How to Prepare for Winter at the Bar
It’s always a bummer when summer winds down, the horses shed their summer coats, and the days become shorter. We all love fall, but winter can be challenging for horse owners. Once you’ve bought the horse tack, a saddle pad, and grooming supplies, where do you plan on storing them? Having the best stable supplies for your barn allows you to keep your equipment organized and well-maintained during winter.
Ride Every Stride brings you an all-inclusive to-do list for winter that will help you prepare ahead of time and ensure you and your horses are all set for the cold months ahead.
Essential Items for Winter Months at the Barn
1. Saddle Racks
A heavy-duty saddle rack is sturdy enough to hold even the heaviest saddles. You can go for a single or double built-in saddle pad rack to keep your saddle protected and saddle pads dry. If you travel to lessons or shows in your SUV, a car saddle rack stand will come in handy to keep your saddle upright and safe.
2. Organizing and Cleaning
Fall is the perfect time to do a thorough cleaning of your barn. Organizing and cleaning are necessary to keep your barn functioning without any hurdles through the winter, particularly as days get shorter and the weather gets wetter and colder.
Throw away any extra and non-usable supplies, like broken equipment, piles of junk, or empty feed bags. Dust off surfaces, including lighting and shelving fixtures. Hose down mats and stalls, and clean or replace all bedding. Thorough cleaning prevents winter dust from settling in and helps deter rodents that may take up residence in warm spaces like your barn.
3. Get Your Water Supply Ready
It’s essential to make sure your barn has an unfrozen, clean water supply for animal care in the winter months. Some assume that horses can eat snow or lick ice, however, your horse can get colic if it doesn’t get enough water to digest the roughage it consumes to keep warm. Rather than waiting around until winter, we suggest you insulate your pipes in the fall to avoid future problems. Ensure all your pipe warmers, tanks, and electric water heaters are in good working condition.
4. Protect Medications
Check the labels of all topical, injectable, and oral medications for information about proper storage. Many horses can’t withstand cold temperatures. So, it is always a good idea to either store cold-sensitive products in a climate-controlled tack room or keep them in your house for the winter. If you are unsure whether one of your drugs is safe, speak with your veterinarian.
5. Insulate Your Hand Tools
Slide pieces of foam pipe insulation over the handles of rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, and other barn tools, particularly metal ones, to avoid frost and help protect your hands. Use duct tape to keep the insulation secure and in place, so it doesn’t slip away as you work.
6. Organize Blankets
Most horse owners clean and repair their horse blankets by the end of winter and store them for summer. However, there are still a few more tasks when it comes time to prepare your blankets for cooler weather. Make sure you have the appropriate blankets for every horse in your barn. Each horse should have a stable blanket, a turn-out sheet, and a hood. You may also want to get a couple of extra blankets if one gets wet or damaged, etc. Ensure you have enough wool or fleece coolers and quarter sheets in the barn for cold-weather riding.
7. Check and Repair Fencing
With cold weather comes brittle fencing, so if you have unaddressed minor repairs, your fences are likely to break. Before the first frost, it’s a good idea to inspect the fencing around your property. If any boards need replacing, now is the perfect time. Keep in mind to check the fence posts too, and if any appear loose, take the time to secure them before the ground freezes.
Winter can sweep in unexpectedly, but if you start preparing now, you’ll be all set to sit back and enjoy the best of the season, knowing your property is safe and your horses are warm.
Be sure to start with your preparations early. Ride Every Stride offers the best quality supplies for your barn at budget-friendly prices. We also offer accessories customized as per your requirements. Get in touch with us now and explore a massive range of horse and equestrian accessories available at our online store!