Tack room

Also in an open stable there's always something to store that would be put into the tack room in a regular stable. Sooner or later you cannot avoid setting up such a place. Grooming boxes, halters, tool box, spare parts, pharmaceuticals and all the rest of it - the list could be continued almost indefinitely. All things that should be kept in such a way that the horses have no access facilities and equally that strangers that "go astray" into our stable cannot wreak disorder and calamity. The tack room may well be very small, 2m² are absolutely sufficient, but it should be securely lockable. Very useful are an old tall cupboard and/or a small commode to be able to maintain order and to have a place to put something down. It needn't necessarily be stunning, maybe you'll find one or another lusty and operable toots in grandma's cellar or at the next bulk collection, then they say snap at the chance. Equally important for the tack room is a solid ground, e. g. made of washed concrete slabs or paving stones, then you needn't stand in the mud here again and if you drop something it's not full of dirt in an instant.

However, a real problem are always the mice. You are unable to seal the room as leakproof so that those animals won't find a way in nevertheless. In our tack room we even had the problem that a part of the floor paved with stones subsided because the mice excavated channels underneath and created a large nest - well protected from every cat! Thus, you cannot avoid obeying some rules to embank the exasperating mice problem as much as possible:

  • The chamber needs to be cleaned up regularly, i. e. clearing out all cabinets and wipe clean with a disinfectant (e. g. Sagrotan). mice excrement is not only insanitary but it can pass on dangerous diseases to humans, e. g. hantaviruses!
  • In no case you should store foodstuffs or other things the mice might fret at in the chamber. The animals attracted by this will destroy and contaminate further things.
  • Everything that should or must be stored in the tack room and is threatened by mice fretting must be kept in protected, enclosed containers, e. g. glas bottles, sufficiently thick-walled, firmly sealed, fret resistant plastic containers, etc.
  • Based on our experience you shouldn't place baits with rat poison (rodenticide) in the tack room! These baits in general do work by an agent that blocks the blood coagulation, rats and mice will die by internal hemorrhage with a delay of a couple of days. However, by these baits additional rodents are attracted and in an open stable there's enough "makeup supply" so that you won't get the tack room free from rodents this way. Quite the contrary, due to the placed baits it will be intensifiedly infested. Moreover, cats and other animals of prey could be poisoned by eating venomed rodents. Better: The good, old mousetrap inside of the tack room and a gaggle of cats outsides!

In this context maybe an anecdote concerning the subject "rat baits":

A couple of years ago a pest exterminator placed rat poison in a riding club in the Rhein-Main area well known to us, also around the horse boxes - "No problem, the horses leave them alone!" However, a couple of days later it struck that some of these baits had disappeared and nothing could be brought to light about their whereabouts. And of course it couldn't be found out if contrary to the statement of the pest exterminator after all one of the horses did eat a bait. As a safety measure thereupon all horses that potentually could have eaten a bait had to be treated with rat poison antidote. The antitoxin for rat poison is vitamin K at high dosages and for horses you need quite an amount of it! The result of this mission was that all(!) stockpile of vitamin K from whole Hesse had to be hauled in to treat the horses. From our point of view we can only advice to keep your hands off such poison, unfortunately they don't solve any problems but in extreme cases produce new ones!

Now something concerning another topic, unfortunately an even more exasperating one than the mice! The headline of this page indeed is called "tack room" and we recommend to setup one. However you shouldn't follow the slogan "Nomen est omen" and stock your saddles in the tack room of your open stable! Sooner than you like you will make the acquaintance of the facts of a case called "grand theft by housebreaking" by the police. Early in the morning you arrive at the stable for feeding and you find your tack room broken open, the content looted and the stocked saddles away never to be seen again! Afterwards lots of trouble with the household insurance (if it covers at all) and with the new procurement of the saddles. Apparently in Germany meanwhile a downright Mafia exists, specialized on saddle theft, marauding up and down the country and ambushing at night at places promissing easy prey. Hereof not only the small, private open stables somewhere on the open field are struck but by all means also regular riding stables, especially if they are located suitably remote and orphaned at night. Every whipstitch you hear of a new burglary somewhere in the region, such a case is rarely ever solved. Hence we can only give the hint here not to permanently stock any expensive valuables whatsoever in the tack room, especially no saddles! Bite the bullet, take your saddle home with you in the evening and bring it back again when riding the next time. That's all. At the latest if one morning the door of your tack room unexpectedly stands wide open you will be thankful to have heeded our advice.

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This page was last modified on 19/01/2015 from Sabine Brockamp