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Annie Wagner’s DIY Tack Room

This article is from the February 2024 Horse Deals magazine.

Recycled pallets were used to create the floating wall which holds Annie’s saddles and bridles.

Recycled pallets were used to create the floating wall which holds Annie’s saddles and bridles.

From a room infested with spiders and clutter that couldn’t be tamed, to now, a beautiful and perfectly organised tackroom Annie Wagner’s dream of the pretty but practical “equestrian cave” was only made possible by hard work and careful planning. Annie shares the DIY process with Horse Deals.

Annie, tell us about your involvement with horses. I think I have always been a “horsey girl”. I was that kid who used cardboard boxes under my bed as “stables” for all my Barbie horses and have been riding since I was very little. I’ve worked numerous horsey jobs but realised quickly that I didn’t want a career with horses. I tried competing but wasn’t really a fan of the stress that came with that. I think blurring that line between hobby and job made the equestrian sport less enjoyable for me. I’ve been riding “for fun” for many years now and I just love it. I love taking it all in at my own pace with no pressure or regime I need to follow. 

What did your previous tack room look like? I have included a photo for reference. I’d call it a pigsty, but at least pigs can move around in their pen. I couldn’t actually physically get in there, and when I tried to grab things, everything would fall down, making an exhausting mess each time. It was impractical and frustrating, and there were so…many… spiders! 

Annie’s old tack room

Annie’s old tack room

Paint us a picture. What did you envisage when planning your DIY tack room? Pretty, but practical. Think of a ‘man cave’ but for an equestrian! I wanted everything to be super functional, but I also wanted it to be a room I could sit back in and have a glass of wine.  

Where did your inspiration come from? IKEA. Haha! I loved how when you go to IKEA and go through the top floor where they have all the display rooms, everything is so accessible, yet you can put it away so quickly and cover it up if needed or have it on display. I always find it so fun to visit Ikea, so when I did my tack room I wanted to implement a similar concept of accessibility, aesthetics, practicality and the idea of being able to cover everything up if needed (for dust, pests etc).

And the layout, how did you plan this? So imagine a girl, looking a bit crazy, sitting on the floor with grid paper and markers. I spent hours drawing up possible ways of structuring each wall so I could fit the most in the tack room whilst maintaining plenty of floor space. I knew I wanted all the saddle pads to be on a big clothing rack, but I also knew I wanted it to be pest-proof and covered up. That took some thinking. I wanted the bonnets to be displayed like a rainbow painting, and for the boots, it was important to me that they were very easily accessible like a grocery store shelf, but also labelled as my partner and friends aren’t all super horsey and I will ask them to help me put things away or get things for me much of the time. I wanted the saddles to be on a wall and independent, so mice couldn’t get to them. This was absolutely paramount. It was also non-negotiable that all rugs were completely covered away from spiders as they became great hiding spots for spiders if they weren’t. Other things to consider were a “cleaning station” for my gear, so it was easier to clean, and I wanted all my hard feed to be in a metal bin once and for all, as mice and rodents were eating through my plastic feed bins. 

Great care has been taken to organise the tack room perfectly.

Great care has been taken to organise the tack room perfectly.

What was the first thing on the to-do list? My mum always said, “Before you have a baby, you need to have the nursery ready.” The first thing to do was to have the tack room cleaned. I emptied everything out of it, so nothing was left. I then cleaned it and sprayed it with surface spray. Then, I needed to get all the furniture in. The saddle pad racks are just a Facebook Marketplace job with some adjustments made. Much of the furniture from the tack room is second-hand from Marketplace, actually. It’s amazing what you can recycle. The floating wall was the hardest to organise. That was made from recycled pallets but was a struggle to fit in next to the saddle pads. Nevertheless, it can be completely assembled and taken apart very quickly and can hold all my saddles and bridles!

Were there any challenges during the DIY process? Yes absolutely! Making sure everything fit was a huge challenge, and as I was determined to recycle furniture if I could, I had to spend hours on Facebook Marketplace looking for the right things to pop up. It was a lot of heavy lifting. 

Where did you get all your supplies from? So most of the supplies are either recycled from gumtree/Facebook Marketplace. I think some stuff is from garage sales, and the rest is from Kmart! I had painted a few of the Kmart things to make them the right colour to match the aesthetic. My tack-cleaning basket is from H&M. I’m actually obsessed with that basket! 

A great place to sit and relax is next to the tack-cleaning station.

A great place to sit and relax is next to the tack-cleaning station.

It is clear that organisation was high on your agenda. What organisation feature are you most proud of and why? I think my tack-cleaning station, to be honest. The bridle hook actually slides out from a beam in the ceiling, and the saddle stand in the middle moves up to the chair so I can just sit there. I have all my cleaning supplies with me, and everything is super easy to clean! I also love my floating wall. A lot of thought went into this wall. The idea was that I could screw heavy things (saddle and bridle racks) onto it without damaging the stone wall behind it. I love that it’s easily movable and comes apart easily — I just love the practicality of having everything on a wall and the aesthetics. 

Did you have any help or assistance, or did you do it all yourself? I had help from my beautiful partner, my brother, and my family. There are some things that I struggle with (like heavy lifting and using the screwdriver), but these guys made those challenges a breeze! 

Did the end result turn out as you had originally envisaged? Actually, it is better, to be honest. I didn’t expect it to look so classic and beautiful. It makes me happy every time I walk in there! 

How long did it take to complete? The planning process was a year in the making. I had so many ideas and had to narrow them down to exactly what I wanted and liked. The furniture-finding process took a long time, too, as I was relying mostly on second-hand items. The setup itself was quite quick. 

The bridle hook slides out from a beam in the ceiling.

The bridle hook slides out from a beam in the ceiling.

Did you have a budget in mind? Yes, it was to spend as little as possible. Through recycling most stuff, I was able to stay on the lower side of spending. I bought the aluminium feed bin second-hand, but it was still probably the most expensive thing in the room. Other than that, everything was quite affordable. 

What are you most proud of and why? I think just the fact it all came together how I envisioned it and that it’s so functional. It’s one of those tack rooms that’s almost impossible to get messy. I love it. 

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering DIY’ing their own tack room? Yes, follow your dreams. Remember, every little thing you can imagine or want is available to make, and your tack room isn’t about pleasing others; it’s about pleasing yourself! As they say in Parks & Recreation — “Treat yourself.” 

Would you change anything if you did it again? I think maybe a large 1700 style painting of the ponies. It’s all I can imagine that I’d love more. Maybe a bigger wardrobe chest or a Chesterfield, but that’s about it.

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