It’s been about a year and a half since Johnny and I moved to our small farm outside of Tulsa. The experience of living on a few acres and being wholly responsible for the horses’ care has been generally positive; of course, it helps to have a friend running a boarding and training facility right next door!
I’ve started to think seriously about what improvements I want to make to the farm. There are several things I’d like to do that will make things easier, safer, and more attractive.
- Improve footing in stalls. Right now, my stall floors are dirt. My horses don’t spend tons of time in their stalls; the barn is adjacent to a small paddock where the horses stay at night. I keep the stall doors open so the horses can go in and out as they please. When it’s especially windy or rainy, they’ll hang out inside. As a result, the floors are in pretty good shape. I’d like to put a layer of screenings in the stalls to level them out and provide a compacted surface. I want to add interlocking rubber stall mats on top of the screenings; I know that will make the stalls easier to clean to reduce the amount of bedding needed.
- Remove stocks and add mats to make a grooming/wash stall. There’s a wash bay next to my tack room that I never use because it’s got a set of stocks in it that none of the horses will go in. The stocks are pretty handy for hanging sweaty saddle pads on, but I really need to remove them, add mats to the area, put a set of crossties in, and use that area as a grooming and wash stall.
- Add mud management panels to the area behind the barn. The area behind my barn where the stalls open to the outside is heavily trafficked and gets muddy when it rains. I’d like to add some mud management panels to it.
- Replace and expand fencing. The fences on my property aren’t in awful shape (well, a small section behind the barn kind of is), but they’re definitely sagging in a few spots. I’d like to replace all of the square wire fencing with something else; I’m intrigued by the Ramm Per4mance Flex Fence. I’d like to expand the pastures by a little bit, too. The front pasture can come toward the house another ~15 feet, which means I’ll have less to mow (and the horses will have a little more to eat). The paddock behind my barn can be expanded, too. I’d also like to add a fence along the property line I share with my friend. Right now, if a horse gets loose, I can shut a gate across my driveway, but horses can still run to my neighbor’s facility and possibly down her driveway and into the street.
I’m looking forward to making these improvements! Saving up for some of the major ones (like fencing) will definitely be a long-term process, but it’ll be nice to have my farm exactly how I want it some day!