Deck the stalls with tons of Christmas cheer this holiday season! Christmas time is fast approaching and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get decorating. Once your tree is up and wreaths are in every doorway of your home, head out to your barn and bring the Christmas cheer to your horse! They would love some decorations of their own and you’ll get to spend some extra time with your horse as you do so. Keep reading to get our tips on safely decorating your barn this holiday season!
Watch out for toxic decor
Although many of our favorite Christmas decorations look pretty, they may be toxic to our horses! Horses are very curious animals and tend to use their two strongest senses to explore, their nose and mouth. When placing your Holiday decorations in the barn, put them in a place or at an angle that your horses won’t be able to reach. If you’re decorating the stall doors, put them at a distance above the horse’s head or to the side far enough that they can’t stretch to eat the decor. Holly and mistletoe, two of the most well known holiday plants, are highly toxic if ingested so we suggest any decorations with these plants be placed away from the stalls. In addition, smaller decorations can be choking hazards so stick to bigger decor or place any objects with little pieces away from your curious horse. Yew is an evergreen-looking plant with red or yellow berries that are also toxic to horses. Fresh garland or wreaths made with live evergreen and have sap may also cause mild mouth irritation when ingested. The best way to avoid getting your horse sick with toxic decor is to put all decorations out of their reach!
Take fire hazard precautions
Lights are a great way to add some glow to your holiday season and many of us enjoy putting up Christmas lights both inside and outside of the house. Your horse can enjoy this same glow as long as you take the right precautions. Putting lights up outside of the barn gives you something to see everytime you go out to see your horse and lights up part of your pasture. Make sure to use outdoor extension cords for lights outside and inside the barn as they are built to withstand the extreme weather of the winter. Never run extension cords under carpets or blankets or near any flammable materials because it could cause a fire. When putting up lights inside the barn, keep the string lights and extension cords out of reach of your horse so they don’t try to bite them and hurt themselves. Using LED lights is also recommended not only because they are better for the environment, but also because they run cooler than regular lights and are less likely to start a fire. Read the warnings on all Christmas decorations in regards to the fire hazard warnings and make sure to unplug the lights when they aren’t being used. Always check the heat levels of your Christmas lights to make sure they aren’t over working and keep all electric decorations away from the stalls.
One great way to decorate for the holidays is to get your horse a stocking! You can make customized stockings with each of your horse’s names on them or grab a set and all of your horse’s can match. Hang the stockings outside of your horses stalls, away from their reach, and treat them with stocking stuffers throughout the holiday season. Make your own holiday horse treats or fill their stockings with safe treats like apples, pumpkins, carrots, strawberries, or bananas.
In addition to decorating for Christmas, it is important to monitor your horse’s health throughout the holiday season. Give your horse the gift of supplements and a check up for Christmas! If you are starting to notice signs of poor health in your horse, give Dr. Reilly a call and tell him about your horse's problems and get his expert advice, at no cost, it’s complimentary!