Winter is just around the corner, and it’s time to ensure your horse stables and yard are ready to provide a warm and comfortable living space for your equine companions. The increase in the hours spent in the stable during the winter months means that this is especially important in managing horses susceptible to, or who suffer from, Equine Asthma or other respiratory issues. From deep cleaning and lighting repairs to insulation, good ventilation, and flood prevention, this comprehensive guide will help you prepare your facilities for the winter season.
1. Deep Clean
Begin your winter preparations with a thorough deep cleaning. Remove cobwebs, dust, and dirt. Clean all surfaces and disinfect them to create a hygienic environment. A clean stable is not only healthier but also more comfortable for your horses during the winter.
2. Check and Fix Damaged Lights
With shorter daylight hours during autumn and winter, proper lighting is essential. Inspect all lights in and around the stables and yard. Replace any burnt-out bulbs and repair damaged fixtures. Adequate lighting ensures the safety and well-being of your horses and facilitates chores in the dark.
3. Repairs and Maintenance
The winter months can be harsh on structures. Inspect the stables, any barn walls, and fences for any needed repairs. Address holes, cracks, and damages to prevent cold drafts and moisture from entering stables or outbuildings. Proper maintenance will keep the interior warm, dry and secure.
4. Clean Bedding & Matting
Adequate bedding and matting are crucial to keep your horses warm and comfortable. Ensure you have enough clean bedding for the stables and well-maintained rubber mats to provide insulation from the cold ground below.
5. Clean Walls & Ceilings
Cleaning the walls and ceilings not only promotes hygiene but also helps maintain a cosy atmosphere. Dust and dirt can trap moisture, making the stables feel cold and damp. A clean, dry environment is essential during winter.
6. Clear out Downpipes and Gutters
Prevent water accumulation and possible ice build-up by clearing downpipes and gutters of leaves and any debris. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage and potential leaks. Proper drainage will help keep your yard and stables dry and safe.
7. Review Drainage System
As part of cleaning your gutters and downpipes, inspect the drainage system in your yard. Ensure water flows away from stables to prevent puddles and flooding. Proper drainage is vital to maintain a secure and dry environment for your horses.
8. Create a Flooding Plan
Winter often brings heavy rains and potential flooding. Develop a flooding plan to protect your horses and facilities. This may include relocating horses, securing valuable equipment, and preparing sandbags.
9. Cover the Manure Heap
Keep your manure heap covered to prevent it from becoming a soggy mess during winter rains. A well-covered heap is easier to manage and will contribute to preventing yard flooding.
10. Create Good Insulation and Ventilation
Ensure your stables are adequately insulated to keep them warm during winter. Proper insulation helps conserve heat and reduce energy costs. Additionally, maintain good ventilation to prevent the build-up of stale air and moisture. Install vents and/or fans to keep the air fresh without creating drafts.
By following these comprehensive winter preparations, you can create a comfortable and secure environment for your horses. Providing proper care, maintenance, and attention to detail will help ensure that your equine companions remain comfortable and healthy throughout the winter season.