Equestrian Tips: Preparing Stables and Horses for Winter

Horses are amazing animals that can be a huge help around your property. At the same time, they rely on us to provide the essential care they need. If you live in a climate that sees severe winter weather, there are some extra preparations needed to help your horses handle the cold. In this article we’ll cover simple steps you can take to get ready for winter, and how your tractor can help.

How to Prepare Your Stables for Winter

Are your stables winter-ready? With cold weather on the horizon, use these tips to ensure your horses stay healthy, happy, and warm all season long.

Deep Clean

As your horses will be spending more time indoors, cleanliness of your barn and stables is essential to their health. Before the first big freeze arrives, dive in and do a deep clean. The best approach is to strip the stables entirely and scrub everything down with disinfectant. It’s also important to ensure everything has dried thoroughly so you don’t risk mold growth or problems from freezing.

Finish Repairs

There are a number of repairs and maintenance items that should be completed to thoroughly winterize your stables. First, look for any areas where rodents and other pests might enter and seal them off as best you can. Then, check windows and doors for drafts. Eliminating these will help you save money on energy and keep your animals warmer. Finally, ensure your pipes, faucets, and fixtures have been properly insulated to prevent them from freezing and bursting. 

Prepare Winter Supplies

Winter weather can bring treacherous conditions for both humans and horses alike. Be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way by stocking the barn with needed winter supplies. This includes snow shovels, salt for deicing, headlamps for late nights and early mornings, and winter boots with good traction.

Stock Up on Food and Water

When the ground is frozen it limits the amount of grazing your horses can do. As a result, you’ll need to provide them with more hay to eat in the stables. It’s best to build up a solid indoor supply early so you don’t have to deal with hauling it in the snow and ice. Your horses will also require water sources that won’t freeze. If you’re worried about temperatures dipping too low, there are many tank heater options available to mitigate the issue.

Get Rugs Ready

Your horses can adapt to the cold quite well, but even these powerful animals have their limits. At some point they’ll probably need a little extra warmth from a horse rug or horse blanket. In preparation for winter, wash your blankets, mend any holes or tears, and hang them in the stables for easy access. Thanks to this early preparation, you can provide your animals quick comfort in rapidly changing weather conditions.

Monitor the Weather

The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared”, and the same applies to your stables. Winter weather waits for no one, making it critical to understand when the worst storms are arriving. Carefully monitor the weather report so you know if you might need to spring into action in the middle of the night or take extra precautions for the week ahead.

Using Your Tractor for Equine Management

When it comes to effective equine management, your tractor can be an especially valuable tool. These are just some of the many ways you can put it to work in caring for your horses.

Baling and Hauling Hay

According to the University of Georgia, when not grazing on their own, horses need to eat as much as 2% of their body weight in hay each day. Do the math and that adds up to a serious supply of food. Fortunately, with a sub-compact tractor you can bale your own hay using the Yanmar round baler attachment. It creates easily manageable bales between 40 and 60 pounds so they are convenient to distribute by hand.

Stable Cleanup

Stable cleanup isn’t the most glamorous job, but someone has to do it. Instead of shoveling manure by hand, turn to a sub-compact tractor like the Yanmar SA Series for assistance. Smaller in stature, but packed with power, these tractors can navigate tight spaces such as barns or stables and quickly remove soiled materials.

Clearing Snow

When the snow starts piling up, access in and out of your stables can become difficult. Keep your roads and pathways clear with snow removal attachments for your tractor. Yanmar snow blowers and snow blades are made from tough, durable materials that are prepared to take on powdery, crusted, icy, or heavy wet snow.

Preparing the Pens

Do you use pens to exercise or train your horses? Then you probably know the surface can take a beating from all the activity. To return your pens to their perfectly manicured condition, utilize the grading and leveling attachments from Yanmar. The grading scraper will provide smooth surfaces without a washboard effect, while the landscape rake spreads soil and removes debris.

Connect With Yanmar

If you want to get the most out of your land, the experts at Yanmar are here to help. From our best-in-class tractors and attachments to valuable resources like the Landowner’s Planner, we have everything you need to maximize your property’s potential. Please don’t hesitate to connect with us online or give us a call at 678-551-7369 to learn more about everything Yanmar has to offer.

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