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Sorry ~ But Winter is Coming!!

‘Be Prepared’, always a good motto whether you’re a Scout or not, and as horse owners we always have to be one step ahead when it comes to the health and welfare of our four-legged friends. So, with wintry weather potentially on its way over the next few months now is the time to ensure you are ready. Here are some top tips that might help.

  • Has your horse has been living out during the summer? Well, now is the time to give the stable a really good clean. Hose down rubber matting, sweep the cobwebs from the corners, brush the dust from the walls and scrub those water and feed buckets too.
  • Trying to avoid icy patches on the yard is challenging at the best of times but when carrying buckets of water or haynets it’s even more difficult. So, ensure any pipes are well lagged using foam pipe insulation and secure using tie-wraps or gaffer tape.
  • Trying to break through the ice on frozen water troughs is a nuisance so putting a tennis ball in can help keep them from completely freezing over, but a daily check when turning out is still sensible. A couple of top tips we’ve heard of is using a brick in an old carrot bag to smash through deep ice in water troughs and then using a plastic colander to lift the broken ice out to slow down the refreezing process without getting very cold wet hands!! Did you know that research has shown that in winter, horses prefer to drink warm water rather than ice cold water, and as a result veterinarians recommend giving horses’ warm water during the winter to be sure that they drink enough!!
  • WD40 is a life saver for frozen padlocks and locks but equally a plastic bag tied overnight will also work a treat! Give latches, bolts and locks some care – check they open and close smoothly. You’ll be thankful that all these things are easy to operate when you are rushing around on a winter’s night in semi-darkness, with your bulky gloves on.
  • Treat yourself to a plastic sledge as they are ideal for moving things when there’s snow or ice on the ground. Just put the item on top and tow it along. No more fighting with those wheelbarrows!
  • Making sure the winter rugs are clean, waterproofed and rip-free so they will be ready then you need them. It’s also worth checking that they still fit properly, especially if you had a youngster who did some growing over the summer!
  • Keeping some emergency food supplies on the yard, in a container away from mice though, will ensure you can consume something warm when needed. Cuppa Soups, Pot Noodles etc. are ideal as well as a plentiful supply of tea and coffee.
  • Rugging up with a few thinner rugs is much better for adapting temperature control, than just two rugs. Apart from a thoroughly good groom and check over each day this means that your horse won’t keep being stripped bare of rugs whilst you attempt to keep up with the changes in temperature, plus it will also save you time during the day if he’s stabled! Try putting thin rugs over thick rugs, instead of the traditional underneath method. They’re easier to wash and if they get torn they’re a lot cheaper to replace.
  • Keep a change of dry warm clothes in the boot of the car in case you need them. Make sure you are dressed appropriately – layers are best. Start with thermal and work up to waterproof then you’ll ensure you can stay warm and dry whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
  • So, enjoy those winter months but stay safe whatever you’re doing ~ and don’t forget to wear that hi-vis!!

 

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