Once the nice summer weather begins to deteriorate and the temperatures drop it’s a good reminder to start looking ahead to the winter. Making sure we are fully prepared as the days become shorter with less daylight hours can help make life as easy as possible.
Rugs at the Ready
If you haven’t already inspected and cleaned your winter rugs now is your last chance. Planning and having the rugs you may require at the ready is a great time saver. Packing the summer rugs, fly sheets etc. away will mean more room for the bigger, bulkier winter rugs.
It may be a case of out with the old and in with the new or they might just need a good clean and a patch up. Having a range of rugs to choose from with and without neck covers can help keep your horse comfortable throughout the winter when temperatures vary from cold to very freezing cold!
Depending whether you are clipping your horse this winter, a variety of different weight rugs will make life easy to layer up and keep them cosy.
For temperatures between below four degrees; a clipped horse may need a heavy weight stable rug and a medium weight turnout rug. For the unclipped horse you may need a medium weight stable rug and a light/medium weight turnout rug. If it is wet and windy this too will factor in your choice of rug.
As the weather gets colder, below zero degrees, heavy weight rugs with up to 400g fill will be needed if your horse is clipped. A medium weight rug may provide ample warmth for a horse that is unclipped.
A Thought for Food
Having a good clear out now and getting your feed room tidy and ready for winter will help with good food hygiene. Cleaning buckets and stocking up on any equipment that might need to be replaced is a good idea.
Many people tend to increase feed over the winter to help their equines maintain weight over the winter months. Having a variety of buckets and feed scoops can make mixing meals much easier.
Now also might be the time to get feed ordered so that you can start gradually building up your horse’s meals ready for winter and so that there is no disruption to the horse’s digestive system.
Looking at your forage supplies for the winter is a good idea too, making sure you have enough hay or haylage ready for the winter months when your horse may be spending more time in the stable.
Stocking up on hay nets can help save time, they can be filled all at once and then when time is short you can just grab a ready-filled net and go.
Scrubbing Up the Stables
Whether your horse has lived in or out over the summer, now is a good time whilst the weather is still fine to have a good clear out in the stable and get rid of any dust and cobwebs from ledges and windows.
Some people like to completely clear out the stable and give it a good wash down and disinfect the floor. Any job involving water is better done before the weather gets too cold and will allow the stable to dry out a lot quicker. Also you can check to see if anything needs fixing, re-painting or replacing.