Winter Is Coming: Prepare for Cold Weather by Feeding Hay Cubes
It may seem too hot right now to think about the onset of cooler weather, but winter will be here before you know it. Will you and your horse be ready? Thinking about winter now gives you time to plan ahead and get everything done before the cold sets in, from making sure blankets are washed and ready to feeding hay cubes to supplement your horse’s diet and put a little winter weight on.
Here are a few things to start doing now so that you’ll be fully prepared for the cold:
- Check your blankets. Chances are you haven’t looked at your horse’s blankets since you last needed them this past winter. Take a day to pull them out and check to see if they need washing or repairs. If they’re not too dirty, you can “field wash” them with a bucket of water and a scrub brush. If they’re too dirty for that, take them to a provider that can wash horse blankets. Doing this now, during the off season, means your wait time should be shorter! While you’re checking blankets, see if you need any leg straps or patches. Some tack stores will act as a one-stop shop for all these needs.
- Wash your saddle pads. When did you last wash your saddle pads? If you’re like most horse people, chances are it’s been a while. If there’s still hair embedded in your pads from spring shedding, consider this a reminder to wash them more often! If you want to save a little money, your horse’s curry will help you remove embedded dirt and hair yourself, and you can put a couple pads in your washing machine. Afterward, hang them dry and run an empty load through your washing machine to clear out any remaining hair.
- Oil your tack. If it’s been a while since you oiled your tack, you may want to do it while waiting for your blankets and saddle pads to dry. Clean your tack first, using a rag and warm water. Once your tack is clean, oil it with a product such as neetsfoot oil, which will keep the leather supple and conditioned.
- Tidy up the tack room. Once you’ve hauled your blankets, pads, and tack out for cleaning, conditioning, and repairs, you might as well straighten up the tack room. Wipe down surfaces, clear out cobwebs, and sweep out those seldom-seen corners while you have everything out of the way.
- Weigh your horse’s preparedness. Most vets like to see horses carry a little extra weight going into winter, for insulation and extra calories to burn to stay warm. Right now, your horse is probably at a trim summer weight from more frequent exercise — but we all know how long it can take a horse to gain weight. Planning ahead will get your horse to a good winter weight by the time cold weather sets in. Feeding hay cubes or a higher-calorie grain, throwing extra hay, or supplementing your horse’s grazing with additional feed will start increasing their weight in preparation for winter.
Will you and your horse be ready for winter when it comes? If you have any questions about how feeding hay cubes or other feeds can help you prepare, contact Sacate Pellet Mills at 602-237-3809.