Sunday, November 16, 2014


Ah, it is that great time of the year when you have to let go of warmth. At least we have not had snow yet.  Due to the move we are a couple weeks late changing over the barn to winter status.

Winterizing for us includes the following:
1. Changing regular water buckets to heated buckets. Peggy and I had to figure out how to run the cords for each stall. Zip ties were are friends :)

2. Changing water troughs to heated muck buckets. Luckily Peggy had already run an extension to one area of the turn out, so that one was easy. The second bucket, we were able to use the extension cord used for the fan. The last bucket needed an extension cord too. Peggy found an old one strung up to power a winch they used for an old pony. A litter redirection and it worked for the muck bucket. Keeping them drinking is the number 1 factor we focus on.

4 years ago when Rosemary first came

3. Blankets, blankets and more blankets. My guys have a sheet, lite weight 100grm, mid weight 200grm and a heavy weight 300grm each. I am getting Peggy to blanket Sonny, her old guy, much more and to at least put a sheet on Comrade. Of course we have to fix blankets a lot too, thanks to Sonny.
Sonny vs blanket, obvious who won

45min of hard work

4. Adding wheat bran and salt to the horses food. During the winter we use hot water to warm the horses food which they absolutely love. Our teapot comes out during this time of the year. The wheat bran puts more fluid into their food and the salt encourages them to drink. Sonny gets 3-4 meals so he can maintain his weight during the winter.

5. Trace clips for anyone who needs it. So far I have Rosemary done.

6. This is a new one, Making drop down sides for the new run in shed. We got a 20x40 carport  with 8ft legs last week. They built it over the fence giving us 2 20x20 covers. Originally we were going to put kick boards on the inside and T1-11 on the outside. Then we found we liked the openness. So now we are putting mesh livestock fencing on the inside and will use tarp to make drop down sides for the outside to be used in the winter or bad weather.

Nice and airy

side view

Pony blockade after pictured pony went under the siding
So what do you do to get ready for winter? I wish I could get myself ready for it, but that will just take time. Stay warm!


  1. I would highly recommend moving from Wheat Bran to Timothy pellets or beat pulp to add both calories and water to their diet. According to

    " As a matter of fact, the daily feeding of wheat bran is highly discouraged, since wheat bran is known to contain significant amounts of phosphorus, yet your horse will need a higher concentration of calcium and the influx of phosphorus will provide a serious upset to its system.
    There is actually a name for the condition associated with this imbalance: nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (NSHPT), colloquially known as Big Head Disease. While this may be an odd name, it does root in the truth that horses suffering from this imbalance are characterized by enlarged bones of the facial region as well as an overall lack of strength in the skeletal system. Researchers believe that bone fractures experienced due to exercise half of the time point at a serious lack of calcium and an overage of phosphorus.
    A somewhat more insidious aspect of wheat bran is the fact that it contains a chemical known as phytic acid, which has the ability to bind itself to the vital minerals your horse ingests in the course of its day. These bound chemicals are not properly metabolized by the horse, and thus in addition to a calcium and phosphorus imbalance, your horse may also be exposed to a mineral deficiency, especially when it comes to zing, manganese and also copper."

    I was feeding a daily mash of Wheat Bran and notice significant loss of muscle and weight. I switched to Timothy pellets (I was only using the Wheat Bran because my horse loves it and I was adding supplements to it) and made sure they were super soaked when fed. There is a bunch of information on the interwebs about feeding Wheat Bran to horses.

    1. Thanks for the article Karen. My Mom was aware of the issues so we feed beet pulp and alfafa cubes year round and add the bran in the winter to increase their fluids. We give about a cup or two a day, much less than they get of cubes and beet pulp. They all are on a mineral pellet and have access to free choice Rush Creek minerals. With the threat of colic in the winter we do what we can to give them balance. I will watch them closely.

  2. What kind of heater do you use in the muck bucket?

    1. Alanna it is an actual 16gallon bucket with a built in heater. I like the ones where you don't see the heating element because it is easier to clean. The ones with the heating element visible can be replaced if they wear out though. Love these buckets. They are thermostatically controlled and the new ones like ours can hide the cord away in the bottom.

  3. A mash with a ratio of 3:1, beet pulp to bran, will help maintain the proper calcium / phosphorus ratio. I've been feeding Val a daily beet pulp / bran mash for years, and while his head is large lol, he seems to be in good health.

    Regarding frequency, I've come across research in a number of places suggest that feeding bran mashes infrequently is actually upsetting to the system - better to feed them on a regular basis. As with most horse care issues, there a many opinions floating around.

    Here's a nice comprehensive article on the subject...

    1. Completly true, it is all about what is best for a specific horse. We feed garlic too and there has been negative thoughts about that floating around. The horse world never lacks for debates :)

  4. This post makes winter sound like such a great time! What with teapots, sewing, and fancy new horse-hangout construction going on. :)

  5. I have been so behind the eight ball on winterizing this year! All my stuff is everywhere and none of it is at the barn, where it needs to be, haha