What tools and bits of hardware do I need to have on hand at the barn?
Of course, we all think of the “big” tools that we use everyday - the manure picker, the broom, the buckets. We could also keep the following tools on hand, just in case, and these definitely come in handy at shows for your stall and grooming area set up! They are also handy to have at home, as horses sometimes like to take things apart.
-Hammer. This seems to be the tool that “grows legs and walks away” most often, because you can use it for so many different things. At shows, use the claw to remove old staples and nails from the stalls before you move your horse in. At home, use it for everything!
Vice grips are great for moving mats!
-Pliers. These are handy at the shows, I like a large pair for the heavy duty stuff like pulling and twisting screws out of the walls, and I like a pair of needle nose pliers for tack repairs. In a pinch you can also use pliers to tighten screws and lug nuts without reaching for specialty tools.
-Double ended snaps. You can never have enough!
-Zip ties. They can hang your water buckets at shows, so that you are not putting more holes into the sometimes *questionable* accommodations. Loop a heavier duty zip tie around a metal post (if the stall has them) and then attach your double ended snap to that. There are about a zillion other uses for zip ties, from emergency halter repair to closing feed bags.
-It’s handy to have a screw gun (or a drill as some folks call them) with screwdriver attachments, just to save your forearms from undue stress. These are also great for attaching a scrub brush attachment to, for the heavy duty scrubbing that needs to get done. (Great tip from one of our followers!!)
-Screwdriver. Of course, if you have a screw gun, the screw driver becomes obsolete. But, if you need to attach screw eyes, use the screwdriver as an handle to twist the screw eye. If you only have ONE screwdriver, make it a flat head, as these can fit into phillips head screw, but a phillips head screwdriver can’t fit into a flat head screw. These are also handy for opening old cans.
Screw eyes are easily installed. Use a screw driver as leverage to twist!
-Have a potpourri of screw eyes, hangers, and attachments. Just in case. This falls into the same category as “duct tape, bailing twine, zip ties.” You never know what you will be able to fix!
-Blades are wonderful for opening shavings and feed bags. This makes the stall set up process much faster if you have 10 bags per stall and 6 stalls to bed… or more...
-Over the door hangers are great for home and shows. I like the metal ones, they are a bit sturdier than the plastic variety. At home, they make great towel hangers in the wash racks, and on the road they make great bridle hooks. There are many styles out there to choose from.
-Vice grips. If you don’t have a pair, just move some mats without them. These tools can allow a five year old to move mats one handed! Because they lock in place, they are also good for gripping things that the pliers and your strength can’t do alone.
Have extras! Great for shows, broken stuff, hanging things, connecting widgets.
At shows, it’s also handy to have a tool kit with everything you will need to set up the stalls. I like to mark all of the handles with initials, barn name, or you could use hot pink or orange tape around everything to mark it as yours.