The recent change in weather has reminded us autumn is here and winter routines will be commencing soon if they haven’t already! Of course, we want to keep our horses turned out as much as possible but as daylight hours decrease, grazing depletes, the ground becomes poached and gateways muddy, horses will inevitably spend more time in their stables.
It is important to make sure the stable environment is as natural as possible to mimic being outside in the fresh air grazing. This means making sure they have adequate access to long stemmed forage whilst ensuring the air quality is clean; minimising exposure to respirable dust from forage and bedding.
Horses are trickle feeders, their health and well-being is dependent on an almost constant access to forage so making sure stabled horses have access to good quality hay or haylage is paramount to avoid digestive and metabolic upsets.
Ventilation is key and should result in 5 changes of air per hour, all stable designs are different but make sure all your air vents are clear, windows are open and have a look to see if there are any adaptations you can make to the design to improve air flow.
Keeping the stable environment clean isn’t just a case of mucking out, cobwebs harbour bacteria and trap dust so should be removed (a hoover with a long reach works well to get up into the rafters!), surfaces such as window ledges and door frames should be wiped down and ideally disinfected. Water and feed buckets/troughs should also be kept clean.