Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting Your Horses Ready For Winter

Besides the usually things that you need to do, regular farrier visits and such, there are a few things you need to make sure you have done before the cold sets in or in our case the snow starts flying!

1) Check trough heaters. Make sure they are all in proper working order. Give them a test.

2) You've ordered your hay and hopefully have it stacked or stored properly. In my case, I have limited storage and my hay guy knows I'll need delivery by end of September. I've been a steady customer of his for 7 years now, so I can count on him. I can only store 60 bales at a time here.

3) You've at least thought about Winter vaccinations. My horses will get an Innovator 5 this Autumn and I will purchase this soon. It includes flu/rhino, tetanus and encephalomylitis. Most important for Winter is flu/rhino and tetanus. Your vet can steer you in the right direction.

4) Winter blankets are clean and ready to go. I do not put mine on too early as I want my horses to get as much winter fuzzies going on as possible and not rub it off. And guess what, they already are starting their winter fuzzies.

5) Clearly as we already know at least here that I have officially closed down the pasture for weed killing and fertilization before winter sets in.

6) Remembering that the daylight is fading and those barn and outdoor lights will start to come in handy. Make sure you have fresh bulbs and lights are in working order. I have a handy, dandy battery operated one in my feed shed that I just slap and it goes on. Plus Stephen has recently installed a new security light that points towards the paddock and turns on with motion.

7) Check fence and make any repairs now. It sucks moving horses around and repairing fences during a blasted snow storm!

8) Check water source. In my case, I have an outdoor water spigot and a hose that I have to attach and detach when watering in the winter, so I keep my hose indoors and bring it out just for watering in winter and then back in again. Nothing worse than freezing the spigot during the winter.

9) Your horse's body condition. Remembering as it get colder, they need to maintain their condition to stay warm and that may require a little extra food.

If anybody would like to add anything to this list, I welcome you to do so. I'm sure I forgot something. And this all varies from person to person and where and how you keep your horses. I do not have an indoor barn here, but I have a large shelter and I placed an extra northern wind break in the form of a tarp between the goat and horse fence. So any other helpful tips are welcome!


Grey Horse Matters said...

All good suggestions Callie. Everyone should start preparing now even though it's just going into Sept. It's worth the peace of mind to have everything ready. Then you can sit back and enjoy the horses and the scenery.

Callie said...

Thanks, Arlene, I think I do this post every year, but what the heck. A good reminder.

cdncowgirl said...

This may sound obvious but, whether you're a city slicker or out in the country - make sure your shovels are handy and/or snow blowers ready to go!
It amazes me the amount of people in WalMart, Canadian Tire, etc after the first big snow that are buying shovels and such!

And for horse folk, tune up and winterize your horse trailer and tow vehicle as needed.

Callie said...

Good tips, CDN, Us northern tundra folk have a lot to get ready for!