on our fact sheets: Safety Recommendations for the Stable, Barn Yard, and Horse/Livestock Structures, Horse Trailer Maintenance and Trailering Safety, and Odd Things that Horses Eat.
Happy Spring Cleaning, everyone!
Tag your “IT”!