Taking on a gazillion spiders at the horse barn

I hate spiders. I’m not horsing around, when it comes to arachnids – or nearly anything that creeps and crawls.

But I won the first spider battle of the season.

I knocked off work early on this chilly spring Friday and tackled the tack closet mess.

My mare lives in a big, airy stall that includes its own tack closet. It’s extremely convenient, especially on days when I choose to saddle her Western. I don’t have to lug that cumbersome Circle Y out into the aisle. I just swing it up onto the horse, right there in her stall.

It’s also nice to have my own private space for storing all things horsey.

But it was time for clutter busting and spider warfare.

It is amazing how much extraneous and miscellaneous stuff can pile up in this unshared space during the cold winter months.

While my horse was turned out, I took everything out of the tack closet for sorting and cleaning. And I was amazed at all the curious items I found, besides all of the expected contents (such as horse tack and grooming supplies).

  • One long-missing flannel shirt
  • One pair of muddy galoshes
  • Two dirty English saddle pads
  • Two pairs of riding gloves
  • Two unmatched reins (one Western and one English)
  • Three extra halters
  • Three hand towels
  • Three riding helmets
  • Lots of tack calling for cleaning
And nearly everything was covered in cobwebs.

Mostly, I found mouse droppings and spider nests, which I attacked with a vengeance. Determined to wipe out all things spidery before this season's generation hatched, I vacuumed every inch of the tack closet – then threw away the vacuum bag at the barn.

I probably should have burned it.

That’s right.

There was no way I was hauling that thing in my car with those contents. What if a gazillion baby spiders came to life in my car or (worse yet) in the broom closet at home? Perish the thought!

The vacuum bag was nearly full, anyway. I stopped counting the spider nests. And the shelf that hangs over the stacked saddle racks was fairly carpeted in mouse droppings. Bet that’s more than you wanna know. It was bad. (Hours later, I’m still feeling all creepy-crawly, even after a shower and change of clothes.)

Next, I filled a big bucket with pine cleaner and warm water and scrubbed the entire tack closet.

I tossed a ton of junk and cleaned everything worth keeping. I even stuck a few dryer softener sheets in there, as these are rumored to deter tack closet pests from setting up shop.

At least for now, my tack closet and all its contents are spotless and pest-free.

Now, I wonder if I could hire a barn cat to live in there …

Vintage/public domain artwork

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