The days are getting shorter, and a chilly wind has returned… Do you know what that means?
Autumn is here! While you should enjoy the lovely cooler weather, it’s also sensible to use this season to get your stable and yard in order before the wet winter weather sets in.
We’ve detailed a checklist to ensure that you’re on top of the essentials before the dark nights draw in and the cold weather creeps upon us.
Most of us have wooden stables or wooden barns, which means there is a chance for wood deformation. Walk around your stable or barn and have a look at all the walls and doors, (interior and exterior), for anything that might need your attention before winter sets in. You’d be surprised at the amount of wear and tear that can go on just under your nose! If you have field shelters, it's especially important to check these as these are your horses' protection from the winter weather when they are turned out!
Aside from paying attention to the wooden framework, you’ll want to check all electric wiring for any vermin damage. Tape up any damage you find or replace it.
Check that the roof and all windows of your stable are in good condition
Test outside and inside lights. Clean/replace lightbulbs that need it, removing cobwebs to reduce the chance of a fire.
Check all hinges, catches, and kick over bolts on stable doors, secure any loose screws and lubricate along the way!
Make sure all outside pipes are insulated and ready for the freezing conditions. Make sure there are no dripping taps that will create frozen puddles when the cold weather comes. Our tip is to loosely stuff straw or old hay into plastic feed bags and wrap them around outdoor taps during freezing conditions to prevent them from freezing over!
Frozen patches can cause you and/or your horse to slip, causing injury. Harrow the turnout paddocks so the ground will be level when the frost comes, specifically in gateway areas.
Prevent flooding by making sure your fields will properly drain. Check drains and ditches for debris, make sure fencing is secure across the whole yard and paddocks.
Remove all droppings and administer an effective worming programme.
We advise you to buy some rock salt now so you’ll have it when you need to de-ice pathways and water areas, or for use as a preventative measure. Towards the end of Autumn, you may also want to collect and clean as many water carriers as possible. Filling them up and storing them somewhere frost-free can save you time in the winter mornings when you’re waiting for water to thaw.
Safety first! Make sure you have a good flashlight and spare batteries available in the stables, barn, field shelters, and anywhere else you may find yourself!
Make sure all your tack is treated with a leather feed, as brittle or cracked leather is more likely to break in wet and cold conditions.
Check that all rugs are ready for use. Look for any rodent damage, make sure they are reproofed and washed, and mend any rips or tears that need attention.
So, what are you waiting for?? Start checking this list off this month, and you’ll be fully prepared when winter sets in.
Did you find this checklist helpful? Share with your friends, so they're ready for winter, too!