The leafy, lush trees lining the pasture’s edge are quickly giving way to bare branches, and your green pasture often starts out the day with a coat of silver frost. This can only mean one thing – winter is on its way! Whether you keep a couple of horses at home or manage a large herd, preparing for winter before the weather gets too cold can save you a lot of headaches in the months to come.
Anticipate Supply Needs
While stocking up on supplies to get you through several months of winter weather isn’t feasible for some facilities based on their storage capabilities, there are a few things that you should be sure are on your property.
Nutrition in Cold Weather
Horses have different nutritional needs in every season – especially if your pasture access and quality significantly changes. Take a look at your horse’s diet, body condition, and workload, and don’t be afraid to make gradual dietary changes as needed. Factor in additional nutrition if you often incorporate warm mashes made from something other than your horse’s usual meals in the colder months. Keeping detailed notes on the condition of every horse in the barn throughout the winter can not only keep you on top of any immediate concerns but can be helpful for the winters to come.
Replace Your First Aid Kit
Somewhere in your barn, you should have a fully stocked human and equine first aid kit. A cold and rainy fall day is the perfect time to go through the kit and ensure you’re prepared for emergencies. Remove and replace any expired or worn-out items, making sure to write down a list of any necessities that you need to pick up from your vet during their next visit.
Prepare Your Facility
You probably already have a checklist for winterizing your barn, but as a reminder:
Make a blanketing strategy now, before the weather truly turns. Horses that are clipped need more diligent blanketing than those that are allowed to grow out winter fluff. Check that all blankets are clean, rip-free and that the clips still secure correctly. Nothing is worse than realizing a horse is missing a blanket the day that the weather gets bad.
Simplify Winter Management
Remove some of the workloads by organizing your facility with StableSecretary. Having all your horse’s records in one place, the ability to set reminders, and one location for all your employees to get information can be a lifesaver in the colder months.
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