Winter will be here before you know it, and those cold temperatures have already started to descend over parts of the country. Don’t get caught off-guard with your winter barn prep! Here are five important tasks that you should take care of now.
Maintain Your Horse Trailer
As your show season wraps up and you get ready to put your trailer away for the weekend, take a day and do some important maintenance. Pull up all of your floor mats and evaluate your floor for any weak or rotting areas. Check your tire pressure and look for signs that your tires may need to be replaced, such as cracks appearing in the sidewall or poor tread. Grease the hinges, check your hitch for any signs of damage, and make sure that your brake battery is fully charged.
When it comes to storing your trailer, store it in a place where you could access it quickly and easily in an emergency. If you live in an area that sees heavy snow, think about how your property is plowed and make sure that your trailer doesn’t get plowed in. Hopefully you won’t have any emergencies, but with a little planning now, you’ll know that you can get your horses out if needed.
Check Your Extension Cords
If you use extension cords to power heaters or other devices in the winter, check all of your extension cords now. Inspect the entire length of each cord for damage, such as wear through the cord’s exterior, and repair or replace damaged cords. Plug each cord in, too, to make sure that it draws power.
While you’re at it, check your trough heaters, heated water buckets, and any other devices that you depend on during the winter. Keep in mind that some heaters include thermostats, so you may need to wait until the temperatures are below freezing to truly test them.
Prepare a Plowing Plan
For areas that receive snow, a good plowing plan is a must. If you handle the plowing yourself, then make sure that your equipment is ready and functional. If you hire out your plowing, then this is a good time to check in with the company that you use, if they haven’t reached out to you already.
This is also a good time to come up with a winter weather horse care plan, especially if you have a large barn with hired help. Think about how you’ll handle days when the weather is too bad to be on the roads, and who will step in to handle feeding and horse care. Spelling this out ahead of time can help to keep you and your staff organized when big storms do hit.
Stock Up on Supplies
If you’re in an area where the winter elements can make it difficult to get large deliveries in, then it’s time to start thinking about stocking up on supplies that you need, like hay and bedding. Take an inventory of what you have, arrange for a delivery, and be sure that your structures can store the supplies and keep them out of the elements.
Tune Up Your Machinery
This is also the perfect time to tune up farm machinery, like farm trucks and tractors. From oil changes to brake work, it’s much easier to do any work on your machinery now than it will be in the middle of the winter.
Hopefully the winter will be a mild one, but just in case it isn’t, these five tasks will have you well-prepared for the weather that it may bring.