There are things that are always in your barn. Buckets are in stalls, your halter is there from when you bought it. Who knows how long those SmartPak supplements have been sitting in your car because you keep forgetting to take them into the barn with you. We asked SmartPak to share their professional opinion on the best time to replace these barn staples.

Buckets

“It depends on your horse. The way your horse eats and drinks, messy or clean, will be the determining factor in how often you have to get new buckets. If your horse uses their buckets as toys, and they become warped or destroyed, that’s the only real time you need to replace your buckets. As long as you’re making sure to clean them, that is. “If you have a tidy drinking, you might only need to dump his water a few times a week; while a hay-dunker or bucket-pooper might need fresh water multiple times a day.

Like with anything else you own, cleaning and maintenance will help extend the life of your bucket. To make sure your buckets last as long as possible, adopting a weekly scrubbing routine for slime management is the best way. Or, if a weekly bucket scrub can’t fit into your schedule, SmartPak recommends the Equifit CleanBucket. “It’s infused with ionic silver to control bacterial growth and minimize bucket slime.” According to test results, buckets only had to be cleaned every 1 – 2 months.

Supplements

So many horse owners are huge fans of SmartPak’s supplements. Sometimes, though, packages come in and we forget that the latest shipment of supplements is still sitting at home, or in the car–aka, not in the barn where they should be. So what happens when you find an older box of supplements? Check the date. “We recommend feeding SmartPaks within six months of the date on which they’re made,” SmarkPak says. Six months of being stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. “Heat, moisture, and sunlight can all compromise the quality of the supplements.” So how do you find out how old your supplements are? On each strip of SmartPaks, there are “shipped on” dates to help horse owners identify old SmartPaks versus new.

Saddle Pads

We all have those old, beat up saddle pads that are there for the “just in case” rides. Or to cushion the saddle rack. Or just because we can’t part with them. Thankfully, these are one of those things that–as long as you take care of them–will last until they fall apart. Again, this is a piece of tack that cleaning regularly will only help extend the life of. According to SmartPak, you also want to make sure you’re cleaning your saddle pads regularly to, “avoid any skin irritations or fungal/bacterial concerns” for your horse. If you’re using a Sheepskin pad, SmartPak cautions you to make sure you’re using the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to help maintain the fleece’s softness.

When it comes down to barn equipment and horse supplies, remaining vigilant is the key to their longevity. Check dates, check wash instructions, and make sure you’re cleaning what you use regularly. Not only will this make your investments last longer, it’s also what’s best and what’s healthiest for your horse.

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