Projects for Your Horse and Stable Using Recycled Materials

Man grooming horse's tail.
Image: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Whether you are on a budget or environmentally minded, it’s possible to put things you already have around your horse, house and stable to good use. Here are just a few ways you can up-cycle and re-use things that may otherwise be thrown away.

  • 01 of 07


    Rope halters do take some time and skill to make. But, they are a great way to use lengths of rope you may have, as long as it is the right type of rope.

  • 02 of 07

    Juice Jugs

    One of the most simple DIY projects is making a grain scoop. Cut the bottom off of a sturdy juice jug with a handle and you have a quick grain scoop. Keep one handy for cleaning out automatic waterers too. Square jugs work better than round ones for this use. Bottles can be used to store small quantities of supplements and other bits and pieces.

  • 03 of 07

    Tennis Balls

    Use old tennis balls to cover the pointy end on electric fence stakes or t-posts. Just cut a slit in the ball large enough to slip it over the end of the post. You can also use them to cover the end of gate hinges. Thread tennis balls on your cross ties so your horse can’t grab the tie and pull on it as easily. A couple of tennis balls thrown into the dryer with your down riding coat will help fluff it up as it dries. Tennis balls can be used as a massage tool on your horse too. Ground up tennis balls can be used to add ‘bounce’ to arena footing, however, this is probably beyond the abilities of a DIYer. Be careful a curious horse doesn’t try to eat a tennis ball.

  • 04 of 07

    Yarn Scraps

    Open net sheets used for cooling down sweaty horses can be made with scraps of yarn from other projects. Any lace, filet or openwork crochet stitch will do, and you may wish to add an interesting edging. This will be a large project, so gauge and keeping the size of the sheet consistent is important. If you use ends from many different projects, your horse will have a coat of many colors, that is a custom fit. Yarn ends can also be used to make little pompoms for costumes, and switches to swish flies away. Yarn can also be used to secure braids for a show.

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  • 05 of 07

    Binder Twine

    Binder twine tends to be the duct tape of the horse world, used for everything from impromptu lead shanks to doing quick, temporary fence repairs. Take a look at what you can make for your horse and stable with binder twine.

  • 06 of 07

    Horse Hair

    A very old-fashioned way of making a felt saddle pad was to collect the hair from shedding horses and put it in a cotton sack. The sack was closed, and the whole thing put underneath the saddle. The movement of the saddle and the weight of the rider would felt the hair after a time. However, you’d probably end up with a lumpy saddle pad. Horsehair can also be used to re-stuff padding on harnesses and was traditionally used to stuff the padding on leg boots.  Horsehair can also be spun to make yarn. The longer the hair the better, and on horses that don’t grow long winter coats, the shed out hair may not be long enough.

  • 07 of 07

    Mane and Tail Hair

    Collect long tail and mane hairs to make a bridle or other gear such as mecates and bosals. Traditionally, horsehair bridles, not actually made of the body hair, but with the mane and tail hair, were twisted, braided or knotted. A quick, easy fly switch can be made of tail hair securely glued and taped to the end of a broken riding crop.