It is important to take care of the needs of your horses, especially during the winter. Before cold weather arrives in full force, here are some tips to help you get prepared for winter so you can keep your horses healthy and well taken care of.
Provide Proper Shelter
Your horses need to have access to shelter all through the year. This shelter and protection can be a barn or a more economical run-in shed.
For horses that have access to a run-in shed, make sure the shed's placement is positioned properly on your land to give your horses the most optimal shelter. Position the run-in shed so that the open doorway of the shed is facing away from the weather and the elements.
For example, if you live in the Northeast, make sure you place your sun-in shed so the open side faces south and slightly east, which is opposite of the winter weather's incoming direction. When winter snow and winds blow in on your property, they will blow into the opposite side of the door's opening, or from the north and slightly west. This positioning of your run-in shed will also benefit your horses during the summer when the sun's afternoon rays will be hottest when it is in the western sky.
Maintain Barn Air Flow
If you have a horse barn for your horse shelter, it is important to make sure it is installed with good ventilation. Even in the winter when your horses need protection and warmth from the extreme temperatures, you need to vent in fresh air from outside. This helps to keep down dust and other air borne particles, which can cause respiratory problems in your horses.
You can install a roof or eaves passive ventilation system to keep your barn aired out. As long as your horses are healthy and well-fed, they will be able to adjust their bodies to the winter weather conditions inside this type of vented shelter. In fact, most horses will grow a thicker coat of hair by November as they acclimate to winter temperatures. Or, make sure your barn is installed with windows or doors that you can open to ventilate the barn, as needed.
Another way to ventilate your barn is with a climate-controlled exhaust system. Many of these systems are built to turn on when they sense certain conditions in the air, such as dust or excess moisture.
Keep Adequate Supplies on Hand
Before winter arrives, make sure you have a stock on hand of feed, hay, medication, and any other supplies your horses will need regularly. Especially if you live in a winter climate, there may be times when the weather makes it difficult or impossible to get to the supply store to replenish these essentials. Your horses will need these essentials no matter if there is a blizzard, ice storm, or washed-out roads.
It is recommended to stock up on hay and feed, buying about ten percent more hay than you estimate your needs to be, so you can have extra just in case bad weather hits your area. Your horses will also need the extra hay to help them get through the colder weather. It is also recommended to keep at least two weeks worth of your horse's regular feed and any supplements they may need. Your horses need a consistent diet of the same type of feed to help them keep a good nutritional health.
Then, if you have any sick or injured horses who need regular medications or bandages, make sure you have an extra stock on hand of these items to get you through any times when you don't have access to get new supplies.
It is also a good idea to keep some extra water storage containers to help out during winter when extremely low temperatures can cause your water pump to freeze. Keep several water storage containers filled with enough water to last you for several days, and keep them inside your barn or storage so their contents don't freeze. A horse can drink between 10 and 30 gallons of water during the winter—twice as much as during the summer.
To help prevent the water from becoming stale when you don't have need of it, you can use the water to keep it rotated and fresh, or dump out the old water and replace it with new every few weeks.
Use these tips to help prepare your horses for the upcoming winter. For more information, contact horse barn construction companies.