It’s the new year, a great time to start enjoying a fresh, organized, on-top-of-things feeling in the barn. Time to find that bit or whip you’ve been looking for. Time to throw out the treats that a mouse got into. Time to do something with all those ribbons.
Cleaning up a year's worth of tack room clutter can seem completely daunting but the end result will leave you feeling amazing, protect your valuable tack and equipment, and ultimately leave you with more time to spend with your horse.
For an enviable, beautiful tack room in your barn, just follow these 3 easy steps. You don’t even have to do them all on the same day.
I’ve also included some Pinterest inspiration of beautiful tack rooms that we’ve been drooling over here at Lighthoof.
Step One - Trash It!
Grab a big black garbage bag (the heavy duty kind used on construction sites) and put on a pair of gardening gloves or leather gloves. This is the step where anything that needs to get thrown away goes in the bag. No regrets, no hesitation.
Tip: Make sure NOT to take any time during this step to clean, organize, sort, or get nostalgic about anything in your soon-to-be beautiful tack room. This is only about the trash. Be a trash finding robot.
Things That Are Trash in Your Tack Room
- Old or mouse-eaten horse treats
- Any of the previous year’s human snacks
- Empty grain bags (or send them to someone who makes totes!)
- Empty or almost empty containers of fly spray, conditioner, ointment, etc.
- Expired medicines, wormers, vaccines, vitamins
- All the hair stuck in your brushes
- Boots or wraps that have long lost their partners
- Any leather goods that are rotten beyond repair
- Stiff, old, crusty lead ropes or halters that are doing nobody any good
- Used magazines, newsletters, tags, paper bags, or print outs (recycle!)
- Broken-tine pitchforks or beat-up barely bristly brooms
- Super dirty rags that would ruin your washer if you tried to wash them (use them to wipe one last super gross thing before you send them on their way)
Take the garbage bags to the dumpster, toss them in, and congratulate yourself on completing step one!
Step Two - Let It Go!
Now take a hard look at what tack, equipment, blankets, or clothing you’re using on a daily basis and in competition. A beautiful tack room is simple and free of clutter. This is a great time to, as they say in the movie Frozen, Let It Go!
Think about what you would like to upgrade or treat yourself to this year. If you are planning on a new mid-weight turnout blanket, consider donating your old blanket to a rescue or club.
Tack that you no longer use can be taken to a used tack sale, donated to a local non-profit, listed on ebay or craig’s list, consigned, or offered to riding friends.
Empty out whatever container you keep your grooming supplies in and pair them down to the bare necessities. I know it feels weird to get rid of perfectly usable brushes, but really, do you need four hoof picks? Personally, I keep receiving tiny face brushes as gifts from non-horsey people who thought they were cute. They are extremely cute! But, I always just use a normal sized brush and the tiny face brushes get squished and neglected at the bottom of the bag.
If you are having trouble deciding what should stay and what should go, remember that you will want to have one of each of these key pieces of tack and equipment. Choose the one you like best and send the other ones packing!
Suggested Essentials for Your Beautiful Tack Room
- Show Halter/Lead
- Turnout Halter/Lead
- Bridle for each horse and discipline
- Saddle for each horse/rider and discipline
- Girth or Cinch for each horse
- Selection of bits in different sizes, types
- Show Tack/Clothing/Boots
- Longe Line
- Longe Whip
- Crop or Whip
- Other training aid that you use daily
- A few pairs of wraps and boots in the correct sizes
- Bare necessity brushes
- Detangler/Fly Spray/Hoof Dressing
- First aid kit for horses and people
- Blankets in varying weights
- Cooler and/or quartersheet
Before you leave the Let It Go stage, gather up anything that doesn’t strictly belong in a tack room, such as clothing or shoes you happened to take off there, books that could come back inside, ribbons or prizes, vet records, etc.
Step Three - Clean It Up!
One of the key elements of a beautiful tack room is cleanliness. Even the most luxury tack room will look tired and drab if there is dust and horse hair on things.
Gather up your grooming tools, buckets, scoops, bell boots, bits, and anything else plastic or metal that can handle a good soaking. Take it all to the wash rack and fill the biggest buckets with hot soapy water. Stuff everything in the buckets after spraying off any serious grossness with the hose. Brushes might benefit from an effervescent brush cleaning solution. Leave everything soaking and proceed to laundry.
Gather up any equine laundry that needs washing and bag it for the blanket service to pick up or toss it in the washing machine.
Pull out all leather goods and give them a good scrubbing and conditioning. If you normally don’t take your bridles apart to clean them, now is a good time to do that.
I put my bits in the dishwasher, which my husband hates, and they come out looking brand new. Now that you are done with tack, you can toss the rags and sponges you used in the washer with some wraps or pads.
Return to the wash rack to scrub and rinse everything off. Lay it all out to dry and grab a broom and a rag. Give the tack room a good sweeping and wipe down any surfaces that have collect dust over the past year.
Return everything to it’s place and breathe deep! Your beautiful tack room now looks and smells amazing plus it’s easy to find what you need and you’ve even got room to make a trip to the tack store for something new!
If you are really ambitious, you’re now ready to do some remodeling or decor to make your tack room dreams a reality! Here are some of our favorite beautiful tack rooms for inspiration. Do they look as good as yours does now?