Winter is coming. Are you ready? If not, here are some tips on getting organized.
Originally published in the SmartPak blog. Written by SmartPaker Sophia Hall
When I woke up this morning to feed the horses before work, it was a crisp 39 degrees where I live in Massachusetts. I was very close to breaking out my ski pants but reminded myself “It’s only November. You’ve got time!” But wait, it’s November! With winter weather quickly approaching (even if I wish it weren’t true), I realized I needed to make sure everything was organized before my hands needed warmers and the heater got moved to our tack room.
The first thing I did was organize my horses’ blankets. Luckily, I was proactive this past spring, and I washed all blankets and sheets, so they were neatly folded and ready to go this season. However, I guess I forgot to get my SmartPak Fleece Quarter Sheet washed, so I got some SmartWorks Blanket Wash to get it looking all new and fresh again! While organizing our barn blankets, it became extra apparent that five of the horses at my barn have the same SmartPak Ultimate Turnout Sheet, so to make things easier on my barn manager and myself, I purchased a few Round Brass Nameplates – 1in. For mine, I did my name on the first line and then listed if it was a sheet, medium weight, or heavy on the second. I attached it to one of the D-rings around the neck of the sheet or blanket and now it’s a lot easier to tell what belongs to who.
A few years ago, my barn took the plunge and we installed electrical outlets in front of each stall. This allowed us to add Heated Flatback Buckets to each stall. While we cleaned them at the end of the season, they were a bit dusty from being upstairs in the hayloft, so they needed a good scrub before installing. Previously, we used the SmartPak Insulated Water Bucket Covers-5 Gallon to help in the lowest temperatures of the winter. While the Heated Flatback Buckets have been a true lifesaver (no more hammering ice in the mornings!), we do still use the SmartPak Insulated Water Bucket Covers in our paddocks, outside. When horses are turned out individually in the winter, we’ll use a smaller water bucket and plan to re-fill as needed. However, this season, SmartPak launched a SmartPak Insulated Water Bucket Cover in 70 Quart! For the paddocks where we have a few horses, these will be a great bonus since we prefer to use Fortiflex Muck Buckets for the horses’ water.
And speaking of water, I also got a couple 5 Hook Portable Tack Racks to hang over the stall wall in the grooming stall at my barn. This is a perfect hook to let wet blankets or sheets dry off in the winter!
When the barn feels prepared for winter and my horses have everything, they need to be ready for the impending weather, I like to make sure I have a pair of work gloves that are warm and functional. In recent years, the Heritage All Leather Cold Weather Gloves have been my go-to. They are easy to get on and off and even work for riding too. My last pair lasted two winters with everyday use, so this year I got to treat myself to a new pair.
So, while I am not thrilled that the temperatures are dropping, I feel better knowing that I am going into winter with all my ducks in a row! I’d say I have everything I need, but horses love to make us think we have everything for them until they need something we have yet to purchase. What are some ways that you prepare your barn for the winter months?
You can find this and more on the SmartPak blog. Go SmartPak and go riding!