The ponies are starting to get fuzzy, nights are getting downright chilly, and the days are getting shorter. When you have livestock, your life is effected by the seasons. Coming into fall and winter could mean colic and frozen water troughs. Here are some things we thought about to prepare for the upcoming months.
You horse should be starting to grow his winter coat. Some grow much more impressive coats than others, and some can withstand the elements much better than others. Do your research on the pros and cons of blanketing. Even though I personally don't blanket, I have a blanket on hand in case my horse needs it. He's getting older, and you never know when a really doozy of a cold storm might hit and be more than he's ready to deal with.
Water troughs. Nothing is more enjoyable than a frozen water trough, especially when the power is out. I know I'm not the only one who isn't thrilled about breaking through ice! Keeping your water buckets inside or under a cover will help, as do water trough heaters.
Your horse trailer will most likely log less miles in the winter months, but it's important to have it ready to go in case of an emergency, regardless of time of year. I like to wax my trailer at the beginning of winter so help protect it against all the rain and snow. Parking it under a structure or having a cover is also beneficial. Depending on where you live, it's good to have chains for your trailer, as well as anything you may need in case you were to get stuck out in the weather somewhere, such as blankets for humans and horses, flashlight, grain, water, etc.
Your barn and all that in encompasses, such as tack and medications. Weather proofing your barn or shelters is important. You want to make sure piping is covered, that there is no standing water when it rains and everything is secure enough to not blow away in a storm. I like to take a cold day to clean and cover saddles to prevent mildew, and to check all medications. The change of season can result in colic, so it's nice to know you have everything you need on hand.
Winter might mean less riding opportunities to many, but look on the bright side: it means it's the time of year to start making that tack wish list for Santa!