Barn Management Tips for Fall
There are so many reasons to love the Fall season. We get to bring back our favorite comfy sweaters and leather boots from the recesses of our closets; the air smells crisp and clean, the temperatures are cooler, and the leaves change their color. Whatever your favorite reasons for loving fall, there is no doubt that Autumn provides the perfect conditions to prepare your barn and horses for the winter months ahead. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get organized.
The Bare Necessities
Whatever your geographic location, your horses will likely be spending less time grazing in the pasture and more time inside the barn or designated outdoor shelter. Take the time to thoroughly clean and inspect the interior and exterior of these areas for any necessary repairs and updates that may be in order, such as:
- Loose boards or stall doors
- Rusty nails and hinges
- Leaking or rusty water pipes and fixtures
- Leaky roofs and missing shingles
- Broken windows
- Any issues with insulation
- Clean and level the ground/flooring
- Change out any light bulbs that need replacing
- Check for drafts
Keeping your horse hydrated during the colder months can be challenging. Horses will drink less water if the water temperature is too cold. If you haven’t already, investing in heated buckets or a stock tank heater will make your life much easier and your horses much happier. If you are using heated buckets, now is the time to bring them out, clean them, and test them to ensure they are in good working order. If you have water lines, call in a plumber to inspect them to be sure they’re properly insulated and free from leaks. The last thing anyone wants to deal with in cold temperatures are burst water pipes!
Moving your horses to other areas in the fall allows them to fertilize and tend to pastures, allowing them the nutrients and time to recover before spring. Finding good quality hay in the winter months can be challenging, so be sure that you have secured a reliable source and triple-checked your numbers to ensure you have enough to make it through the season. This is also the perfect time to check your food room and grain bins to secure them from rodents and other pests.
Tack Room and Equipment
As the evening temperatures drop, it’s a good time to swap out any summer tack and equipment for winter blankets and gear. Organizing, cleaning, and mending any rips and tears in sheets and blankets now will ensure you’re well prepared when the temperatures suddenly dip.
Winter storms can knock out your power for extended periods, leaving you and your horses in a precarious position. Do you have an emergency plan in place? Here are a few things to consider if the unexpected happens:
- Have flashlights handy
- Stock up on batteries
- Invest in a battery-powered radio
- If you have a generator, is it working, and do you have plenty of fuel?
- Do you have cell phone chargers for your car?
The checklist to prepare your barn and horses for the change in seasons can look and feel overwhelming. There is always more that we can do to prepare, but this is a great starting point to help keep you organized and you and your horses stress-free and happy to enjoy the best the Fall season offers!