The winter months are difficult horses and horse owners. Horses have to stay warm and it is up to us to make sure they stay warm, safe and healthy when the temperatures drop. One of the first steps towards winter horse management is by getting the barn or stable ready for old man winter.
Horses will also be spending a little more time in inside so make sure the stall is outfitted properly. This includes the stall size is appropriate for the size of the horse, the stall walls are sturdy and tall enough to withstand a bored and mischievous horses (We all know how mischievous a bored horse can be!), the latches are horse-proof and the flooring is safe and clean. The idea is to make the time spent in the stall as comfortable and as safe as can be. I thought this video was pretty helpful. You can never have enough information right?
Heated barns are the five star barns during the winter. For many of us, it can be a little pricey to heat a stable throughout the entire winter; however, there are methods to keep the temperatures modestly comfortable. First, close all doors and windows whenever they aren't in use. Sometimes space heaters can keep a temperate barn. I always use heaters with the hard-plastic exterior and no uncovered metal coils. They are much safer than your standard indoor space heater, in my opinion. When you leave the barn for the night, the space heater needs to be turned off and unplugged. Also never leave a space heaters turned when set near stalls or any hay supplies.
During the day hours when you are around to better care for the horses, try utilizing some heavier winter horse blankets and sheets. I think they do a pretty good job of protecting my horses from the cold, provided they fit correctly. Be sure that the blanket denier is appropriate for the weather conditions in your area. You don’t want a too-warm blanket if it isn’t that cold out and vice versa. Both situations can lead to problems.
Above all, it is important to remember that caring for your horses during the winter is not too difficult once you understand the basics. The principal purpose is to keep your horses as warm and at ease as possible. All you need to do is apply simple common sense.