Preparing Your Horse For Winter

preparing your horse for winter

Some of us have long, cold, snowy winters. It’s a good idea to prepare our horses for these cold days to come.

I have a long list of things I do to prepare. I’ll share a few of them here!

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.

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 little pallet corral where my hay will sit, covered by a tarp, tied down tight to withstand the high winds we get here.

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.

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.

* Cedarwood: This oil is a for balancing the emotions. It’s relaxing and soothing. I use this oil topically, usually in one of my “redneck raindrop treatments”.

* Elemi:   This oil is part of the same botanical family as frankincense and myrrh. It’s wonderful for grounding. I use this oil topically, usually in one of my “redneck raindrop treatments”.

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 both my horses grow a thick, warm winter coat and blanketing is unnecessary.

7) My feeding program is very simple. They have a loose salt/mineral blend in the shelter at all times. Then I add in what I feel is necessary.  Billy gets “The Golden Paste” which is a Turmeric blend of coconut oil, water and black pepper. This is to battle his allergies and inflammation of the skin. He also gets Young Living’s Mineral Essence, Lemon and Peppermint oil in his feed. I break his supplements into three separate feedings during the day.  Because I’m able to work from home, I have the luxury of being able to feed my horses all through the day, ensuring they don’t have empty tummies.

Chloe gets a simple health and hoof herbal mix from Smart Pak along with a flax seed blend to help her dry skin. I add oils as I feel it’s necessary, though she has fewer skin problems than Billy does. Thank goodness!

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. I will also have a small stack of straw that I fill the shelter with. It is a nice insulator for those super cold days. Though I have found that it does encourage the horses to use the shelter as a bathroom. It requires a bit more cleaning!

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.

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