Check out these eco-friendly and affordable tips for transforming your tack room.

Considering changes to your tack room? Maybe you want to get more organized, or do a green makeover, eliminating as many chemicals as you can from your tack box and horse-care cabinet.

There are many ways you can do this without breaking your budget. Having a good plan, using re-purposed items, and utilizing your DIY skills will help you get the job done efficiently and inexpensively, in as little as one weekend.

The first step in any project is to identify and make a list of your needs, wants and limitations. Before you fill your list, first check out your friends’ tack rooms or visit a site like Pinterest for design ideas.

What is it you want in your tack room? What are your space limitations? Measure doors and windows. Make note of walls that have plenty of space for saddle, blanket and bridle racks. Think about storage for blankets and medical supplies – will there be trunks or cabinets? You want your items to be easy to reach, so you won’t be lifting heavy saddles onto high racks, or searching for emergency supplies when you’re in a panic.

When you’re ready, remove everything from your tack room. Look at each item with the thought of either keeping, donating or tossing it. Pay special attention to your grooming and medicine products, since many are full of chemicals that are harmful to you and your horse.

Next, clean the room from top to bottom using an eco-friendly mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda mixed into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water.

Now that you have your layout, and a clean space, let’s look at organization. Finding creative ways to store and hang things will help. Using re-purposed materials and items is the best way to do this in an eco-friendly way.

Saddle and bridle racks

Let’s start with tack. Saddle and bridle racks can be made from scrap lumber, so see if you have any lying around, or find a local construction site and ask them for what you need. They are often happy to share leftover materials because it reduces what they have to haul away. There are two types of saddle racks you can make from lumber – free-standing or collapsible wall-hanging. You can Google the instructions on how to make these, or find them ready to order on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of The Budget Equestrian.

Bridle racks can be made from re-purposed wooden material, scrap PVC, tin cans, horseshoes and even broken Breyer Horses!

If you are looking for saddle racks with storage, try re-purposed supplement buckets, or large mailboxes.

Storage ideas

Storage for brushes and blankets should be high on your list, as we all know how these items can accumulate! Blankets can be hung from re-purposed wood racks similar to your collapsible saddle racks, or else kept in bins. Allow plenty of wall space if you hang blankets, and remember to have them cleaned before storing them in a bin.

Brushes and grooming supplies can be organized in either a movable tote or in a permanent location. I like an up-cycled shutter grooming box (pictured here) as it’s simple to make and easy to clean.  If you have a permanent location in mind, you can use shoe cubbies for your grooming supplies.

Products in, products out

The last area of concern in our makeover is the cleaning, grooming and health products we use in the barn and on our horses. Certain products in our grooming totes can be outright hazardous to the health of our animals, our Earth and ourselves. To stop the toxic overload, we need to become more aware of our everyday choices surrounding our horses and barns.  Now is a great time to get rid of half-empty bottles of harsh chemicals (take them to a hazardous waste depot rather than putting them in the garbage or dumping them down a drain). Switch to more environmentally-conscious products. You can certainly make your own tack-cleaning and horse-grooming products if you like, but there are so many companies on the “green” bandwagon now that you don’t really need to anymore.

If you want to make your own horse shampoo, for example, I suggest Googling “eco-friendly horse shampoo” to find recipes. If you are buying pre-made, look for products with ingredients you recognize and can pronounce. Words like biodegradable, natural and earth-friendly in the product description are indicators that they are safe alternatives (but make sure you carefully read the label to rule out undesirable ingredients, since some companies use “natural” in the name as a marketing ploy).

 First aid for your eco-friendly tack room

  • Having a first aid kit on hand for your horse is essential for do-it-yourself treatments or in case of emergency while you await the veterinarian or need to stabilize your horse for transport to an equine hospital. EquiMedic offers multiple sizes of Equine First Aid Kits containing from 35 to 88 different products.
  • Equaide is an effective treatment for cuts, wounds, abrasions and proud flesh.
    • Prevents the formation of excessive granulation tissue
    • Dissolves proud flesh without harming healthy tissue
    • Speeds healing and prevents infection
    • Won’t burn (water-based), blister, slough or scar
    • Promotes hair growth
    • Repels insects and won’t drip off wounds

I hope this article inspired you, and provided plenty of ideas for your own eco-friendly, tack room makeover.