Barn Hacks & DIY Projects

Arena Jump Setup

Being an equestrian can be rather expensive, particularly when you try to purchase a simple item and it has been upcharged two or three times simply because it has a horse label attached to it. While we love our horses as part of the family and we want to purchase every little thing for them, do not forget that there are plenty of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and barn hacks that you can do to save money and make more happen. An owner first needs to make sure that they budget reality and that the horse is always cared for alongside taking care to not put themselves in a situation where they are financially struggling. When you are free of financial stress, you can do way more for your horse in good spirits.

But all horse people are broke!

That is the common joke and stereotype of the horse world but it does not have to be true! First and foremost, make sure that you make a budget in which you spend less than you make per month. RPE endorses the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps in finding financial peace and stability through following his path to becoming debt-free and building wealth. Following his simple steps, you will write out a detailed budget for your expected income and designate all of your bills and expenses. Doing this will take away part of the stress and burden in knowing that you already have money set aside for important categories (such as gas and horse feed). Once all basic categories are covered (including your Debt Attack category), you may look at planning small sinking funds on the side in which you let money grow in an external account that is to be used for that sinking fund target. Sinking funds can be Christmas gifts, horse show expenses, vehicle maintenance, big future anticipated purchases, horse medical bills & supplements, and more. However, try to only create a sinking fund for what you actually need! Once you are out of debt (if you have any as many normal people do - don't try to be normal, it sucks!) and financially stable, you will be amazed at the lifestyle that you can build.

DIY projects not only help save money on plenty of services and products but also provide a certain level of self-satisfaction in solving a problem or creating a product yourself. There are many DIY barn projects and barn hacks that are available online through enough searching and enough creativity. This page is dedicated towards highlighting successful DIY projects and barn hacks that have been extremely useful and cost-effective for RPE.

Simple Barn Maintenance & Organization

There are plenty of barn maintenance and organization hacks to research and adopt that make life much easier and more professional. Organization and keeping the barn tidy is an important trait of RPE in order to make sure everything has a place and that the barn is open and inviting. Aside from consistently cleaning the water trough, raking the aisle, and sweeping the stairs and mats, RPE also makes sure that the stalls and cross-ties stay clean, tack is regularly checked for cleaning, and a binder of thorough information and a summarized check-list for feed shifts allow for all handlers to have clear understanding of RPE's expectations when caring for our horses.

LED White Christmas Lights - Beautiful Barn Lighting

Light in a barn is extremely helpful during operations, particularly during the long nights that fall during the end of the year. In my situation, I had lighting inside the barn and in front of the barn. However, I found myself struggling with the lack of lighting that was available on the side of the barn under the overhang. It made sense for when the barn was built, as we would groom and tack up inside the barn stalls at the time. However, I much prefer tacking up outside and on cross ties now as it's more open and it's easier to get around. Up until now, I've simply dealt with the dilemma but also haven't been riding as much in the dark season with the cold. Now that I'm looking at riding more after work with the arena lights set up, I wanted to make sure that I had enough adequate lighting for before and after. Not only were the lights easy to set up, but the LED bulbs also output a solid amount of light for one strand. In addition to now having extra lighting under my overhang, the project also just glows like the night sky and has an elegant and beautiful look to it. I only have one 60' strand up at the moment, but very well may add one more as they easily attach to each other.

Baling Twine - Ribbon Decoration

There are many uses of baling twice which have been implemented from decorating the barn with show ribbons to hanging up box fans during the summer season along with bungee cords. And if you find yourself in possession of too many ribbons that aren't doing anything, put them to work and allow them to decorate your barn. You'd be amazed at the difference colorful ribbons in a riding stable makes.

Vet Wrap - Protection & Stability

As for our wood railing that younger riders use for stability, everyday vet wrap has been used to prevent any wood splinters from occuring and also allow for more grip.

JeffersPet Portable Blanket Bar - Blanket Organization

Portable blanket bars from JeffersPet have been the most budget-friendly product that is a steal in its purchase price for blanket organization. Vet wrap can also be used on the blanket bars for a better grip as well so that the blankets do not slide right off.

Cost-Efficient, Customized Tack Trunks

The 37 in. Husky Utility Cart has been a barn favorite for tack and feed trunks that comes with two keys, wheels attached, and a grooming / tool caddy all included for the cost-effective price of $50 at Home Depot (actually bought my third one on sale for $40!). But if you would rather get your tack trunk sold with or without wheels for over twice that much, you do you. I also customized each tack trunk for each mare by using some simple paint tape to make a large letter stencil and spray painted each letter with multiple layers.

Cost-Efficient & Simple Skirt-Hanger Saddle Pad Dryer & Organizer

If you have any hanging area, such as a staircase or higher shelf, you can add a pole or a curtain rail to allow for skirt hangers to help you organize your saddle pads. You can buy pretty cheap skirt hangers from a local dollar store that can handle the job well. Not only does it help keep everything looking neat and tidy all in one convenient location, but hanging them inside-out can also help keep them clean and allow them to properly dry after a good workout.

Cost-Efficient & Simple Metal Bit Warmer for Winter

Not sure why it took this long for this hack to come to light, but RPE uses a simple heating pad during cold weather to warm up the metal bits of the horse's bridles so that they're ready to ride. The heating pad also helps warm back up our riders' hands if they need a few minutes to regain feeling in their frozen fingers!

Open-Top Round Bale Feeder - Extend Hay Life

We just recently got the Tarter Equine Pro Feeder with Hay Saver (Horse Bale Feeder) from R&D Cross with the goal of extending the life of our round bales through less wasted hay. Especially with going into winter where there is less grass to consume, the horses usually consume a given round bale a day or more earlier with the change in their grazing routine. Having some protection for the round bale that at least ensures that they do not stomp all of the dropped hay into the ground (which Mocha loves to do as she now has a lovely bed of hay she likes to sleep on in that area) should help with this dilemma. However, this section will require updating after a bit of time in an official review. We also were only looking for open-top bale feeders so that no horse can get their head caught while eating if a more dominant horse comes by.

Grain Scale - Effective Equine Nutrition

Feeding based on weight and not by scoop measurements is a critical factor in horse care that is often overlooked due to a lack of effort. This is not any kind of an attack towards people who are feeding by scoop measurements (I used to do the same based on the grain amount recommendations for different horse types). Having switched to ADM Horse Grain and taking more care to measure out grain consumption by body weight, I have noticed a drastic improvement in the quality of my horses' energy and moods. And finding a scale is not at all difficult, as I purchased two relatively cheap food scales off of Amazon in which I keep one in the barn and one at home. The scales have been working perfectly without a battery replacement for over a year so far and allow for proper zeroing-out of the feed scoop so that I may accurately measure the weight of the actual grain amount. After doing multiple conversions to get from pounds to ounces, my feeding system has never been more consistent nor effective!

Metal Trash Cans - Grain Storage

While on the topic of grain, metal trash cans are my personal recommendation for grain storage. Not only do they stay nice and clean with every use, but they also provide a strong barrier that critters cannot get into. And when the occasional critter does come and manages to figure out how to pop off one of the lids, I either put a cinderblock on top or use a bungee cord to secure the lid to the side handles. As for distinguishing which can is which, I prefer the larger cans for my base grain and the smaller cans for my supplemental grain. On top of can size, I also use duck tape with sharpie to clearly identify to additional handlers which grain is which to prevent confusion and mixups.

Cheap Plastic Shed - Grain Delivery System

As for restocking grain, my local feed store delivers grain due to conflicting hours and unloads all contents into my pop-up, plastic shed that I purchased just for this reason. Instead of having the delivery people deal with bringing the grain to the barn and risk the horses getting out (the barn is in the pasture), this shed stands outside the gate and has been a fantastic investment that is simple, straight-forward, and protective of my delivery until I arrive and restock my feed cans.

Heavy-Duty Pop-Up Outdoor Carport Storage Shelter with Installed House Vents - Small Storage System for Round Bales

Getting a round bale every week for the herd can get a little taxing on my supplier delivering the rounds. Having been looking into a solution for proper storage for a while now and reading tons of reviews, I finally made a decision to try out one of the pop-up carport sheds. I purchased a 7x12 ft one for approximately $200, as well as purchased a pair of basic house vents to be secured with Gorilla Glue to prevent condensation. Assembling the shed would've been much easier with a second hand but was doable by myself and a mounting block (the cover was the hardest part). After the shed was assembled, I made sure to carefully measure and cut out a section for the vents in the front and back of the shed (making sure to start with too-small a hole and slowly widening it as necessary). Once I was satisfied with the vent sitting comfortably inside the hole (it had the popped-out back portion of the vent that it could rest on - was not completely flat), then I applied Gorilla Glue around all inside edges of the vent before popping it back into the hole. Using a PVC pipe to lean against the vent and apply pressure for stabilizing, I applied more Gorilla Glue along the edges of the vent both on the front and back and left it for several hours under pressure. So far, so good! I am satisfied with my round bale storage system to protect against the weather elements (not forgetting the wood pallets to keep off the ground). I also added a slight ramp to my front pallet to make storaging onto the pallet much easier as it is being done by hand.

Color-Coding Each Horse - Simple Use & Organization of Care & Equipment

Since the beginning of owning horses, my family got into the habit of color-coding our horses according to each horse owner's color preference. I have continued the habit of color-coding each horse's care and performance equipment since and it truly does make life easier, particularly when there are new handlers involved who are still learning where everything is. For our horses, In Your Dreams is associated with purple, Celtic Class is associated with blue, and Dark Delight is associated with red. These color associations help with their feed buckets, stall water buckets, blanket sizes, and more and are definitely a habit of recommendation!

LED Flood Lights - Bright & Far Arena Lighting

We installed two 100W LED Flood Lights for arena lighting after thorough research of product details and reviews. The pair that we have actually came as a deal for two which was also a plus and a family-friend electrician was able to install them for us! LED was definitely the way to go without doubt and the light reaches across the field in some areas that are not blocked by trees! Ideally, we would like to get more of them but that would require running new wires (the old light posts were already set up) and frankly it would be more of a luxury than anything at the moment. Plenty of light covers the riding area between the two as well as the lights that are already on the barn. Extremely happy with these lights!

24/7 Security Camera Surveillance - Protection & Peace of Mind

Another must-do for any barn is to do one's research and determine the best security camera surveillance system that is appropriate for you. Cameras offer multiple benefits that range from protection to solving the mystery of why your horse may come in lame on a random occasion (maybe they got kicked or slipped when playing during turnout, you'll never know unless you have proof!). If there is a proper WiFi setup, you can even set up your system to allow remote viewing from a mobile device so that you can check on your horses and facility whenever you feel like, or even keep an eye on when workers and riders are expected to be out to make sure that everyone is doing what they're supposed to be doing without problems. With plenty of storage, I can even go back and review a ride if one of my riders has questions about what they could've done better or what they could spend time working on when coming out to ride independently. There's simply too many benefits to installing a security camera surveillance system to not even consider doing so!

Geotextile Mud Solution

Many barns face flooding and mud problems both under shelters and out in the fields, particularly by gates and on inclines. Our issue was the former, where intense rainfall would lead to flooding around the outer perimeter of our barn. While our horses have full turnout and only come in for feed and medical concerns, any type of flooding was annoying enough to research potential solutions. Even outside the barn and under its overhang, the amount of rainfall got to the point where the covered area would stay muddy and refuse to dry out even in hot temperatures. It would get to the point where the horses would even prefer not to stand in the covered section due to the thickness of the mud.

With enough research into mud and erosion solutions, geotextile grids became a proven savior for RPE's mud control. The process was simple, requiring the area to be prepped, laying down the geotextile products, and filling it in with one's choice of material. For RPE's barn, prepping involved digging 6" deep to be below the stall doors and sloping downhill and away for drainage of heavy rainfall. After digging and checking measurements, it was time to lay down the geotextile fabric. Once the fabric was down, a geotextile grid of 6" height was spread out and anchored by simple tent spikes. Once the grid was secure, gravel was layed down across the grid so that all of the grid's lines were completely covered. Once the gravel was in the grid both by tractor and wheelbarrow, the gravel was compacted down by weight of a tractor and the weight of the horses over the next few days. As the gravel started getting packed down more, more gravel was added to once again cover the grid lines peeking out.

Another note for budgeted equestrians, this DIY barn project was done over several days and in two separate parts before the section was complete. The generic geotextile fabric and grids were purchased via Amazon at a much cheaper cost than any of the horse-labeled mud solution products were marketed for. I ordered 5 tons of Crush and Run gravel from Mulch and Stone (MD) for the first half and ordered 7 tons of gravel for the second half with the extra to be spread over the completed project. The solution has held up reliably well in heavy rainfall so far and even when wet, it has remained sturdy and comfortable enough for the horses.

~$300 Round Pen

One fantastic training aid in ground work is a round pen and has indeed been on the list with both DIY-building and purchasing being debated back and forth for a while now. After extensive research with regards to being cost-efficient, training-efficient, and labor-efficient, I have successfully completed the DIY Round Pen project to my satisfaction. The completed project cost less than $300 and I spent two long afternoons on a nice weekend from start to finish. I originally planned for a 60' round pen but due to strategic placement in my field, I ended up sizing out and deciding on a 55' round pen (which means I had a little extra lumber to work with on other projects!).

Getting more into detail about the materials and the rough breakdown of costs, for a 60' round pen as originally planned for, the first and most expensive (financially and labor-wise) were the landscape timbers. Looking to space them out approximately 9' from each other (aside from the gate area that sits at 6' apart from each other), I purchased 21 landscape timbers at approximately $4 a piece which comes to the rough cost of $100. NOTE that if you go to Home Depot on a major holiday (especially the 4th of July), landscape timbers are on sale for half off (when I stocked up on my jump poles)! In addition to the collection of landscape timbers, I also picked up 7 cheap bags of cement, 5 of the 2"x4"x8' boards and 3 large heavy-duty hinges for the gate for an additional $70 give or take. Online through Amazon, I purchased 3 25-pack white plastic insulators for approximately $12 a piece and the 2" white Polytape roll of 670' for $65. The 3 packs of insulators and the single roll of Polytape allowed me to run 3 rails around my round pen easily with plenty of Polytape left over (although not enough for a 4th rail). Once again, roughly adding all of these costs up, I spent less than $300 on my project.

As for assembling, the completed project has, as mentioned prior, all posts spread apart 9' from each other with the gate section being 6' wide. Downsizing from the 60' round pen to a 55' round pen, I actually only ended up using 19 posts instead of 21 and made sure to walk the circumference of the round pen circle many times with markers for each post I was planning on (I had a measuring tape caught in the middle between 27' and 28' which I used as the center of a clock to keep walking around to ensure all posts had an even radius from the center). Once I was sure where all of the posts would be placed, I dug all of the holes personally with a post hole digger to be approximately 2' deep. Once all of the holes were dug (it was a warm day in winter - I was not waiting for the ground to freeze), I placed all of the landscape timbers in their holes to make sure everything looked as planned.

The next step was to add a little concrete to the lower portion of the post that was in the hole to help add a little support (do not fill the entire hole up with concrete!). After I finished putting concrete in all of the post holes (I had one bag left over for a later project use), I added water to posts for the concrete, taking care to make sure that the posts were as straight as possible during the process. The last major thing to do was to fill the holes back up with the dirt dug out of them. I will add here that I have a white-color primer that I used to coat the posts before I filled in the holes, allowing the bottom of the posts to look nicer. Regardless, at this point in which the holes were filled up, I left them to sit for the night before I looked to add any additional pressure to the posts. The installation of the posts was, as expected, easily the most difficult and most labor-expensive portion of the project.

As luck was on my side in giving me two nice days in a row during winter, I continued on with the easier portion of the project and attached 3 white insulators to the inside of each post. You could go either way in attaching to the inside or outside, but I prefer inside in the case that a horse being worked in the round pen puts pressure on the Polytape, it will have more support against the posts than without it. Once all three rows of the insulators were installed, I ran 3 rows of Polytape around the pen, making sure to keep an even and sturdy pressure on the Polytape to prevent slack in the line with great care to also avoid breaking any insulators off. I did wrap each row around the gate post with an extra insulator to allow for more support on the ends.

Once the Polytape rails were installed, the last thing to do was to assemble and install the front gate. There are many ways one could go about putting a gate up, including with leftover Polytape, but I wanted to have a wood gate for the door. Taking the 2"x4"x8' boards that I had, I made sure to size them up on the posts and then proceeded to cut them down to the 6' width, taking care to have 3 rails that will mock the Polytape and to have 2 side supporting pieces to keep the gate together. I was also originally going to have a diagonal board to help support the gate but didn't end up going that route (so now I also have an extra board to work with later). And while installing the gate to the post would've been much easier with a second hand, I was able to attach 3 heavy duty hinges from the gate to the post by myself fine. Using two screw eyes and a double end snap, I installed the locking system for the gate as the original slide bolt that I had intended wouldn't be the best route for my setup. Once the gate was installed, I also primed it and left it to dry overnight (you could prime the gate before installing it but I didn't feel like waiting).

The final product for this DIY project is a 55' bright-white simple round pen than I am extremely satisfied with and excited to work in. Ideally, you would also have a ground foundation with edge borders and sand or proper footing if you were going to do any serious work but my round pen was built with the main intention of doing ground work with my horses and staying active with EQUUS. Some lunging may be done in the round pen area (the slight incline is a partial incentive to allow them to work their muscles without my intervention), as well as having a small and secure location for complete beginners to feel comfortable learning to steer on their own in. However, this round pen is not expected to see any rigorous and continous training back to back to protect the integrity of the ground (aka not tear it into a mud pit). It is also an added bonus that I have a small miniature paddock in the event that a horse may need limited turnout due to any medical injuries, as this was not an option before (I would also like to point out that my mares are relatively well-behaved which is another reason that I am comfortable with this type of DIY round pen). Once again, I am overjoyed with the completion of my project, as it provides many perks including motivating me to do more ground work with my horses during the winter off-season.

Moveable Jump Pole Storage Rack

For jump pole storage, RPE has made use of a west horizontal lumber storage rack that is placed on a DIY caster base to be easily moved. I originally got stem casters which works great since it already has holes except that when I completely loaded up the pole rack, the two bases weren't connected for the support needed for outdoor rolling. I ended up bending the base a little as you can see in the close-up picture. Continuing to work the problem, I invested in plywood to connect the two bases as one and heavy duty 6" plate swivel casters that have been working great! I attempted to simply put my stem casters in the plywood as you can see it's a little torn up in the picture, but I'll find another use for them in the future. I also had already cut the plywood to 5'x3' as was the size of the lumber storage rack. I could've gone bigger, especially for the plate casters, but since I've gotten the materials that I have to work, I'll hold off on replacing the plywood unless needed.

Jump Pole Rack
Added Caster Base to Pole Rack
Completed Pole Rack

Jump Poles

Arena jump poles are crazy expensive and are rather easy to make solo. While some jumps are preferred to be purchased (such as cross-country jumps), basic jump poles are much more cost effective as DIY. To make it simple with the least amount of effort, 8' landscape timbers serve as reliable and sturdy wooden poles that are already cut with round edges. And if you time your shopping wisely, many holidays bring half-price sales on landscape timbers at Home Depot which means you can buy twice as many poles for the same amount of money. To make them nicer, you can sand the wood, followed by caulking the poles and finishing with priming the poles. If your primer is white and you are satisfied, then you have white jump poles. If you want more color, add some color. Easy!

Shopping Spree of Landscape Timbers
Priming Poles
Spray Painted Poles

Jump Standards

Arena jump standards are crazy expensive and are rather easy to make solo. While some jumps are preferred to be purchased (such as cross-country jumps), basic jump standards are much more cost effective as DIY. To make it simple with the least amount of effort, an 8' pressure-treated 4"x4" wooden post serves as a reliable 4' jump standard when cut in half. Depending on your standard base preference (I prefer a 2"x10"x8' board cut into 1 ft bases for a pair of standards), purchase a board for the base to be cut into four equal parts. If you want to get extra, you can cut a downhill slope of the ends of the base boards for a more traditional look. Personally, I'm too lazy and I don't think not doing it ruins the look. Once all wood pieces are cut, sand the wood down for a finer finished look. When sanding is complete, assemble the base boards to the standard with screws (I prefer 3" screws for the bases with two into the post and two into the short end of the neighboring base board) and then caulk the bases. You may either drill jump cup holes before or after wood assembly depending on preference but make sure to test the holes with an actual jump cup to ensure that it is ready for use. Prime the standards once they are ready and if desired, spray paint the standards. Once satisfied, you have a pair of basic jump standards!

Cutting the Base Board
Caulked and Primed the Standard Base
Finished Standards

Jump Gates

Arena jump gates are crazy expensive and are rather easy to make solo. While some jumps are preferred to be purchased (such as cross-country jumps), basic jump gates are much more cost effective as DIY. To make it simple with the least amount of effort, understand what type of gate you want to build and what materials that you need. Sometimes you have enough scrap wood to start a project. Othertimes, there are really cheap wood options at Home Depot or your local store. This gate here was scrap wood cut leftover from plywood used for my hayloft door and measured to 7' in length. If it was 8' long, I would've simply added Jump Plank Ends (Dover Saddlery sells them for ~$20). Since the scrap wood was 7' in length, it required some support to make it 8' in length so that it would match my 8' landscape timber jump poles. The easiest way to do this was to buy some cheap, thin boards from Home Depot that were a couple dollars each and then measure everything out. To make it look nicer, I got a few additional slim boards to cut for framing, although note that a simple top addition would suffice for jumping. I also had some leftover spray paint that I used to paint the frame boards separately before assembling everything. When I get more inspiration in the future, I'll probably add some more decoration to the white panel but for now it will suffice.

Gathered & purchased wood materials
Framing the gate
Finished Gate

Cross Country Jumps

Cross Country jumps are no exception to the crazy prices that anything with a horse label has attached to it. And while it is crucial to plan and construct cross country jumps well to keep everyone safe, DIY cross country jumps are a fun and far more cost-effective project than simply purchasing some of the most common, everday jumps. Having cross country jumps at home is also an excellent training benefit as the horses are already comfortable in their surroundings and they become far more desensitized to similar jumps that they encounter when riding in a new environment.

Small Bank

Jumping banks are a fantastic exercise for conditioning and training with the natural uphill and downhill design of the jump. Jumping banks uphill is far easier both on the horse and rider than jumping downhill with balance, which is why having a small one at home serves as an excellent starting point for any new horse or rider to learn with while being in a comfortable environment.


Coops are one of the most common cross-country jumps and are relatively easy to build with some wood, tools, and a little math. In order to make life a little easier and to have the opportunity to move the coops around easier, these coops are in 4' parts with handles on the sides. Building the coop in two separate halves help with moving the coops, as well as provides the opportunity for skinny cross-country jumps and combinations. We built a pair of 2'3" coops and a pair of 3' coops.


An arrowhead jump has been on the list for a while and is relatively easy to make with a panel of wood that is cut to desired lengths and shapes. An arrowhead serves as a different and unique type of jump for a horse to to encounter, as arrowheads are usually skinny fences and the design is different compared to the usual plank or gate.

Finding Free Wins

Never underestimate free wins if you do your research! Craigslist and networking are amazing tools that can result in barn hack wins.

Wood Pallets

Never purchase a wooden pallet! There are countless wooden pallets that are advertised for free on Craigslist for pickup. If you don't see one right away, either expand your geographical search or simply be patient, as they will be up soon. Plenty of posts offer free wooden pallets and scrap wood that can be used for jump building.

55 Gallon Plastic Barrels

On one of my free win trips, I went to pick up free wood pallets and noticed a bunch of 55 gallon plastic barrels seeming to not be used. I went back to the company representative who had posted the pallets to ask if they were also free to go and seeing that I wasn't using them for food or water storage, they told me they were mine. It took me an additional trip back to the site but I made it out with a bunch of free barrels that can now be used as jumps, jump standards, desensitizing, barrel racing, trail obstacles, and gymkhana games. Just for reference, those barrels are going for at least $15 per barrel.


Also depending on how much you're paying attention and where you usually drive, there seem to be abandoned tires everywhere. And if you are vocal about your network bringing their replaced tires to you instead of paying a disposal fee when getting new tires, you will never have to pay for tires to use as jumps and more! Driving down the road, I scored big by passing 4' tires that are the largest that I've ever had the opportunity to grab and even made a second trip to grab more tires.


Casually keeping an eye on what's offered for free in the area on Craigslist, I came across several large mirrors from an old barber shop that had closed. Managing to fit three of the 4'x4' mirrors in my commuter car on my way home from work, I invested a small amount of money in purchasing a pack of 15 steel mirror wall clips and measured everything out so as to mount two of my three mirrors on the side of the barn alongside our riding area. Having mirrors where you ride is a fantastic training aid for riders in that they can see their position in the saddle as you try to explain new concepts to them, plus the fact that it is really nice to occassionally check your equitation and position while you're mounted. The horses also seemed to like who they saw in the mirror, as it's been a while since all of them had been around a mirror and definitely never around one that large, clear, and close before.


Traditional fencing invovles wooden posts with three wooden boards to contain horses and is still plenty reliable. The majority of our pasture is fenced with normal wooden posts but instead of boards we have the flexible rail horse fence (also referred to as Flex Fence) that holds up really well. While that is the primary fencing of the pasture, there is a section of woods in the back that has an older wooden fence line along with natural barriers. In addition to the barriers already back in the wooded section, RPE added an additional fence line that is cost effective for horses who are not actively trying to mess with fence lines. Easy to install solo and budget-friendly, this fence line involves 4' (or higher) welded wire rolls held by galvanized T-Post fence clips to 5' (or higher) metal T-Posts that are positioned in the ground with the help of a post driver.

For personally installing 400 feet of fenceline, the total cost was approximately $400 compared to contract estimates of $1,000 and more. Do note that when installing this fenceline, only set up a couple T-Posts at a time as with adding additional 100 ft sections, some of the wire fence was overlapped to keep a strong barrier. And if a horse does decide to test the fence's stability, you may always add a strand or two of barb wire along the fence to dissuade a troublemaker.

T-Post Setup
Welded Wire Roll
Final Product

Cost-Efficient Winter Blankets

Winter horse blanket prices seemed to have sky-rocketed over time when looking back and this trend can tend to intimidate owners into purchasing the more expensive option. First and foremost for the owner who is considering blanketing their horse, do your research. Understand the weather conditions that are common to your geographical area. Understand the needs of your horse or horses in whether or not the cold weather will stress them out without a blanket. Consider the everyday lifestyle of your horse regarding turnout, shelter, and stalling. Also consider the training and exercise regime expected of the horse throughout the colder season and if this impacts your horse's winter fur coat (such as if they are clipped for competition).

It is important to remember that undomesticated horses do just fine through the winter seasons without blanketing. Their winter coats come in thick and if the season is colder than expected, the body adjusts to grow a thicker winter coat the following year. As owners, we have become wimps in our own discomfort in the cold (not an attack, I'm a complete wimp in the cold!) and now it seems that almost every domesticated horse found in cold terrain is blanketed for the season. But as long as you understand that this is a human-sponsored luxury and is not a life-depending need of the horse, you are in good standings.

Understanding all the considerations above, there are both benefits and hazards to blanketing your horse with the coming cold winter. Benefits include helping to maintain weight on a hard-keeper who loses weight with any form of stress, including cold weather, as well as blanketing helps protect them from the elements while you have a sense of peace with your horse living a more natural life with full turnout. Some hazards to caution on blanketing is to make sure that a horse is not blanketed early before the real cold sets in or else they will not have a chance to grow their winter coat at all, to not have a heavy blanket on a horse when it is above freezing or else risk them over-heating and colicking, and to understand that blanketing in general gradually kills the winter coat over time so that it will not grow in thick each winter.

All that being said, it is acceptable to be a complete wimp in over-caring for your horses as RPE has become, so long as you have that understanding and open mind when other horses are being cared for differently and are perfectly healthy. RPE horses have several different layers that are used through the ever-chaning weather, as well as the awesome heavy blankets that are recommended below!

Recommended Heavy Blanket with Wraps ~ $90 - $115

Absolutely and without a doubt, RPE's award for the most cost-efficient and amazing-quality winter blanket goes to the HILASON 1200 Denier Waterproof Winter Horse Blankets (400g)! This blanket is an absolute must for any horse owner and the price is as though it's on a 50% sale year-round. All RPE horses have this blanket as their heavy winter blanket without question. Available on Amazon, the HILASON winter horse blankets come in a variety of colors and all come with a belly wrap included for approximately $90. To purchase the full set with the neck wrap included, the final price comes to approximately $115. This blanket has met all RPE needs including color choice (for horse color-coding), protection, durability (Dark Delight is a reigning blanket-destroyer), and secure fit (meaning it does not move nor rub the fur). Again, absolutely recommend this blanket if an owner is going to get any blanket (start with this one!). The only part that I've had to replace is the front clip on Dark Delight's (which you can purchase in bulk relatively cheap). Zero regrets and still in love! All three pictures below are HILASON heavy blankets (with Chloe having her light-fill sheet layer underneath for a Polar Vortex and it's crazy, negative degree weather).

Mocha in HILASON Winter Blanket with Wraps Perfectly Snug & Warm
Double-Blanketing Chloe for the Polar Vortex
Jenna Loving Dreamer Winter Time

All three pictures are HILASON heavy blankets (with Chloe having her light-fill sheet layer underneath for a Polar Vortex and it's crazy, negative degree weather).