We here at Mid-Rivers Equine Centre certainly enjoy making barn calls to beautifully decorated barns. It puts us all in the holiday spirit. What gives us ‚Äî¬†and owners ‚Äî¬†the holiday blues are visits to sick and injured horses caused by hazardous barn decorations.
Five Tips To Holiday-Proof Your Barn
1. Don’t Jingle Those Bells All the Way Home
Horses not accustomed to hearing bells can be spooked with jingling barn and stall doors opening and closing. Avoid accidents by slowing introducing your horse to jingle bells to keep them and everyone else safe.
2. Don’t Let That Christmas Glow be Your Barn on Fire
If you have a real tree in your barn, make sure to water it daily and check those lights. When decorating your tree, only used lights approved for exterior use to avoid shorts. Cords should:
- Remain dust free
- Never feel hot to the touch
- Be out of reach of horses
Don’t forget those curious cats either. Be sure to put lights where a cat can’t pull them down into hay storage or to where a horse may reach them to prevent accidental electrocution and fires.
3. Hang Your Stockings with Care
Hanging stockings outside of each horses stall is darling. Those stockings, especially the ones with treats inside are oh-so tempting. Should your horse manage to get ahold of their or their neighbor‚Äôs stocking, they may accidentally ingest a part of the stocking’s fabric while snacking on the goodies tucked safely inside. This can lead to colic. Instead, hang stockings in the tack room or another safe space in the barn where your horse can’t accidentally get ahold of them.
4. HO-HO-NO Mistletoe
Mistletoe is extremely toxic to horses, dogs, and cats. If you must have mistletoe in your barn, pick up a faux version from your local craft store. They are just as festive and 100 percent safer. Of course, it is still important to hang it where your horse can not reach it to prevent ingestion.
5. Yew-Tide Care Hung by the Stall
Wreaths and garland made from the yew plant are highly toxic, and one mouthful can be deadly. When purchasing your live wreaths and garland, ask what material they are made of. If the seller can’t tell you, don’t chance it and look for a wreath elsewhere. Find wreaths and garlands made from materials that are non-toxic to horses or opt for faux.