A good-quality and well-kept hay to feed your horses are crucial for your horse’s health and safety.
If you need to keep larger amounts of hay or want to keep it away from your horses to avoid accidental snacking, then a hay barn is a worthy investment. But there’s a lot to consider. In this article, we will run through some of the main things you need to keep in mind when building a hay barn.
Trim or Shed coats to catch mud and make brushing easier
Winter months can often come with much more damp, muddy soil that can get clumpy and stick to your horse’s coat. Trimming the coat can make it easier to groom with brushes. Using the toothed side of an open shedding blade can help get rid of any dried-out mud. Try to stick to the horse’s fleshiest areas and make sure to reduce pressure if going over hips and withers. You can do a full-body clip to make grooming easier, however, if you do, you’ll need to keep your horse covered with a high-quality waterproof winter blanket to keep them warm and comfortable throughout winter.
Use a Grooming Vacuum for thick coats
Vacuuming your horse may be a more efficient way to keep your horse clean when their thick winter coats make it harder to get through with your usual brushes. Plus, a grooming vacuum can get a lot of the dander and dust that a brush might miss. Most come with different attachments to make the job easier, and some can reverse flow to be used as a dryer instead!
Deep Clean with hot- towelling when it’s too cold for a bath
Also known as steam cleaning, using hot towelling lets you give your horse a deep clean in the colder months when baths aren’t an option. All you do is start by heating some water, you can use a portable kettle or a submersible heater for this. As the water heats up, begin brushing out any dirt and debris, then soak the towel in the hot water. Wring out the towel as much as you can until it’s nearly dry then briskly run it against the grain of the hair.
Work in small circles and make sure you rotate to a clean part of the towel when you’ve picked up too much dirt. You may need a few bath towels for your horse and use a small hand towel for the face and neck area.
Use your fingers
Sometimes with the combination of thick winter coats and muddy fields, the best thing to do is to use your fingertips. Start by using your bare fingers to check for any scabs or sore patches of skin. Make sure you also check the legs for any inflammation that may be hiding under a winter coat. These areas can sweat a lot and be prone to bacteria building up and causing infections.
Once you’ve checked with bare hands, you can also use grooming gloves on your horse too to help brush out a winter coat and use your fingers to directly get out any bits of dirt and dander deeper in the coat.
Consider winter blankets
While not completely essential to keeping a horse warm in the winter months, there are some situations where it’s a good idea. For example, if you decide to do a full-body clip of their winter coat, or if you have outdoor horses without shelter access. Foals and senior horses that have a harder time maintaining their body temperature may require a good quality blanket.
Blanketing can also act as an extra barrier for dirt and mud in winter conditions, which will make grooming a much easier task.
Look after your tools
Tougher weather can mean you might wear out your tools a little faster, it’s important to keep an eye on the condition of these. In some situations, it may be an idea to invest in tools specifically for grooming in the winter months.
If you’re worried about your horses having a good shelter in the winter months, our team can create a bespoke shelter perfect to keep them warm, comfortable, and safe. Get in touch or download our brochure to find out more.