Love it or hate it, mucking out is part and parcel of owning a horse, but this daily task can be made all the more easy if you pick the right tools to suit the bedding you use and your stable routine.
With the right kit you can save time, effort, bedding and money – and your yard will look spick and span too.
The best tools for mucking out are always the ones that have been specifically designed to work with the bedding you use. If you bed your horse on shavings, then a shavings fork will do the best job. A more traditional pitchfork will work best with a straw bed.
There are a number of forks that have been designed to work with several different types of bedding. Known as crossover forks, these will work on a variety of bedding types, such as large flake shavings, straw and chopped straw.
“Whichever fork you choose, the balance of the fork is critical as this reduces the amount of effort you need to put in to muck out,” explains Leon Fynn, general manager of Fyna-Lite.
The design of the fork also has to reflect your personal requirements, as well as what type of bedding you prefer to use for your horse. Your height, for instance, can have a big influence on which tools you’ll find easier to use, so you’ll need to consider what length of handle will suit you best. Some manufacturers also offer different styles of grip – again, this comes down to personal choice. The weight of the handle and the head of the fork, whether made of metal or plastic, are all factors you need to consider before buying.
“It’s true to say that mucking out is a very personal thing,” says Leon, “and if you don’t have the right fork for the job, mucking out takes longer, puts more strain on your back and can be an expensive mistake if you make the wrong decision.”
The type of broom you choose is also an important and personal consideration. Do you go for a traditional brush or one with synthetic bristles? There’s also the decision on what size of broom to go for.
“The range of brooms available is simply mind boggling,” laughs Leon. “The level of passion that people have for their favourite yard broom is frankly a little scary!”
Corn brooms are popular and work really well in those hard to reach places and on uneven areas such as cobbles. Sweeping the yard is hard work, so finding the best broom to suit your needs may mean you need to try out a few different ones before making your choice.
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