Archive for the ‘Equipment’ Category

We did a fire extinguisher inventory this week on our home, offices, barn and all ranch outbuildings and replaced or recharged 4 units.

Check the gauge annually to be sure the fire extinguisher is properly charged.

This should be an annual event, so here’s a reminder for you to put it on one of your TO-DO lists.

To view a video clip on how to choose a fire extinguisher, go here and choose the 4th video clip in the left hand column.


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Backing Up a Horse Trailer:

Advice for New Truck and Trailer Drivers

If you have never backed up a trailer, it can be a confusing and non-intuitive maneuver. If you want the trailer to turn left, the rear end of your rig must go right. You often gauge your progress by looking in a side or rear view mirror, which reverses things. So, how do you manage it? By going slow, practicing, using a helpful ground person and/or frequently putting the truck in park, getting out and walking walking around the trailer to see what’s happening. Here’s some tips from Equipping Your Horse Farm that will help make the maneuver second nature:

Equipping Your Horse Farm by Cherry Hill and Richard Klimesh


  • Put your hand in the center of the bottom of the steering wheel. If you want the back of the trailer to move to the left, move your hand to the left.
  • If you want the back of the trailer to go to the right, move your hand to the right.
  • For a sharp turn, turn the steering wheel before you press the accelerator.
  • For a gradual turn, turn the steering wheel and press the accelerator at the same time.
  • Once the trailer is going in the direction you want, you need to straighten out the truck wheels to have your truck follow the trailer.

©  2010 Cherry Hill


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Hi Cherry,

I’ve finally convinced my husband we need to buy a tractor and wonder if there are different kinds of buckets. Can you advise us?


Hi Ann,

I’m not sure what type of work you plan to do with your tractor and what size your horse farm is, but here is some information on buckets AKA loaders from my book Equipping Your Horse Farm.

A front-end loader is a large bucket mounted on the front of the tractor and used for scooping up and moving quantities of material. On a horse farm, that material is most often manure, but a front-end loader can move gravel, dirt, bedding, and even snow. If your tractor didn’t come with a loader, you can add one (made by the same manufacturer or a third party), along with an auxiliary hydraulic system, as long as the loader is specifically designed to work on your tractor.

The bucket size for your tractor depends on what you are going to use the bucket for. If you are going to use the tractor loader to scrape and clean stalls, choose a bucket that is slightly wider than the front tires of the tractor so that you can scrape up next to a wall or a fence without the front tires getting in the way. A large capacity bucket is fine for manure or mulch, but a smaller bucket is needed for heavier materials like stone or hard-packed earth.


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I’d like to get a washing machine for horse blankets, can you recommend a particular machine you’ve had good luck with? I don’t want to fry my home machine, ruin the blanket on the agitator, or block up the water supply (top 3 complaints I’ve heard about using home machines which were meant for human laundry).

Thank you! Linda

Hi Linda,

No matter what machine you purchase and use, it helps if you brush and vacuum any horse items before you put them in the machine. That will remove hair, break up any dirt or sweat and decrease the amount of stuff that would block up the drain. And with a dryer, one must be diligent about keeping all screens and vents clean of hair and lint.

I have quite a few articles on horse clothing at my website’s Horse Information Roundup including some on care.

Now to the washing machine. The first washing machine I had for barn laundry was an industrial wringer washer. Advantage was that it didn’t have to be plumbed in – you could fill it with a hose and empty it out in the wash rack drain. It rolled around on wheels so could be stored, then rolled out to use. It did a good job of cleaning barn cloths and small sheets and blankets but because it was an agitator model, even though it had a large capacity tub, it wasn’t the greatest for the big puffy blankets. AND is was very labor intensive to wring out the items, then refill with rinse water, then wring again. And the wringer could be a bugger on some buckles and other hardware. I’ll bet you weren’t even considering a wringer washer but I wanted to mention it just in case. Some people still swear by them but I’d have to say it was great in the experience column but not one I’d recommend.

The next machine I had installed in my tack room was a Sears Kenmore agitator model. When we upgraded our washer and dryer in the house (with another Sears Kenmore Washer Dryer combo), I put the old set in the barn. That was over 15 years ago and both sets are still humming along ! It was the largest capacity at the time of manufacture (pre-1990) so nothing like the large capacity, front load machines today, and yet, it has been completely satisfactory for my needs.

However, if I needed to replace my tack room machine today, it would definitely be a front load since there is no twisting and wringing of blankets with a front load and you can purchase some very large capacity models. But then you probably know all that.

You might have been asking for a brand name recommendation so since I’ve had long standing good luck with Sears Kenmore, I’d start there. I’m not sure how Kenmore stacks up with other models, so I’d have to do some research before I bought.Consumer Reports is always a good source of comments on items like this, so I’d recommend checking their latest review of front load washers.

And I just typed “washing machine reviews” in google and see there are a number of sites with great information and ratings – once you narrow things down, that would be a good place to check on repair history and so on.

So I probably haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know but perhaps by posting this, we will get some comments here from other horseowners who have used machines for barn laundry which is what we both would be very interested in hearing about.

Cherry Hill


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We’ve had more rain than usual this year which has made the maintenance of our outdoor arena interesting.

We live at approximately 7000 feet in a semi-arid climate (15 inches of rain per year) so dust is our usual problem.

But this year with the rain (and hail !) packing down the footing, it seems like a non-stop job to keep it fluffed up !

After a number of rain days in a row, the arena had turned into a hard pan, felt like concrete when you walked across it. I kept waiting for that perfect time when we got just enough moisture to soak into the decomposed granite soil to wet it without it being too soggy.

If I time it right, I can get by with using just the rotary harrow but if things get out of hand, I have to call on Mr. Big Disc to work the hard surface, but sometimes a disc will work the footing TOO deep.

So after 0.27 inches of rain last night, I hopped on Ruby (my Massey) and raised the bucket so I would clear the arena rails once I got to rockin’ and a rollin’. Then I drove very slow on the initial pass so the harrow would really dig in.

With each subsequent pass, I kicked Ruby up a notch and soon was smoothing perfect footing.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of an arena harrowing.

Have a great ride.

Equipping Your Horse Farm by Cherry Hill and Richard Klimesh

Equipping Your Horse Farm by Cherry Hill and Richard Klimesh

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