What are you doing to get your horses ready for cooler weather and winter coming?
This is the time of year I get fecal’s done to see if there are any parasite issues to address. Do not do fecals on the full moon as the count will be a false high. Use a chemical de-wormer if you must, but we always recommend a more natural approach with our Herbal Wormer and Paratox if you do have a parasite load. After the first hard frost/freeze do another fecal just to be sure if you have low to medium shedders.
I do a weight check on everyone to make sure that they are all at a good weight and if not then I add more to that horse or mini’s bucket feed to try to add some before cold weather really sets in and it would be much harder. If you have older horses they may not maintain their weight on just forage, add a good senior feed, better yet an organic senior feed without soy, also consider supplementing all horses with Vitamin C, Vitamin E and some Omega Fatty Acids by way of flax and chia. Some horses may need a concentrated feed to maintain their weight through the winter.
If you live in colder climates that get a lot of snow, have you considered getting a heater for your troughs to encourage your horse(s) to drink more water? Fall and winter can bring on impaction colic if you horse(s) does not drink enough water.
Have you taken a good look at your horse(s) I mean really checked him/her over, do you see unusual or uneven winter hair growth? Do you see a neck that is more “cresty” then it should be? Is there a swelling of the sheath or udder or edema on the belly? All signs that there may be a metabolic issue, including pre-cushing’s or cushing’s, or thyroid issues as well. This is not the time for blood tests for this condition, wait until January when levels are more normal for a more accurate assessment. But do keep an eye on it.
Have you checked you medical supplies, just in case, do you have a supply of banamine paste (not expired), how about some bute? If you are in a snow storm your vet may not be able to reach you, and having a small amount of these would help your horse until you can get help. How about bandages, gauze, topical ointments, and Vetracine?
If you have older horses or laminitic prone horses or ponies do you have either Winter Soxs for Horses or wool socks you can put on them to keep their legs and hooves warm? The ones I have I water proof this time of year so that we are ready.
Have you inspected your shelters or run in sheds for roof repairs, or how about your barn?
Do you have your hay supply in for the fall and winter and have you had it tested to see what you are needing to add by way of vitamins and minerals?
Do you have a supply of hay pellets or your favorite organic feed on hand in the event that you cannot get out due to weather or winter illnesses like the flu?
Do you have enough stall bedding on hand?
If you blanket are your blankets in good order, does anything need your attention or repair?
How about you? Are your muck boots good for one more year? Do you have warm gloves, a wool cap and socks and outerwear? What about supplies on hand for yourself and your pets? I always try to have at least two weeks of dog and cat food ahead, and have soups & turkey chili in the freezer, a variety canned goods and canned milk (for coffee or tea) in reserve.
Have you weather proofed your well so that your pipes don’t freeze and you always have water?
Having recently been through the fires in California along with a swarm of earthquakes, no power for ten days and more, I have become more hyper-vigilant about all of the above, and if you have a generator do you start it monthly, do you get it serviced regularly and do you have gas to power it, and or propane (mine is a dual fuel).
My house is heated by a wood burning stove so my winter supply of wood is already delivered and stacked and I do have a small propane heater if needed.
Just a few thoughts as we head our way towards what may be a wet and colder winter.