Now's the Time to Winterize Your Horse and Barn

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It still feels like summer in some parts of the country, but before you know it, the cold weather will be here. Take advantage of fall's cool weather to get your horse and barn in shape for winter.

Horses fare better when they enter the cold months in good shape. If your horse is a hard keeper, add some calories to his diet before it gets cold in the form of extra forage.

Avoid blanketing too early in the fall. Horses adapt better to cold weather when they've had a chance to grow some coat. Blanketing early will retard winter coat growth. Unless you plan to show your horse or work him hard in the cold weather, try to keep his coat and living conditions as natural as possible.

If you don't have a shed for your pastured horses, now's the time to build one. Horses need shelter from wind and snow, and a three-sided shelter in the pasture can work wonders in keeping yours healthy.

Call your vet and schedule a fall check up, vaccinations and dental care. Some vaccines, such as influenza and West Nile, need to be administered twice a year.