The Very Best Tack Room Ideas
There are many yards and places which have beautiful horses but the storage rooms where tack is kept are often in need of some attention……..
With the amount of work that comes with keeping horses, if your
tackroom or area, where you store everything, becomes mucky and disorganized, it will create a lot more work for you, in the long run.
You can be cleaning tack at different times of the day, as well as having a quick cup of coffee, but often these rooms are not the most inviting of places to be in.
Hopefully, the ideas listed below will inspire you and help you sort out and make this space work for you and everyone else who may be using, storing and cleaning horse tack here.
If your tack room is well organized:-
- it will save you time and much aggravation
- So indirectly, it will help you and your horse and everyone else who maybe working there.
A well organized room creates an environment that:-
- encourages you to keep tack and riding equipment in good condition, which is important for your safety but can easily be overlooked.
I have certainly seen accidents result from tack which has broken due to neglect.
So treat yourself and make your tack room lovely.
(And if your horse is not going as well as you would like, your tack room can become a little haven where you and others can collect your thoughts after riding etc.)
Organization and changes do not need to be expensive in a tack room. However, you will need to give your space some careful thought and care.
If it feels too expensive to do all at once, plan to do it in stages.
Put up bridle hooks in the tack room for all your bridles and any additional tack that can be hung easily. E.g. spare stirrup leathers, rollers etc. The Bridle hooks can be labelled using a number system in your tack room.
Below is a more detailed picture of bridle hooks. You can see within the circles are small brass numbers that are used for numbering the bridles.
Above the bridles is a board listing all the numbered bridle brackets/hooks and which horse the bridles belong to.
The ideal board to have is a wipeable board and so if there are any changes in the yard you can easily change names and numbers.
Also on this board you can add saddle rack numbers. Depending on the number or items will depend on which size board will be the most suitable for you.
These numbered boards can save so much time and confusion in any size tack room.
Put up saddle racks for all your saddles. You can get many different types and styles,
Some are made from wood as in the picture above, most on the market are made of metal. Have enough so you have one for each saddle.
If you have a lot of old un-used saddles, sell them or give them away. It is very easy to collect too many saddles and unless they are kept clean and in order, they are likely to deteriorate and be of no use to anyone.
Numbering your saddle racks can also save you and any one helping you any possible mix up or confusion. It takes no time labeling them but can save valuable time and energy.
If you create space and make tack cleaning easy it becomes a pleasure to do. For this to work the following simple ideas will help you.
Beam with Hooks on for Cleaning Bridles
Have a beam at the correct height, preferably close to a sink. Put up hooks on the beam and them hand from these some Three Prong Tack Cleaning Hooks for your bridles and girths so they can be easily cleaned. Make sure you have enough hooks for your requirements. Above is an example of such a beam.
Here you can see there are brass hooks spaced along the beam and from these are hanging some Three Pronged Tack Cleaning Hooks.
If you have the space have plenty of hooks, better to have spare ones than not enough. The brass hooks add a nice finishing touch.
You can even make them adjustable so they are set at different heights if you have children cleaning tack.
This is used for putting saddles on that need to be cleaned. It needs to be sturdy and stable. Some saddle horses have a flip top which can be turned over. This then can support and hold the saddle in an upside down position so that you can clean the underside of the saddle.
If you can find one with a shelf underneath this is useful for further storage. eg. storing your grooming bags.
Shelving for Numnahs and Rugs
Create shelving for all your numnahs and rugs and have all the shelves labelled in your tack room. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a section for each horse. The Dymo Letratag labeler that you can now buy makes labeling shelves very easy.
Labeling Horse Items
There are several ways to help you with labeling items in the tack room in order to prevent items getting mixed up. One easy way is to give a horse a colour and to then follow this through by using:-
- Coloured name tags on rugs
- Or use different coloured ribbons sewn onto rugs/numnahs. The advantage of this is that they stay on when items are washed.
- You can then carry this through to include coloured lead ropes.
- And coloured feed buckets.
So e.g. Forest Fire may be colour “yellow.” So his rugs have yellow ribbons sewn on them, where they do up.
He has a yellow lead rope on his halter and he has a yellow feed bucket etc
When you are are wanting to label items you can either use white electric tape and a black permanent marker or much easier than this is the Dymo Letratag labeling system. They have paper and plastic tapes both of which can be useful as well as different coloured tapes that you can print on.
All very easy and saves time in the long run from the wrong items being use and getting things mixed up.
Colour Code System on Feed Board
Then on the feed board there is a colour coded system outlining which colour each horse is. E.g Forest Fire is yellow, so when preparing his feed, his yellow bucket is used and the appropriate feed is added this. So saving any possible mix up which can so easily occur if you are feeding a number of horses.
The only problem with this is, if you run out of colours if you have a lot of horses. But you can usually get up to 8-10 different colours quite easily with feed buckets and lead ropes.
I have seen ‘organized adults’ fall in love with this system, as well as children.
Untidy and messy adults may find this a bit challenging.
Grooms and anyone employed if they enjoying being productive will love systems which will help them with the yards day to day work.
Built in kitchen drawer units are ideal in a tack room. The room is then easy to clean,with no dusty gaps and the drawers tend to open and close easily. Kitchen drawer units come in all different sizes, so you can get them to fit whatever space you have available.
Alternatively get a good chest of drawers but this is only going to provide limited space. But drawers, as opposed to open shelving is ideal for all those many smaller items which need a home.
The drawers can be used to store the following:
First Aid Drawer
In one drawer keep all you might need for any first aid situations. See A Horses First Aid Kit for all the necessary items that would be advisable to keep in here.
Paperwork and Administration Drawer
Notepads, passports, pencils, pens, pencil sharpener, diaries, event details, file for horse articles, leaflets. All this needs to be filed neatly and be easy to find in the tack room.
We have found the best way of record keeping
in the tack room is to use a Card Index System.
The 8″ x 5″ size cards are big enough to get quite a lot of information on. The smaller size that is also available we found was too small.
With these cards you can keep a year plan. i.e. an index card for each month of the year. Each monthly card then has notes on what you need to do in that month. eg. fencing, harrow fields, worming, book the dentist, etc. The cards are good, as anyone can access them.
Then you can have an A to Z section which can include for example notes on the following subjects:-
- notes on horses, paddock management, bridles sizes for different horses, saddle notes, names of spare parts for machinery. Homeopathic Dosages etc
- This means that essential information can be accessed easily and is not in just one person’s head.
- Another bonus is the cards can be easily replaced and updated.
Yard Notes, A4 Year Diary
You could keep a large A4 Diary in the tack room. At the front of the diary you can put down worming dates, farrier/trimmer dates, dates when horses were moved, i.e. just a quick reference so that important information can be found easily.
Then you can use the diary for day to day notes regarding the horses health, feed, training and the work you have done etc.
Books and reading on horsecare are in-valuable. Have them easily accessible in the tack room.
One very famous cook over here in England, Delia Smith, says she religiously goes through her larder and clears out anything that she has not used in the last year.
Although sell by dates with pots and potions may well be longer than food sell by dates, be ruthless once a year. If you have not used it or needed it or have found something else you like more or works better get rid of the old stuff.
Very occasionally you may miss something you threw out, but this will be rare.
If you keep in your head this quote:-
“Only by creating space can new things enter one’s life,” from Bob Proctor’s book,”You were Born Rich.”
You may find this helpful when trying to decide whether to keep or throw out items no longer used.
So with this in mind clear out anything that you no longer need.
Sink and Running Water
(If possible warm water, you can now get inexpensive hot water systems which heat up small amounts of water as needed They work on the same principles as electric showers.)
In most tack rooms a large washing machine and washing basket will be very useful. The basket on the right is an old grape basket that would have been used in one of the many vineyards in France. It works really well here as a washing basket, as well as adding character.
A commercial washing machine that has a 10kg to 23kg drum load size is ideal for washing horse rugs if you are using them.
There are a number of commercial washing machine manufacturers, for example:-
Ipso, Primus, Electrolux and ADC all manufacture commercial washing machines.
We have a Maytag washing machine which has been great and well used. We had no direct hot water supply so we needed to get one that heats up water which this does.
NB if you machine is being used by many people you may need to do some obvious labeling so it is used with care. For example on ours we have the following label :-
(e.g. “Please make sure all items are placed fully inside the drum and the doorway is clear before closing, otherwise seal will break.”)
Fairly self explanatory but it has worked………!
Using the Dymo Letratag for labeling anything like this makes this very easy.
Overhead Drying Rack & Tumble Drier
An overhead drying rack is ideal to dry things on if you have the head room. If you get one and find some things don’t sit on them very well e.g. girths, you can screw some hooks on to the ends so they can hang more easily.
They are sturdy enough to hold rugs, one or two, they are simple to erect, easy to use and cheap. It is worth buying a spare rope as this in time can wear out.
Alternatively use a drying machine.
NB. Take care, as many horse items e.g. numnahs can shrink if dried too hot, too quickly.
If you live somewhere that is cold in winter, organize and sort out some sort of heating. Damp cold rooms or over heated rooms are not good for keeping tack in, see Tack Care.
So work out an efficient and cost effective system. You could have electric heaters which can be on a timer switch. These you can set automatically to come on for as long as is required.
If you tack room would benefit from some insulation do this as well. You will enjoy the benefits.
Anything that is old and is not being used clear it out. Rubbish accumulates very easily, let it go or give it away. Be ruthless.
What you give you get back, don’t be afraid of letting go and clearing out.
If you keep lots of old tack it needs to be maintained or it is no good to anyone. So decide are you going to keep cleaning this? If not give it away.
If you keep them clean and Swept this will automatically make the room feel cleaner and more organized.
There was a floor cleaning specialist who once said that he found with his work that if the floors are dirty no matter how beautiful, organized or tidy a room/premises was the room would look mucky.
Find a suitable broom, with the right size brush head on and wide enough so that this can be done quickly.
If you wish to cover your floor, if you lay some of the many rubber mats that are now on the market that are recommended for use in stables, they create a soft surface to walk/stand on.
This is ideal if the room is used heavily with regular tack cleaning occuring. You can stand for much longer on this type of surface without getting tired.
It is also an easy surface to brush clean and mop over when required.
Find out which hooks you like and a supplier where you can buy them easily. You will need a lot.
Head collar hooks, hoof pick hooks, broom hooks, bridle hooks, dustpan and brush hook, coat hooks, hat hooks. i.e. create a home for everything and you will be well on the way to creating a tidy tack room.
Kettle, Mugs, Fridge, Cloths, Loo’s, and Hand Towels are the extra’s that you will most likely need.
Depending on your needs, also a fridge. With all of these items keep them clean.
Clean, non chipped mugs and clean loo’s make a big difference. Loo blocks are extremely efficient and can be used in cisterns and last for quite a while.
Don’t be afraid to be fussy. In the long run people will respect your standards once you have set them.
Get a system in place. This may just be a shopping list or a rota system that is needed.
All this will help create a nice place to work in, whether just for yourself or for others.
This is background stuff it may not seem relevant when talking about natural horsecare but if you are spending time outside working with horses this will save you a lot of time and make it much more enjoyable for you and everyone else who might be working with you.
If you are running a yard or livery yard or employing grooms it is even more important to try and establish high standards in these areas. If you are wanting a high standard of work from others if you set an example yourself it makes it much easier to then ask others to help you keep a place in order.
By creating a place for everything there is no reason why it can’t then be maintained.
If you have many people coming and going you may need to leave a notice along the lines of “Please Leave Everything as You Find It.”