It's winter! Doesn't fall come before winter?
Fall is often a busy time of year for equine businesses. The winter problems you are living with now could have been fixed last fall if you had taken time to plan for this winter?
While fall is the perfect season to prepare for inclement winter weather, being in the throes of winter now can help you take notes on what you need to do in the coming fall so winter of 2018-2019 is easier for man and beast.
You know that icy spot next to the barn entrance that you fight each winter? Put it on your "to-do" list for fall to fix! Among the list you might make now for next fall would be checking gutters and drains to prevent flooding and ice hazards created by pooling water. Make sure that any ditch or channel that directs water away from the stable or arena is free from debris and is in good working order. Since gutters and drains are likely tied into roof systems, fall is the time to inspect rooflines, too.
“Look for loose spots in the roofs and places where wind, water or snow could cause damage to the barn,” said Larry Langer. Larry and his wife, Marnye, operate Langer Equestrian Group in Burbank, California.
Even if your barn is located in an area that isn’t impacted by cold or snowy weather conditions, winter brings shorter days and less daylight. You might forget that by next fall, so make a note now for your fall "to-do" list to check lights, and maybe add one or two new lights in areas affected by winter darkness.
“Are your existing lights working and do the people using the facility know where they are,” he asked?
Depending on your facility and existing light sources, it might be necessary to add lighting around the exterior of barns, horse care areas, walkways and parking area to avoid injury. Considering electrical expansion is only one piece of the equation. Electrical issues are one of the most common causes of barn fires.
“Fall is a good time to check your electrical infrastructure to avoid shorts, tripping breakers and worse, fire,” Larry said.
To learn more about the common causes of barn fires and how to prevent them, check out our previous articles on the topic.
If you planned a price increase for summer or fall, now is the time to prepare for communicating the change to clients.
“Make sure when you are announcing the increase that it is done in a polite and straightforward manner. Have reasons why so that the boarders understand the change,” said Kendra Duggleby, a United States Hunter Jumper Emerging Athlete.
As you are trudging through mud, snow and ice this winter, keep your "to-do" list up-to-date for items you need to check this fall so that next winter will be easier.