This winter has been particularly wet and we are now heading into the art of the year when the weather starts to get colder and freeze. this can bring with it a whole host of new problems, however we have put together a handy guide to help you combat the cold and keep the yard running smoothly.
- Stock up on rock salt and place it in buckets around the yard ready use. place a scoop inside each bucket and after sweeping the yard spread the salt around to stop the ground getting slippery. Remember to keep putting more salt down each day, especially if during the day the ice melts, as the water will dissolve the salt.
- Insulate taps and exposed pipework. You can get specialist covers from most DIY shops, or you can easily make your own, by wrapping insulation material around the pipes and then covering it over with tape.
- Turn the water supply off at the mains overnight, and after it has been turned off run the taps to removed any leftover water from the pipes. If you have automatic water drinkers you will not be able to do this for their water supply.
- To stop stable and field waters freezing you can wrap the buckets in a foil blanket (available from camping shops/Amazon/eBay) then cover with an old rug and wrap empty feed sacks around, finish it off by taping it all up. This will provide some insulation and help to stop the water freezing. You can also put hot water into the cold water last thing at night, to bring up the water temperature and again help slow down / prevent it freezing.
- Leave hoof picks at every gateway so you can pick out the horses feet if the ice/snow has balled up in them. You can also try putting vaseline or a petroleum based hoof oil into he horses feet before bringing them out, again to help slow down the ice/snow balling in the hooves.
- Put some WD40 or other oil on to the stable door latches, gate latches and hinges, tack room door handle, toilet door etc so they are easy to open, and you are not having to fiddle about with freezing cold hands.
- If you are changing your horses rug everyday think about putting a summer sheet on underneath, that stays on, so when you are putting the new rug on it is not going straight onto the horses back, as the rug may be quite cold.
- Before riding give your tack a quick soap over to supple up the leather, as it can go stiff in the cold, also look at storing tack in bridle and saddle bags to help stop it getting too cold. Try to dunk the bit in a bucket of warm water before putting it in the horses mouth, again to warm it up so it is not so cold when going into the horses mouth.
- Remember to check any equipment or veterinary supplies that need to be kept in a warmer temperature and bring them indoors so they are not compromised.
It is not long now and spring will be on the way. This is the final push. If you have any other hints or tips for helping through winter please share them with us.
The Tidy Tack Rooms Team