Stall cleaning is one of those jobs that needs to be done every day of the year. Horses don’t care if its Christmas Day as they will always need their stalls mucked out. The volume and frequency of the job depends on the number of stalls to be cleaned and the standard and quality expected by you and/or the property owner.
It is not a fun job for most so the best way to approach it is to figure out how to get it done as quickly as possible. Here are some of my top tips for speeding up the process.
1. Develop your own System. If you have done this job for long enough it is likely that you have developed your own system and process. I recommend that you clean from one side to another or from front to back (or just do whatever makes sense for the space you work in!). One established make sure to stick to the system as it will help you do it faster.
2. Get others involved. This is actually the fastest way to speed up the process. If there are others around they might be willing to help. Perhaps you could pay them or compensate in some way but in my experience many people are just eager to help and like hanging around the stables. Some stables have a nice atmosphere and culture that encourages helping so if this is the case don’t be afraid to ask for help.
3. Use the right tools. A large heavy duty wheelbarrow that allows you to carry a large load of manure will save you lots of back and forth trips. You will also need a good manure fork. I also recommend getting a pair of rubber gloves that will save you lots of time by allowing you to quickly pick up anything that is too small for the fork.
A wheelbarrow extension like the one pictured on the right is very useful too.
4. Fresh Bed Stock. Keeping fresh bed stocks in easy to reach places is a great way to save time as you don’t have to keep going back and forth to get more. You can either leave them in different locations around the stables or else stockpile them in the stalls.
5. Know their Habits. Most horses have a preferred spot that they use when they go. Knowing the spots that each horse uses can help you speed up by focusing on that spot and not wasting time in other areas that don’t need attention.
6. Prep the Night Before. There is lots of stuff you can do the night before to speed up the process of stall cleaning the next day. For example you can fill hay nets, prep feed, and have bedding and make sure the necessary tools are ready to go for when you start.
7. Turn out as much as possible. The less time the horse spends in the stable the less time they have to make a mess. Turning out a horse regularly is a good idea and it keeps them healthier and is better for their overall mental health.
8. Put Rubber Matting into the Stalls. These mats can be expensive but they can really make a difference in terms of the amount of bedding that is required. When combined with the bedding they provide a much more comfortable space for the horse and can even help horses that have issues with joints, hooves, and other injuries.