Although it’s common for large stables to have in-depth horse care instructions, it is much less normal for home horsekeepers to keep a written set of directions for chores. However, having your daily horse care routine posted in the barn is always a wise idea. If you are ever unexpectedly unable to do chores (illness, injury, etc.) you want instructions posted for your back up.
Here are 8 tips to keep in mind while you create the horse care directions for your barn:
1. Make it big
Even if you can fit all of your chore information on a single page, don’t do it. This isn’t the time to conserve ink and paper. Using large, bold fonts and multiple sheets of paper will help people follow your directions more easily.
2. Color Code
Color coding is one of the best ways that you can make your chore sheet more understandable. Color coding each horse’s blanket, feed tub, and other tack makes it easier to ensure each horse is using their own equipment and eating their specific ration.
3. Use Lists
I love including numbered lists in my chore instructions! Keep each item on your list as short as possible while still being specific. I normally write my overall chore instructions in a list format and then use charts to describe each horse’s specific care regime.
4. Use Charts
Charts are the best way to communicate an individual horse’s needs. They can be elaborate and include rows for supplements, hay, grain, exercise, blanketing, wrapping, turnout, etc. or (like in my case) they can stay simple, just describing a horse’s grain ration.
5. Don’t Forget Emergency Contacts
Posting your emergency contacts in your barn is always a good idea. If you or your chore help is in the barn dealing with an problem, you want those numbers close at hand. I include my vet, my vet’s after hours emergency number, my farrier and myself on the emergency contact sheet.
6. Be Organized
Nothing is worse than walking into the barn to do chores and not being able to find an important piece of equipment. Have a spot for everything and always put it back where it belongs.
7. Label Everything
I am a firm believer that you cannot over-label. Label your feed bins with what kind of feed they contain, label your feed tubs and blankets with your horse’s name. Label everything that you regularly use during chores.
8. Wrap It Up With Reminders
At the end of my chore chart, I have 3 action items that must be done before leaving the barn. For me they are checking that all gates are closed, turning off the lights and leaving the barn doors either opened or closed depending on if your doing AM or PM chores.
Do you have a great idea on how to create simple chore instructions? I’d love to here it!