As the cold months of winter close around us, we have to making arrangements regarding the health and well-being of our horses. Important aspects of winter horse management include temperature maintenance, nutrition and hoof care. If you haven’t already taken precautions against the harsh winter weather, here are some winterization tips to add to your annual stable routine.
First and foremost, prepare for power outages. Keep a good supply of heating fuel available such as a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove or gas and a generator, in case you lose power for an extended period of time.
Well ahead of winter make some easy improvements to the stable to keep the warm air in and the cold out by:
- Insulating walls and attics
- Caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows
- Installing storm windows or replacing old single-paned windows with newer double-paned models.
Don’t weatherproof the stable too tightly. Horses need as much fresh air as possible. Horses require adequate ventilation to reduce the chance of respiratory infection. It’s important to remember that while you may be cold in your barn your horses will be just fine.
Provide more food than usual, an adequate and dependable water source and a windbreak for animals that stay in a field or pasture. Consider keeping smaller animals and pets indoors. More
If you find your water buckets freezing overnight, consider placing the bucket inside an insulated housing. Heating elements that hook over the side of the bucket may be available. Check your local tack shops and feed stores.
Horses actually handle the cold weather than they do in extreme heat. Keeping them dry and out of the wind is essential. If you are using a turnout blanket, it has to be waterproof. A wet blanket is more harm than no blanket at all. If your horse is in pasture board, he will need a three sided shelter and may need to be brought into a stall on the colder nights.
Winter isn’t all that bad and it does not have to be all work. With a cold weather good management, the winter won’t be too bad, leaving you with plenty of time for bonding with your horses. In a few months’ times, there will be plenty of time to saddle up and have a good ride.