by American Stalls September 27, 2019
If you roam the aisles of your local department store, you'll likely run across decorations, holiday cards, and other items for the holiday season. It seems as though that holiday season decor is on-sale earlier and earlier each passing year. It's almost though holiday items are available an entire year in advance!
While it’s tough to think about blankets and snowstorms during the fall time, it is actually the perfect time to begin preparing the horse barn for winter.
The days are cooler. Many insects have left the area or died off. In short, the fall season provides perfect conditions for getting the barn ready for use over the winter.
Similar to how we prepare our own wardrobe and home for the winter season, we encourage you to prepare your horse, your horse’s wardrobe, and the barn for the winter season.
Here are a few things to add to your to-do list to be ready for Winter:
Plan ahead for bedding, hay, grain, and supplements
Depending on your local area, the availability of both bedding supplies and hay can decline dramatically in the middle of Winter. The last thing we ever want is to realize that we are running out of hay, grain, supplements, or bedding supplies right before a big winter storm.
For this reason, we recommend horse owners to store enough hay during the fall season to last until next year’s first cutting. On a similar note, we recommend to stockpile enough bedding to last through winter - or arrange for a supplier to make regular deliveries.
Inspect your horse barn’s exterior
Barn infrastructure is crucial in any season, but even more in the colder winter months. Winter weather can instantly turn a minor structural issue into a major problem.
We recommend that you inspect the entire exterior of their barn. Inspect closely for any signs of damage or deterioration including missing shingles, broken barn windows, barn end doors, loose boards, and any issues in insulation. Be sure to complete any required repairs before the winter begins – this way, you can tackle any potential problems before they arise.
Lastly, bring in your plumber to provide a thorough inspection of your entire plumbing system including automatic waterers, pumps, spigots, etc. It is crucial to ensure that all plumbing is in working order and properly insulated from the winter’s cooler temperatures and storms.
In addition to internal plumbing, it is prudent to detach, drain, and store all hose systems to prevent them from freezing solid onto the faucets.
Check over your tack
After heavy use during the spring and summer, your tack is overdue for a thorough cleaning and conditioning. Re-waterproof all turnout blankets.
We also recommend that you have one extra turnout sheet on hand for every size of horse in your barn facility. This is to be proactive in case a turnout blanket gets wet and needs to be replaced temporarily with a warm blanket covered by a turnout sheet. Lastly, be sure to also check to ensure there aren’t any pieces that may require replacement or repairs.
Schedule your fall vet visit
Once the leaves begin to change color, it seems like just about everyone is rushing to schedule fall vaccinations. To avoid the rush, we advise to take time to make your appointment now so that you’re not racing to get an appointment after your veterinarian is all booked.
Note: If you have a senior horse, please remember that leading equine experts recommend two physical exams each year for senior horses. When you schedule your fall vaccinations appointment, be sure to inform your vet that you’d like your senior horse to get a physical exam as well.
After a summer full of showing, our tack locker, tack trunks, and overall stalls look like a tornado hit them. While we try our best to stay organized throughout the summer, it is inevitable that there will be some jumbled mess at the end of the show season. We recommend to do some "fall cleaning” and organizing to ensure your kick off fall with all of your gear neat and tidy.