Monday, November 10, 2014

Quick Equipment Fixes

We all know that most horse-related things can be fixed with the help of baling twine and/or duct tape. This post will cover some additional easy fixes, as well as some uses of duct tape that you might not have considered.

Leaky hose

A horse show can be a very perilous place for hoses. Being repeatedly dragged over rough ground, around corners, and being stepped on by countless horses, many of them wearing studs, is a surefire way for a hose to end up with a puncture.

Punctured hoses have a tendency to spray water all over the barn aisle, or at whoever happens to be using the hose, but replacing each hose every couple of days to avoid these problems is not realistic.

Wrapping the affected part of the hose in duct tape is a tempting solution, but duct tape doesn't tend to stick well to a hose, even when dry, that has been exposed to so much dirt and that is moved so frequently. Inevitably, the duct tape will peel off after only a few uses.

My solution is to wrap the punctured section in Vetrap. This might sound counterintuitive, but the Vetrap sticks to itself rather than to the hose, ensuring that it will stay put (it's still best, however, to put it on while the hose is dry for best stickability). While the Vetrap is porous, it will lessen the amount of water that can escape and most importantly, the water will soak out in a uniform manner rather than spraying everyone and everything at random.

The Vetrap can also be covered in duct tape, overlapping the edges, to further seal in the water, though this top layer will likely require frequent replacement.

Bucket handle safety caps missing

When carting buckets to and from horse shows, it's quite easy for one of the rubbery protective caps on the handle to pop off and go missing. While this might not seem like a big deal, those caps are there for a reason. Your horse's face will come into frequent contact with various parts of the bucket, and the uncovered bottom of the handle is the perfect shape and sharpness to tear an eyelid or a nostril.

Because the caps can go missing from an otherwise perfectly good bucket, it's handy to be able to fix the problem rather than purchase a brand new bucket every time it happens.

My solution is to take a strip of duct tape and tear it in two so that it becomes about half its usual width. When the bucket is completely dry, wrap this strip of duct tape over the top of the loop in the handle so that the end of the wire is completely covered and there is no open gap, as shown in this photo. Leave enough of the loop open for the handle to remain mobile, and this set-up should last indefinitely (the bucket in the photo has been in constant use for at least two or three years with that same piece of duct tape on it).

Trouble filling hay nets

Certain hay nets can be a pain to fill as they want to fold back into themselves. One possible solution, as shown in the video below (credit goes to YouTube user davegg25), is to use a muck bucket or flake-sized Rubbermaid to keep the empty hay net in a more suitable position for filling.

Broken field boot zipper

This isn't a particularly innovative use for duct tape, but it merits mention because it's an excellent reason to keep black duct tape on hand. With black duct tape applied vertically along the back of the boot, a broken zipper becomes virtually unnoticeable from afar, and it is strong enough to hold the two sides of the boot together for an entire ride.

Blanket surcingles coming undone

You can purchase little rubber rings to slip over the base of the T half of a surcingle buckle in order to keep it snug and lessen the chances of it accidentally coming undone. In a pinch, these rings can be substituted with braiding elastics wrapped snugly around the T.

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