Taking time to prepare your horses and their home for the cold weather will enable you to stay one step ahead during periods of extreme weather conditions. Those plummeting temperatures can be uncomfortable for all of us, so be clear on what you need to do to keep your horses warm and their stable secure.
Let’s start with winter-proofing your stables to help keep your horses comfortable and healthy when the cold weather sets in. Firstly, have a look around for any weak areas that could allow an unwelcome draft to enter your stables and make sure they’re secured.
For a winter stable, you’ll need to strike the balance between ensuring there’s enough fresh air circulating to keep your horses in good health without letting any chilly drafts in that could reduce the temperature too far. Ensuring your stables have adequate ventilation minimises the risk of your horses developing allergies or contracting respiratory illnesses.
This is also a good time to think about leaks. The last thing you want is a leaking roof or gutter during periods of heavy rain, as unwanted water entering the stables can cause discomfort for your equines and damage to the building itself.
Bear in mind that the weight of heavy snowfall can also cause new leaks as it melts, so take a close look at your stable’s roof, gutters, and walls for any cracks. Securing any gaps under the doors or in the walls will help to keep your stables dry and your horses warm when winter arrives.
Unfortunately, any stable can be a target for thieves at any time of year, although the shorter days of winter can make it easier for unwanted visitors to strike. It’s important to revisit your horse stable security and look at the entire structure with fresh eyes before those short days and dark nights start closing in. Stables are full of costly items that can attract intruders, so equine owners must stay proactive when it comes to their stable security.
Next time you’re in your stables, try to look around from the perspective of a would-be intruder to identify any areas that could pose a threat to its security. Is it possible to lift the gate or door and gain entry underneath? Reinforce stable doors and windows as soon as they show signs of wear and tear and consider investing in additional locks.
Would the existing fence deter thieves, or could it be easily eliminated? If you haven’t already, think about installing wooden perimeter fences to make it harder for thieves to access your property, as they are more difficult to cut through than other varieties.
Taking a proactive approach to your stable maintenance can go a long way towards keeping your equines and their home safe during wintertime. Before the cold weather sets in, it’s wise to strip your stable completely and leave the floor to dry before laying new bedding for the winter months.
We all know it’s good practice to thoroughly clean stables as regularly as possible, and it’s particularly important before stabling your horses for a longer period. Prepping for a cold snap is a great opportunity to thoroughly clean the stable floor with disinfectant wash to ensure there are no harmful bacteria lurking that can harm your horses while they’re sheltering from colder weather.
If you haven’t already, investing in antibacterial paint for your stable walls can help to reduce bacteria throughout your stables, limiting the risk of your horses suffering unwanted health conditions. Taking time to disinfect and repaint your stables before winter arrives can make it harder for harmful pathogens to survive – reducing their threat to your horses’ health.
While you’re thinking about stable maintenance, take stock of your food and bedding supplies. Think about how much of each you’re likely to need during the winter and whether you need to order extra to see you through any supply issues. When choosing a spot to store your stable bedding, be mindful of fire risks posed by lights. Sweep any cobwebs well away, check your bulbs and remember to check any electrics after stormy weather.
Towergate offers horse insurance that can be tailored to you and your horse. Call for a quote, or to ask any questions in relation to your horse insurance enquiry, on 01536 486060. Alternatively, read more about our horse insurance and what we can cover.
The Gaitpost.com: How to Maintain a Clean and Healthy Stable