Winter is Coming … Even to Florida
Florida is a beautiful place to visit and live, especially if you’re not particularly fond of the cold. People from all across the country (and even all over the world) choose to vacation here. Florida has the highest average daily temperatures of any US state – even warmer than Hawaii or Louisiana! It’s no accident that retirement communities are so prolific in The Sunshine State. But even though Florida tends to experience mild winters, that doesn’t mean it never gets cold here. On occasion, a cold front can travel down the peninsula and cause freezing conditions, particularly in the inland regions.
Does it ever snow in FL? Yes! While it doesn’t happen with regularity, the Florida Panhandle area does get measurable snow from time to time. Snow even fell as far south as Miami back in 1977, and climatologists agree that snow could fall here again at some point in the future, given the right conditions.
Florida, Horses, and Cold Weather
Florida is home to nearly every popular breed of horse. The equine industry in FL supports everything from horse breeding, to training, to racing, to polo, to rodeo, to horse competitions, including dressage, cross country, and show jumping. Horse lovers are drawn to the moderate climate, mineral-rich water, favorable soil, and outstanding horse facilities found in The Sunshine State. The horse industry is big business in Florida, generating an annual GDP impact of around $6.8 billion each year.
And because all of this is true, it’s incredibly important for horse owners to make sure their horses are well cared for year-round. To that end, the negative impacts of winter conditions on horse health simply can’t be ignored. Even in Florida, occasional cold weather can be uncomfortable and potentially harmful for horses and their caregivers.
Tips for Proper Horse Care During the Winter Months
No matter where you’re located, now is the time to make the necessary preparations to make sure your horses will be protected and provided for once Old Man Winter comes to town. Here are some good winterization tips for horse owners:
1. Winterize your horse barn…
Start by checking your horse barn doors, windows, and other areas for any significant drafts. Cover any holes or openings that might let in too much cold air, and make sure all doors and windows will open and shut properly. You might consider adding some insulation to the roof and walls to help keep your horses warmer, too. Give your barn interior a thorough pre-winter cleaning, making sure to remove any cobwebs and excess dust. Inspect the lighting, and make sure to replace any blown bulbs. A well-lit barn is safer for horses, and it’s easier to work in for you.
2. …but allow for proper ventilation, too.
While you absolutely want to eliminate any excessive cold drafts, you also still need to allow for some fresh air to be able to flow through your horse barn. Good ventilation is one key to horse health; a barn that’s “too tight” can prevent needed airflow circulation, which can lead to respiratory problems for horses. It’s important that your barn is able to vent excess moisture, dust, and waste gases. In addition, stagnant air more easily promotes the growth of respiratory disease organisms that can harm your horses.
3. Lead your horses to drink water.
Horses are more likely to get behind on their water consumption if their water’s cold, or if there’s ice present. Basketballs or soccer balls left floating on the water’s surface can be enough to keep water from freezing in regions like FL that don’t typically experience hard freezes. While you can’t always make a horse drink, horses are much more likely to drink warm water during cold weather. Some other ways to make sure your horses get enough water include soaking the feed or bran mash, offering beet pulp, and providing salt blocks to help stimulate your horses to drink.
4. Be proactive about horse feed supplies.
Out in the wild, horses prefer to graze almost continuously, and can graze up to 18 hours a day. Because this is the way horses are wired physiologically, their stomachs tend to produce a LOT of acid. The best way to help prevent horses from getting ulcers in the winter – or in any season – is to allow them constant access to grazing fodder, rather than simply feeding them twice a day. By putting a slow feeder in each stall, you’ll be able to better sync your horses with their natural instincts, and they’ll be happier and healthier as a result.
5. Plan ahead for horse comfort during the winter months.
Horses like to get out and about on a crisp winter morning, but wind and wet weather can eventually take a toll. If you blanket your horses, keep some clean, dry blankets on hand to replace wet blankets. A good rule of thumb to follow is this: if a horse’s ears are cold, then the horse is cold. A horse with a full or partial body clip does need blanketing during winter weather. But with a full winter coat, most horses don’t require blanketing as long as they have proper shelter provided. Over blanketing can cause a horse to overheat, which can lead to dehydration and several health problems.
Choose a Well-Designed Metal Horse Barn from Metal Barn Central!
If you’re a horse owner or horse whisperer that’s serious about making the best use of your horses and treating them well, then we know that taking proper care of your horses during the winter months is important to you. A well-designed, well-made horse barn does more than simply shelter your horses from the elements. The right horse barn should also help promote the health, safety, and wellbeing of your horses. A barn constructed of the right materials needs less in terms of maintenance and repairs, too.
When it comes to providing quality metal barns and horse barn kits, Metal Barn Central has you covered! Whether you’re located in FL, or in one of the other 45 states we serve, we can get you exactly what you need in a metal horse barn, hay barn, loafing shed, or even a full-sized riding arena! In fact, we can work with you to design your own custom barn or other metal farm building. And whether you need a Steel Barn in Florida, or a barn most anywhere else in the continental U.S., we’re happy to deliver and install your new building at no additional charge!
Ready to get your perfect horse barn started? You can connect with us through this simple online form, or just pick up the phone and speak with one of our friendly building experts at (980) 365-8481. Let us show you the Metal Barn Central difference!