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A California Girl’s Winter Survival Guide – Part 2: The Barn

Winter really does make the barn and all of the turnout fields gorgeous! I took this picture one early morning while doing breakfast, and it’s one of my favorites.


But with the beautiful white snow and peaceful mornings comes a mess of new barn chores: breaking ice in the filled turnout troughs, hauling water all over the farm, and trying to make sure that all blankets stay with the right horse!

Here are a few tricks to make the barn a little more bearable during those cold winter months:

Get a De-Icer if possible! As much fun as breaking ice in water troughs is, trying to hammer through 3 inches of ice isn’t going to do anyone any good. Do yourself and your hammer a favor and get a de-icer. I recommend the Ice Chaser Floating Tank De-Icer. It only turns on when it senses the temperature drop, and it’s made of cast aluminum for durability. While this isn’t a possibility for every turnout, the horses do seem to enjoy the warmer water (and it makes my life a lot easier).

On a similar note, I like to ensure that every horse has at least one heated bucket in their stall through the winter. Simply plug the bucket in, and it’ll keep the water nice and unfrozen through those cold nights. My boys are currently enjoying the Heated Flatback Bucket, and it couldn’t be any easier to use. Equipped with a 6’ cord, this bucket is the perfect option for almost every stable.

If you don’t feel comfortable using an electric bucket throughout the winter or don’t have access to an outlet for the de-icer, then I’d recommend using a simple bucket insulator with your current buckets. This gives your water a fighting chance of staying liquid and fighting off Jack Frost!

Yes, you will still have to haul buckets all over creation and, yes, your jeans will probably freeze many times for all the water you spill on yourself, but these tools will help to save at least a little bit of your sanity! Besides, hauling at least a few buckets will help you burn off some of those extra calories you consumed over the holidays…


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One comment on “A California Girl’s Winter Survival Guide – Part 2: The Barn
  1. Jana says:

    Just another idea for those cold winter days and water buckets: heat up a kettle of water before going out to do your morning/ evening feeding and dump it into your horses water bucket to bring the warm up just a bit (make sure to mix it in!), together with a clean wood log which will freeze into the ice layer and allow your horse to push it down and break the ice themselves. Another tip, make sure you use a pretty good sized bucket (more surface to freeze takes longer) and leave a salt/mineral lick close by to keep your horse drinking enough 🙂
    Those where my “fail saves” when our temps dropped below 30.

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