Friday 20th October, 2017
Autumn is well and truly here, and the lack of daylight as the nights draw in can make horse care more than a little challenging. Stabling during the Autumn/Winter months offers much needed protection from the elements, but bear in mind that icy hard standings and pitch-black stalls can make your yard a pretty hazardous area. Here are our top tips to keeping your stables as safe and secure as possible this season.
We all know how hard it is to get motivated when you leave the house in the dark and you return home in the dark, so make sure that your stables don’t suffer from a lack of light too. It is all too easy to miss ailments or injuries to your horse or damage to his environment in a poorly lit stable, not to mention the danger of unseen and unwelcome visitors. Fit floodlights to your stable walls or roofs, preferably with motion detectors, to illuminate the yard so that you can see both your horse and your surroundings clearly. The use of indoor stable lighting is also a lifesaver to check your horse over in the dry, and battery powered lights can be fitted very easily if you have no mains supply.
Bolting the gates is the law in country life, but what about securing your stables? Investing in quality timber stables with robust bolts is a must to keep your horse safe, but never lock your stable door because should there ever be an emergency and the keyholder not be present, then your horse would be trapped. Locking the entrance gates and securing your fence perimeters, however, is essential. Although most horse thieves and tack burglars would be deterred by a flood-lit yard, they may not be fazed if they can make a super quick get-away. Use heavy duty chains and padlocks to secure the entrance to your yard so that no can make off with your horse or his equipment.
Wet yards can quickly turn in to ice rinks when the temperatures plummet, so to avoid a perilous path between the field and your stable invest in a grit bin and rock salt to keep on site. Get in the habit of gritting your yard daily now, then it will be second nature come the frost kicks in, plus the grit can provide additional grip on wet and muddy surfaces too.
So, your yard is safe, what next? Why not look to buy some equiballs or hanging mineral licks to keep your horse occupied during extended periods of stabling. Horses typically spend a great deal of their time in the field foraging for grass, plants and roots, so horse toys can help keep them occupied in the stable as they use their muzzle and hooves to roll the toy and seek out the treats.