September is here, bringing with it cooler, nicer riding weather minus the bugs and insects. Great time to ride your horse! It is also time to begin thinking about getting your horses and horse property ready for winter.
Even though we are barely entering autumn, winter will be here before you know it, at which time it is too late to get ready for the cold weather, ice and snow.
Start preparations now, so when “Old Man Winter” comes knocking on your door, it won’t catch you by surprise and will be ready for it.
1. Now is the time to test the water heaters to make sure they work, before the water sources freeze.
2. Clean out the gutters and drainage ditches of any debris that may have collected, causing rain and snow to back up onto the roof and along the foundations. When water pools and refreezes, it can create dangerous ice dams, which chan cause structural damage to the buildings.
3. Check the roofs for any damage or defects, making all the repairs at this time. Also, in the North,check on the snow guards, making sure they are in place and secure to prevent snow slides from the roof.
4. Mow & drag the pastures. This will help keep the weeds under control next year. Keep the grass to 4 inches or so. Dragging will spread the manure allowing it plenty of time to decompose.
5. Walk the fence lines, repairing the loose boards or wires, protruding nails or fasteners, leaning posts, etc.
6. This is the perfect time to replace any indoor or outdoor burned out lights. The days are getting shorter and nights longer. Don’t get caught working in the dark during the cold.
7. Stock up on items such as salt, non-clumping kitty litter, sand or ash to spread for traction on icy footing. Also, make sure you have snow shovels, de-icers, scrapers and other winter tools on hand.
8. Service the tractors, snow blowers, trucks, and any other equipment you may use during the winter months. It is also a good idea to stock up on extra anti-freeze, belts, hoses and clamps to have on hand.
9. Stock up on hay, feed, and any other necessary supplies. The last thing you want is to run out during a blizzard or ice storm, This is the time of year demand is high and supplies diminish as time goes on.
10. Begin thinking about whether or not the horse shoes will be pulled from the horse’s hooves or if snow pads will be a consideration. Check with your farrier for the best options.
11. Make sure the blankets are clean and in good repair, ready for when they are needed.
12. Check the barn and stalls for drafts and make sure there is plenty of airflow.
Being prepared for winter weather ahead of time will put your mind at ease, knowing that the horses are comfy and cozy and your property is safe.