However much we would all like this great weather to last, winter is coming! It is a fact! Here are 5 practical tips to make your winter safer for both you and your horse.
1. Check your gutters & drains
After a prolonged period of dry weather, gutters and drains can become blocked, particularly if the leaves are falling. Check for build ups and blockages so when the rain comes it can drain away safely. This is particularly important if there is a risk of frost, when standing water will freeze and pose a threat to both you and your horse.
2. Be prepared for ice
Ice can be dangerous for both you and your horse. Salt for ice is wildly available and a bag in the tack room can make an icy morning a lot less of a challenge. It doesn’t go off, so if you are lucky enough not to need it this winter it will last.
3. Protect medication from frost
Some medicines are badly effected by frost. Check the labels and store anything susceptible in a frost free place.
4. Protect your water supply
Check the lagging on water pipes from wear or rodent damage. There is nothing worse than getting up in the morning & finding you have no water. A bucket stuffed with straw or newspaper, up ended and put over an outside tap can keep it running in light frost. Make sure you have a clean water carrier so, if the worst does happen and your supply freezes up, you can bring water for your horse.
5. Check your lighting
Dark mornings and evenings mean you will be relying on your electric lighting. Not only is it more difficult to do your jobs without a decent light, it increases the risk of an accident and may mean you miss injuries or signs of illness in your horse. Make sure all lights working and replace any bulbs that need it. Keep a spare bulb so you do not get caught out. It is also sensible to have a good flash light available in case of power cuts, rechargeable flash lights with a wall mounted bracket mean it will always be charged, and you will know where to find it in case of emergency.
Caring for a horse through the winter can be a long hard job, but some practical preparation can make your job safer and prevent accidents. Have a safe & happy winter!
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