To help ensure that your horse is healthy and that you can perform chores efficiently, it’s crucial to prepare early for the winter months. Whether winter in your region means rain or snow, preparing beforehand can save you plenty of hassle over the cold, wet months. Fortunately, to help prepare for the fall and winter seasons, here is a basic checklist for horse owners:
1. Buy enough hay to last for the winter.
It’s important to keep in mind that the average 1,000-pound horse requires about 20 pounds of food per day (roughly 600 pounds per month). To help things run more smoothly, you should purchase your winter supply of hay beforehand in bulk. However, when buying in bulk, remember to look for green and leafy hay that smells fresh.
2. Regularly perform manure management.
To help reduce dangerous ammonia production and create less mud for your horse to stand it while housed in a barn, you need to increase the frequency of stall cleanings. Since a horse can create up to 50 pounds of manure per day, 50 pounds of mud can be created as well when mixed with rainwater. By cleaning up the manure in the paddocks, stalls, and other high-traffic areas, you can help keep your horse healthy and reduce mud throughout your property.
3. Check structures for possible repairs.
If you need to do any repairs to existing structures to make them more effective for the winter, it’s best to get them done as early as possible. It’s also important to check the roof runoff system to ensure that rainwater is directed away from the structures to prevent health issues or structural damage.
When checking your property for repairs, you should additionally ensure that you have adequate lighting throughout. By providing adequate lighting, you will be able to easily do your chores during the darker winter months.
4. Prepare the horse trailer.
To keep your horse trailer in optimal working condition, you should store it inside and away from the elements during winter months. Other things that you may want to do when preparing the horse trailer include:
- . Removing the emergency breakaway battery and storing it inside.
- . Charging the emergency breakaway battery every 90 days.
- . Jacking up the trailer and placing jack stands beneath the trailer frame to help keep weight off the tires.
- . Lubricating any mechanical parts exposed to weather.
If you are in need of a new trailer, you can easily find great models to choose from through DoubleDTrailers.com.
5. Be highly visible when riding trails during hunting season.
Since hunting is allowed in many areas during fall and winter, it’s very important to take extra precautions when riding through the woods. To be more easily seen, you should wear highly reflective orange clothes such as vests and helmets. For your horse, you can purchase orange quarter sheets, neck collars, split boots, and more. Fortunately, there are plenty of other things you can do as well to make riding through fall and winter more safe.
With this basic checklist, you can make things easier for both you and your horse during the cooler fall and winter months.
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Guess post by Albert Stayton: Albert Stayton is a horse trainer. He shares his insights with others to help improve their care and training of horses.