Fall is definitely here and Winter is right around the corner even if it doesn’t start until December. You want to be prepared for fall/winter right now! This is the time to do your cleaning and preparing for the colder weather. Your barn fans may be turned off (if you have an enclosed barn) and you should be preparing for the cold winds, snow and rainy season.
#1 – Power wash your rain gutters. Make sure to check your rain gutters for leaves, birds’ nests, rocks and other debris that can stop the successful flow of rain water away from your barn and stalls. Washing them out is a good way to clean things AFTER you have physically removed large sticks, leaves and other items. If you wash these things out and they get stuck in the downspouts then that doesn’t do you any good. Make sure that the largest items are removed first. Check your gutters when you are washing them out for leaks, holes or if the sections have separated or moved. If you are in a HEAVY snow area you may not have gutters, which is normal and if you do have them you may want to remove them now! Snow can and will damage your gutters and when the snow slides it may well tear the gutters from your roof. This is the time to get those things repaired.
#2 – Check all the welds around your barn to make sure that nothing has rusted through which can affect the integrity of the structure. If so, then you will want to contact a certified welder to fix any issues. You also want to check all your bolts if your barn is “redheaded” into your foundation. Believe it or not these can come loose. You may have to remove the cover that hides these bolts, but it is worth it to make sure that they are tightened. If your barn has sections that are screwed together, then you will want to check each and EVERY screw to make sure it is as tight as it can be also.
#3 – Checking your roof is another important inspection that needs to be completed at this time of year. You will want to make sure that the sections of your metal roof that overlay each other have not lifted because of wind or tree limbs, vines or other sources. First you will want to remove any objects that may be rubbing on your roof. If you have sections that are lifted adding additional screws to secure them down again is advisable. The obvious thing to avoid is lifted sections that can be torn off in heavy wind. If you have a composition roof or tile make sure that there are not missing tiles which will then leak and damage the wood underneath your roof. You don’t want damage and the entire roof caves in on your stock.
#4 – Last but not least! Remove the bedding from all your stalls and check each base channel in the stalls to confirm that they have not rusted through because of urine or fecal matter build-up. If you find rust areas, but there are not wholes this is a good time to get”rust” proof paint and apply it immediately. This can help to prevent further erosion of the metal. You may want to think about contacting the original barn company for replacement parts if they are damaged severely because if your horse(s) rub on the wall with damaged base channels then the entire wall will move and possibly break thus loosing the entire weight barring load on that wall which then stresses the other walls & roof.
Let’s all get our winter jackets from the closet and prepare to batten down the hatches for winter. This will get you one more step towards that preparation. Keeping you and your horses is always the way to have a good winter season and to error on the side of caution is always the best avenue to take.
One last thing – DO NOT forget to check ALL your water lines. Look for leaks, cracks, loose fittings etc. Also insolate all exposed pipe with either rubber insulation or insulation tape. If you have automatic waters in your barn you will want to make sure that these are especially insolated. You surely do not want to come out one morning and find your horse standing in 6-10 inches of freezing water.
Have a Safe, successful and fun Fall/Winter season with your riding and everything you do.
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