How to Tame Your Tack Room - 9 Tips
You’ve finally arrived at the barn after a busy day at work, looking forward to clearing your mind and enjoying some quality horse time, when you open the door of your tack room…. There’s your saddle pad, still damp from yesterday’s ride, in a lump on the floor. Now you’ve located one glove but the other is nowhere to be found. Everything is covered with horse hair, and you’re starting to sneeze from the dust. Hunting for your gear in a disorganized tack room can put a damper on your ride before it even begins.
Early fall, with its warm temperatures and dry weather, is an excellent time of year to give this essential area of your barn a complete makeover. These tips for tack room organization and storage tips will help you take control of your messy tack room.
Plan Your Organized Tack Room
#1 Safety First – Safety should be your highest priority when organizing your tack room. You must be able to move around without bumping into things, getting hurt, or spooking your horse with loud noises as equipment falls. Likewise, if your tack storage is not far from your horse’s stall, it’s vital that your horse can be moved in and out without getting injured or scared by a mess of tack equipment. Be sure to also consider the climate and how you can keep your horse and equipment safe during inclement weather.
#2 A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place – Pull out all your stuff and decide how best to organize it to make it work for you. Install some shelving, and buy hooks, storage containers and blanket racks so every item has a proper place to be, and to get everything off the floor.
#3 Store Practically – As you plan your tack storage area, think about it in practical terms. Identify the items you use most frequently and store them in easily accessible, themed bins or racks. Tack items that are used less frequently, or seasonally, can be stored out of the way. If you find items you never use, donate or sell them rather than have them clutter your barn.
#4 Consider the Seasons – Storing tack with the seasons in mind prevents you from having a mixture of summer and winter items all in the same area. Make it easy to find blanketing layers in the winter, or fly masks in the summer, by separating your tack by season and storing accordingly.
#5 Spatial Organization – Make accessing tack simple and convenient by keeping everything within a short distance. Dedicate a single space in your barn to tack storage, and then divide that area into smaller sections that are intuitive. For instance, store all grooming items together in one space, and bridles and saddles in another, keeping each horses’ associated items together.
#6 Good Lighting – Aside from preventing injuries to you or your horse, bright lights in your tack area will discourage rodents, birds, and insects from taking up residence, while making it easy to find exactly what you are looking for.
#7 A Clean Space – A clean, clutter-free tack storage space makes it easy to find what you need, and promotes safety. In addition to straightening up your tack equipment and supplies, you should also clean up dust and debris. Seal any cracks or openings that allow dust and dirt to get into your tack storage space.
#8 A Dry Environment – Leather goods need to be stored in a dry environment to prevent the development of mould. If the area you use for tack storage isn’t air conditioned or insulated, keep the air circulating by using a fan. A clean, dry space will lengthen the life of your tack.
#9 Maintain it – Keep a broom and dust pan in your tack room and sweep up dirt, horse hair, and other debris daily. Before you leave each day, check that any damp gear can air-dry, and that everything has been put away in its proper place. You’ll really appreciate this tomorrow when you arrive at the barn after another busy day at work.
Create a tack room that works for you instead of against you. A clean, tidy tack room will be safer for you and your horse, allow you to find the equipment you need without stress, and let you maximize the time you spend bonding with and enjoying your horse.
Thanks to Ashly Snell of Dover Saddlery for her assistance with this article.
This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.