Photo by shepardhumphries
It’s that time of year again! Summer is almost gone and winter is coming. It’s time to prepare once again for those short cold days. Here is our checklist for fall prep out on the farm.
1. Clean out the tack room
Give all the tack a good oiling, especially anything that’s going to be packed away over winter. Prep the winter blankets if your horse needs them. Sort through everything and anything that you haven’t used in the past year should probably get consigned to the nearest tack shop. After all, it’s going to be a long hard winter with lots of time to tack shop online…I mean do responsible adult things like read your favorite horse blog and not buy three truck load worth of tack you really don’t need…but we all know it’s bound to happen, so you better clean out that tack room anyway.
2. Take care of barn maintenance
Replace any worn out rubber mats, cracked hoses, or blown lightbulbs. Check the plumbing and the drainage system, install more gravel if you have to. Clean up the aisle ways. Walk the fence lines and check the electric fencers if you have them. Trim the weeds along the fence lines one last time.
3. Get out the shop-vac
For those of us without heated barns, bathing is out of the question by October. With the winter woolies fast taking hold, a wet horse is in danger of getting sick. So what do you do if you have a wet or dirty horse? Break out the shop-vac of course! Just make sure you practice desensitizing him to the shop-vac before you actually try to use it on him in an emergency.
4. Break out the rubber water tubs
It is best to use rubber water containers as deicing methods in the middle of a harsh winter can get…desperate. The last thing you need is a plastic bucket cracking under the weight your frustrated attempts to break through that ice. Break out the water heaters if you have some. It’ll save you quite a bit of grief in the long run.
5. Stock up on supplies
We all know that those roads have a nasty habit of getting snowed shut at the most inconvenient times. Don’t get caught unprepared! Stock up on hay, feed, supplements, bedding, first aid supplies, and medication (for you and the horse). Always have at least a two weeks supply on hand in case thing go to hell in a handbasket.
6. Get a pasture analysis
Just like your yard, fall is the best time to be fertilizing your pastures so they have a head start come spring. Getting a pasture analysis will allow you to accurately decide what fertilizer your pastures need to be lush and green come spring.
7. Prep known problem wet areas
The worst past of winter: slush. Ick. No one likes wading thought mud. Know the problem areas on your property. Put down gravel in high traffic areas, around water troughs, hay feeders, gates, and shelters. Being proactive is always the best approach.
8. Drain uninsulated plumbing
If you have outdoor plumbing that is uninsulated, it needs to be drained to prevent freezing. Frozen pipes and hoses get destroyed quickly and don’t do anyone any good. So, for many of us, that means the days of carrying water to the barn are just around the corner.
Members of the EW Community can now download our Fall Barn Prep Checklist for FREE. To download to full document, click here.
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