Before you celebrate though, are you ready for... IT ?
Yes, IT is coming. IT's almost here, in fact it may already be here for some of us.
IT is... WINTER!! DUN DUN DUUUUNN!
Time to check your prep list. It's a pain in the ass, but it's better to get ready for winter NOW than deal with stuff as you wade through three feet of snow, right? Ooops, I said the "s" word.
Winter Prep List
- Have you checked all of your blankets for fit, rips, mold, and mouse damage?
- Speaking of blanketing, I had better mention once again that blanketing IS NOT BAD!
- Covering your heated water tank with foam board insulation, sides and top, can save you a ton on electricity bills this winter. If your horse loves to rip and chew, cover the foam with plywood.
- Here's how one inventive man made a really insulated water tank for his horses!
- Be prepared for ice buildup before it starts. Clip your horses fetlocks and keep Vaseline or vegetable oil handy for fetlocks and hooves in order to prevent ice buildup.
- If your horse is particularly prone to developing snowballs under his hooves, ask your farrier for advice about boots or different shoes.
- Don't forget that ice-melt and salt can really burn the frogs/pads of animals, and may be toxic if eaten. For icy areas where horses and dogs frequently walk, try sand instead. Read more here.
- Are you sure you're providing enough quality feed for your horses? Check out this guide to horse nutrition, an easy and informative read.
- Remember, although grain provides calories, a steady supply of hay keep horses warmer!
- Feed by weight, not by volume! One scoop of one type of feed is not the same as one of another type of feed.
- Don't forget to check out my Wisconsin Redneck Tips for dealing with winter!
Notes on Blanketing:
- DO practice putting one on your horse BEFORE you absolutely have to. It sucks really bad to train a reluctant/spooky horse to hold still for the blanket. It sucks even worse when you're freezing, the ground is icy and the wind is flapping the blanket around everywhere.
- The older over-the-head type is especially bad for spooky horses. Invest in a front-buckled version. Trust me on this one.
- DO take blankets off when it gets warmer!! Horses with their winter coats will suffer from being overheated otherwise.
- Blanket sizing: take a tape measure and measure your horse from the middle of its chest, along its side, to its butt crack. Round to the nearest even number.
- Make sure your horse's blanket fits okay and isn't rubbing anywhere. Fleece padding can help prevent rubs and pulling. If you blanket all the time, take it off once in a while to make sure it isn't biting into a horse's neck. Your horse will thank you for the break, and the opportunity to run around and roll freely.