Winter Chores: Dealing with Winter on the Horse Farm

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Welcome to the dead of winter. Even parts of the country that don’t usually experience snow are getting a healthy dose right now.  Last week the New York Times reported that 49 out of  50 U.S. states had snow (Florida remained the Sunshine State!) Even when we as horse owners have done our best to prep for winter with heated water buckets, frost-free hydrants, weather-proof turnout blankets and the right equipment for chores there always seems to be at least a storm or two (or three) that wreaks havoc on our normal horse care routine for days on end, stretching into weeks for the unfortunate. 

When winter pounds on the barn door, our horses still need to be fed and watered in a timely manner and stalls need to be cleaned daily. But paddocks, too, need to be cleaned daily. The more frequently you clean the easier it all will be in the end. Hunting for manure in two feet of snow or chipping it loose from blocks of ice is no fun.  My best advice is that the show still needs to go on; all the manure that you don’t pick up now becomes a pulverized a layer of muck once things thaws out again

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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