Post written by Kassie Kreissler, Marketing Specialist | Event Coordinator | Social Media Expert | Live Music Supporter | Rancher | Horse Trainer
It’s getting to be that time of the year – less daylight hours and more hair starting to grow on your horse’s coat.
That means it’s time to prepare for Old Man Winter. Use the tips below to help protect you, your horse, barn, and trailer from sleet, snow, mud and the bitter cold that winter brings with it.
Diet and Water
It’s time to stock up on hay! Horses should be fed about 2% of their body weight in hay per day…that’s roughly 600 pounds of hay per month for the average 1,000-pound horse.
Also make sure your horse has access to clean, fresh drinking water and access to salt, so be sure to set out a salt block.
You’ll also want to make sure you have any water heaters tested before it gets too cold! Turn the heaters on, check the temperature and monitor them closely for possible issues.
Having a first-aid kit is always a good idea, but especially in the winter.
Always keep your kit in a temperature-controlled area. I’ve always had the philosophy, “If it can go wrong, it will” so I do my best to be prepared for any situation that may arise.
Here’s my list of “must have” first-aid kid items:
- Adhesive wrap
- Cotton sheeting
- Cotton roll
- Plastic wrap
- 4×4 gauze squares, non-sterile
- 4×4 gauze squares, sterile
- Gauze rolls
- Chlorhexidine Solution
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Digital thermometer (The temperature range for most healthy adult horses is 99-101ºF)
- Mineral oil
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Hoof Medication Boot
- Durvet Epsom Salt Poultice
- Durvet Scarlet Oil Wound Dressing
- Aloe Advantage Wound Cleanser
- Immediate Response
- Durvet CalmBalance EQ Gel
- Iodone Shampoo with Aloe
- Nitrofurazone Ointment
- Bute paste
- AspireEze Gel Tube
- Durvet Blood Stop Powder
- Banamine paste
- Durvet Topical Fungicide
- Durvet Triodine-7
- Triple Antibiotic eye ointment
- SMZ antibiotic tablets RX
- Bandage Scissors
- Stethoscope (The pulse of a healthy adult horse at rest should be 28-44 beats/minute, and the respiration rate should be 10-24 breaths/minute)
- Elastic Bandages
- Needles & Dosing Syringes
Around the Farm and Barn
Taking the time now to take care of the following items will save you from cold fingers and miserable days come winter.
Some of our pre-winter preparations for our farm include:
- Mow and dragging the pastures – Cutting the weeds before they go to seed helps keep them controlled next year.
- Walking the fence line – Look for downed trees or issues with wire. We always make repairs at this time.
- Stock up on snow supplies – Having a stockpile of salt and sand before the winter weather hits is always a good plan. Have snow shovels, scrapers, de-icers and other winter tools handy.
- Service all power equipment – Change oil, flush and replace antifreeze. Lubricate and tune up any equipment that you have around. Don’t forget to check tires on all of your equipment!
Trailer Tips in Winter
Just like everything else, your trailer is something you should get ready for winter too! Check your truck and trailer’s tire pressure and make sure the tires are good heading into winter.
Another thing to consider is dry rot on tires. If you don’t plan on using your trailer in the winter, consider tire covers to lengthen the lifespan of your trailer tires. Check the floor of your trailer and look for any boards that need to be replaced or any other mechanical issues that might need fixing over the winter. This is also a good time to check all lights and wiring. Last but not least for those trailers with living quarters, be sure to winterize your trailer.
These are just a few things we do to prepare our horses and horse-related items each winter. What about you? Any other tips you’d like to share with us and our readers? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!