According to the weather app on my phone we have some snow coming… Finally!
In light of that I thought I would share some of the things I do to prepare for winter around here.
I have a long list of things I do. Here are a few:
1) I make sure my water heaters are in working order and scrub clean my water troughs. Being certain that my horses have fresh, clean water no matter how cold it gets is one of my top priorities. This year I was able to put my water trough INSIDE my horse shelter. I am very happy with this set up as the water stays so much cleaner and I won’t lose my trough in a snow drift!
2) I stack and cover my winter hay stack. Ideally I would like to have a building to keep my hay clean and dry, but I don’t. So I put together a large panel corral where my hay will sit, covered by a tarp, tied down tight to withstand the high winds we get here. And stay safe from the cows that sometimes escape the ranch next door.
3) I will make sure my horse’s will stay happy and healthy all winter by boosting their immune system. The Raindrop Technique is critical to my winter horse preparation. As I’ve said before, the Raindrop Technique is a wonderful immune booster. I usually do a Redneck Raindrop, using oils that each horse needs, tailoring my treatment to each horse.
Raindrop Technique® combines the art of aromatherapy with the techniques of Vita Flex and massage in the application of essential oils to various areas of the body. This collection provides a revolutionary means of bringing balance and harmony to the body – physically, mentally, and emotionally. ~Young Living Website
4) Other oils I use during the winter are:
* Sage: This oil is helpful for supporting the respiratory, reproductive, nervous, and other body systems. Sage may help in coping with despair and mental fatigue. I apply this topically.
* Lemon: This oil consists of 68 percent dlimonene which is a powerful antioxidant. It can also be revitalizing and uplifting. I will add this to their daily supplements and feed internally.
* Stress Away: This oil is a wonderful blend of Vanilla, Lime, Ocotea, Cedarwood, Lavender, and Copaiba to help them cope with the stresses that winter can bring.
* En-R-Gee: An invigorating aromatic boost, great for energy and mood balancing. This oil blends together Rosemary, Juniper, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Balsam Fir, Clove, and Black Pepper perfectly! Hmmmm – Yummy!
5) I like my horses to be on the plump side going into winter. Where we live it gets extremely cold with high winds and driving snow. The horses have to go out and do a little digging for the grass in the fields, though I supply them with hay as well. They will use up the extra fat that they put on in the fall, staying warm throughout the long winter here. Of course they have a shelter in which they can get out of the wind, but I’ve found they prefer to stand out in the weather.
6) I check over my winter blankets for rips and tears and make sure the buckles are in good working order. I only blanket when the temperature gets below zero with a wind chill or if they are wet and shivering. Otherwise all my horses grow a thick, warm winter coats and blanketing is unnecessary.
7) My feeding program is very simple. They have a loose salt and Magnesium powder in the shelter at all times. I feed 1/2 a cup of Crypto Aero Wholefood Horse Feed once a day to each of my horses. I feed hay as needed. I like to be sure my horses have forage 24/7.
8) All spring, summer and fall I have rigorous manure management. When winter comes in full force there are many days that I can not scoop the poop. I prepare ahead of time by cleaning the dry lot and the playground daily. I have two manure piles, one far away from my dry lot and another closer, for when the snow starts to pile up. On days that I can not wheel the wheel barrow to the manure pile, I will use a rock rake and simply rake the manure into piles to deal with when the weather warms up.
If I take the time to properly prepare for winter my winter work load is lightened considerably! I can rest easy that my horses have all they need to stay happy, healthy and warm throughout those long, cold winter days.