Tips for Keeping Your Tack Room Organized
Updated December 13, 2022
It’s a struggle to stay organized with all the comings and goings that happen at the barn. Between managing feedings, mucking, turnout, riding, and the seemingly endless list of other things that go into caring for your horse, organizing your tack room tends to fall to the bottom of the list of priorities. However, an organized, tidy tack room will make finding things easy, help you keep your tack in its best condition, and declutter your mind to let you focus more on your horse!
How to Organize Your Tack Room
Whether you’re setting up a new tack room at a show, doing some spring cleaning, or trying to develop a floorplan for all your boarders’ belongings, use these tips to keep everyone’s tack neat and organized.
You Can Never Have Too Many Labels
The label maker will be your best friend when organizing the tack room. Label cabinets, drawers, Tupperware containers, bridle hooks, saddle racks, and other organizers according to the horse’s name, the owner’s name, or what’s inside the space.
As a new horse owner comes into the barn, assign them a cubby, locker, wall box, or designated space in the tack room. Then, give their space a proper label with their last name clearly visible. If you’re a barn manager who orders all tack, equipment, and horse clothes for the clients, label everything with embroidery, engraving, or brass tags.
Use Cubbies and Organizers
If your tack room already has cubbies or lockers built in, then you’ve got a great starting base! Cubbies can be used to store each horse or rider’s grooming supplies, wraps, saddle pads, treats, helmets, gloves, hair nets, and any other personal items. Above the cubby, you can install saddle racks and bridle hooks so each rider’s equipment can be stored near their own cubby. Installing a steel bar above the cubbies that runs the length of a wall is another way to store saddles.
If your tack room is more of a blank slate, then you have the freedom to plan and design the area as you see fit using bridle racks and tack hooks, saddle stands and racks, tack trunks, and other types of storage. Racks with labeled Tupperware-type drawers are a budget-friendly way of keeping polos and boots, standing wraps, and other necessary barn supplies handy but out of the way. Also, think about how people can best traffic in and out of the room while maximizing the area.
Have an Overstock Area
Depending on how many horses and riders are at the barn and the size of the tack room, it could seem impossible to properly store all the supplies everyone may need daily. So, you may want to designate an “overstock area” such as a separate room or shed nearby. You could keep back-up items, like extra saddle pads and spare helmets, or store blankets in that area, too. Meanwhile in the barn, you could have blanket storage bags on the stall fronts or hanging rug racks to make better use of the available space.
Organize Reins and Girths by Size
If you have multiple reins, draw reins, or girths (as many lesson barns do) hang them by size from small pony size to large draft horses. Organizing and labeling these hanging items by their size will help everyone quickly find the right one they may need.
Designate a Cleaning Station
Whether in the tack room or just outside of it, having a designated cleaning station with supplies on hand will keep everything organized and encourage riders to clean and condition their tack more often. A saddle horse or travel saddle stand can fit leather cleaning supplies underneath - including soaps, sprays, oils, conditioners, and sponges – and usually has space for multiple saddles to go on top.
You could also plan to keep the cleaning station by the laundry area, too, with deodorizers and disinfectants available. Organize your laundry with bins for different colors – light, dark, and mixed with a rack above each to keep wraps neat and folded. A commercial-sized washer and one dryer for barn supplies only will make your life easier!
Tack Room Hacks
Every barn has their own clever tricks for organizing the tack room for their riders’ specific needs. Here are some tack room hack examples:
- If there are a few young riders of different ages and sizes at the barn, you could hang some of the lesson helmets on a large tack cleaning hook.
- Put your girths into large lingerie bags when they’re dirty, and then put those bags into the laundry to prevent damage to the washer and dryer.
- DIY storage for lunge whips, dressage whips, and crops could be an umbrella holder.
Securely Store Medications and Client-Owned Supplies
Medications and client-owned supplies can be kept in locked cabinets that are out of reach of children (or the barn cat) for safety and security. Clearly label the outside of the cabinet itself and then each of the levels inside. Mark all medications with the clients’ names. Also, put reminders on your calendar to go through the medicine cabinet once a month to monitor expiration dates and let the vet know what you need to restock.
Keep Horse Show Supplies Organized and Ready to Go
If you are horse showing often, having a special tack box that travels in the horse trailer to every show with you is a great way to stay organized. Your horse show travel box can be filled with all the supplies you may need for a one-day event or week-long competition. After each show, re-organize and re-stock your supplies as needed so the box will be ready to go by the time of your next competition.
Use Office Organizers and White Boards
Near the tack room or barn office, have a small desk or tabletop where you can store documents such as your lesson schedule, rider release forms, and boarding agreements. These documents should be easily and readily accessible. Along those lines, a large whiteboard is an essential in almost every barn for clear communication and scheduling – whether for lessons, turnout, exercising horses, or ordering supplies.
Miscellaneous Tack Room Essentials
Here’s a few final tips for all those odds and ends that go into making a barn and tack room organized and safe:
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher clearly visible in or near the tack room that is checked annually by the fire department.
- Have a routine of taking the trash out of the tack room at the end of every day.
- Get an alarm system for the tack room so it can be locked every night to protect the investment your clients have made in their tack and equipment.
- Have a designated spot in your barn’s refrigerator for horse treats. Large barns will be better suited to having a separate freezer that can hold bags of ice and multiple pairs of ice boots.
Special thanks to Karla Galasso and Holly Hill Farm in Marstons Mills, MA, for allowing us to peek into their brilliantly organized tack room for all the photos in this article.
Originally published August 18, 2014