As many of you know from first-hand experience, horse ownership is much more than a hobby. It’s a lifestyle choice that those of us with horses enthusiastically make. As the weather becomes a little cooler it reminds me of last winter when we made preparations in the fall to care of our horses during the winter months. Here are some simple ways my husband and I get ready to care for our horses during the cold winter days which lie ahead.
One thing we must do is be prepared before bad weather shows up. So, in the upcoming week, we will head south to pick up enough bales of hay which will easily last us through the winter and into spring which historically is about 120 bales. This way we have no worries and have peace of mind our horses will not go without food when in the stalls during inclement weather. Another fall task is to order our shavings which are primarily used as bedding in the stalls for the horses. We order a truckload of shavings which is much more economical than buying individual bags of shavings. We constructed a lean-to off the side of our barn and when the truck pulls in to deliver the shavings, it dumps them directly underneath the shelter which keeps them mostly dry. In addition, we also hang tarps to keep the winter winds from blowing unwanted rain, freezing rain, and sometimes snow from getting to the shavings. Having fresh dry shavings ensures extra comfort for our horse during those cold winter nights.
Another great tip is we use slow feed hay nets which we hang in their stalls. Being ‘slow feed,’ the nets are woven with smaller openings which keeps the horses busy and work a little harder to get to the hay. That little extra effort to get to the hay keeps our horses warm while in the stalls that protect them from the chilly winter nights.
Our horses bring us so much joy that we want to return the love and make our best efforts to keep them safe, dry, warm and as comfortable as we can. Roles reversed, I’m sure they would do the same.
-Sandy Dimitroff, Principal & REALTOR®