Tips for Preparing Your Horse Barn for Winter

Check your hay supply, ensure water sources will remain thawed, be sure pasture fencing is secure, and more.

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Tips for Preparing Your Horse Barn for Winter
Assess your horse's comfort level several times each day when winter weather hits.| Photo:
As the air begins to chill and the temperature drops, it’s time to start thinking about winter preparation in the barn. While it might seem cliché to say, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure when it comes to getting ready for the winter months. Get a handle on winter now, with these quick tips that will allow you to breathe a little easier once the frigid temperatures hit:

Fix your fencing: Ensure that your fencing is all in tip-top condition before the snow flies. It is much easier to replace broken fence boards now. If you need to repair fence posts, the frozen ground will make in nearly impossible in the upcoming months.

Bucket brigade: If you plan to use heated buckets, get them out before you have to chip ice out of unheated ones on that first freezing morning. 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 plummet.

Keep breathing: During the winter, some horses will have to spend more time inside the barn. Even though you might be tempted to shut them in the keep them warm, make sure that you are still providing them with adequate ventilation. A generous sprinkle of a stall refresher will help to neutralize the ammonia and keep your horse’s respiratory system functioning well.

Gimme shelter: It is also time to take a hard look at your outdoor shelters that your horses will be utilizing. Take this time to level the ground, bed them heavily, and add a stall refreshing product (yes, even ammonia outside the barn is a concern). You will also want to check for loose boards and any nails or sharp edges that could be protruding from the walls.

Hay count: 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 triple check your numbers 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.

Plan ahead: It’s never too early to start planning for winter storms. Do you have an emergency plan in action? It is a good idea to try to plan for the unexpected, determining what you would do in emergency situations that could arise in the winter months.


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