Everyone is guilty of letting the little things slide. Barn window jammed? It can be fixed later when the weather starts getting bad. Leaky spigot? It’s not a huge inconvenience so it can wait! When winter rolls around though, dealing with the little things that you have put off fixing can become a bigger inconvenience than you thought they would. Here’s a helpful checklist to remind you of all the things that you should check on before old man winter arrives!
1. Fix your fencing:
Make sure to check and repair any damaged fencing that needs to be tended to. It is much easier to replace broken fence boards when the weather is dry and temperatures aren’t in the single digits. If you need to repair fence posts, the frozen ground will make in nearly impossible in the upcoming months.
2. Figure out your bucket situation:
Make sure to have your bucket situation figured out. If you plan to use heated buckets, make sure to test them out and begin using them before your regular buckets freeze over with ice. Even if you don’t use bucket heaters, make sure that your water line is well-insulated and you are not at risk of it freezing if the temperatures suddenly go south!
3. Keep breathing:
During the winter, some horses will have to spend more of their day inside the barn. Even though you might be tempted to completely shut them in to keep them warm, make sure that you are still providing them with adequate ventilation by leaving the doors open part of the time.
4. Feeling sheltered
It’s time to take a hard look at your outdoor shelters that your horses will utilize throughout the winter. This is a good time to level the ground, bed the stalls heavily, and make sure there are no holes in the walls. You will also want to check for loose boards and any nails or sharp edges that could be sticking out of the walls.
5. Stack Em
Make sure that you will have adequate amounts of forage for the winter. It is often hard to find quality hay in the winter months, so it makes sense to double check your number of bales to know that you are able to feed through the spring. If you plan on buying hay throughout the winter, check with your source to ensure that they have enough on hand.
6. Have a plan in place
It’s never too early to start planning for winter storms. Do you have an emergency plan in place? Is everyone aware of the plan? Is there a list of emergency numbers in a location that everyone is aware of? Are you well stocked on supplies? It’s a good idea to try to plan for emergencies during a time when you don’t actually have an emergency. This helps you think of a plan with a relaxed mind and zero stress!
Carolina Equine Hospital is made up of a team of expert veterinarians that see and care for horses in the Piedmont Triad and some of the surrounding areas. They are always available to answer any winter preparation questions you may have and can help you get your horse’s health in check no matter what the season! Give them a call at the office where they are available for emergencies 24/7.