Getting Ready for Winter doesn’t have to be a rush and a hassle. We use the time change as our cue to wrap up winter preparations. Here’s our main list of to-do’s!
Daylight Saving Time officially ends this weekend, in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 1. Clocks will be rolled back an hour, which means the sun will be rising earlier in the morning and start setting around the time you’re likely headed home. It’ll be dark by the time we’re in the barn and checking on the ponies.
Set your clocks back before you head to bed on Saturday. Daylight Saving Time is also a good time to remind yourself to do a handful of other maintenance jobs around the house and barn as well. While you’re going around manually changing your clocks, take care of a few other essential tasks you may have been putting off.
AROUND THE BARN:
Ensure You have Enough Hay
The average horse needs to consume about 2% of his body weight per day to maintain body condition. In especially cold weather that same horse might need 25 or 30 pounds of hay per day to stay warm. Ask your veterinarian for information regarding your animal’s body type; level of exercise, as well as other factors that can impact winter feeding.
Check the Water Heaters and Salt Blocks
Increased hay consumption can cause impaction if your horse isn’t drinking enough. Check your water source twice daily and remove all ice, or, even better, provide a safe tank or bucket heater. Horses prefer to drink water that is slightly warm in the winter and their water consumption typically increases if water is kept de-iced either with an automatic de-icer or manually.
Be sure to provide ample free choice access to a trace mineral salt block through the winter.
Is There Adequate Light?
Poor barn lighting can be frustrating on dark nights, when a flashlight is needed to examine a bloody injury on the back of a horse’s leg, or when it’s necessary to read the fine print on medication labels. Walkways and the main doors of barns need to be illuminated for use at night.
Are the Blankets Ready?
I try to avoid blanketing during the winter. However, I do make sure that blankets are ready in case they’re needed. Make time now to ensure the blanket properly fits your horse and that the straps and surcingles are appropriately fitted. – MORE INFO ON BLANKETING – https://www.trailmeister.com/blanketing-your-horse-or-mule-jan-2014/
IN THE HOUSE:
Put Fresh Batteries in your Smoke Alarms
Of course Getting Ready for Winter isn’t limited to the barn. Check the trailer and head inside and tackle a few household items. Save yourself a future hassle. Use Daylight Saving Time as an opportunity to check to make sure your smoke detectors are working and pop in a fresh set of batteries.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 2/3’s of fire deaths happen in homes where the smoke alarms aren’t working. Use Daylight Savings Time as your reminder to check on yours.
Replace your Air Filters
If you haven’t done so already, you’re about to turn on the heat, . Use the time change as an opportunity to check on your furnace air filters. If you haven’t changed them in a while, they’re likely full of dust, which can be a fire hazard at worst and, at best, is going to prevent your heating system from working as well as it could.
Check your Gutters
The dead of winter is a lousy time to clean your gutters. Climb up a ladder this weekend and check the current gutter situation (or make an appointment for someone else to do so). Cleaning out all those dead leaves and debris is going to be much easier now than it will be a month from now, and could save you a costly roof repair bill later.
I hope that this piece on Getting Ready for Winter has given you some food for thought for the upcoming winter. For more info on trail riding, horse camping, and the largest guide to horse trails and camps in teh world, visit us at www.TrailMeister.com!