• Holiday Barn Decorating

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    It’s that time of year again – THE HOLIDAYS!!!  Time for good friends, family and, of course, decorating your horse barn!! Before you start throwing that tinsel around, check out our safety tips so your festivities don’t turn into nightmares!  Injury to your horses due to electrical shock, poisoning or fire can be avoided with some easy safety tips.

    Deck the Halls… and the Barns!!

    Decorating with fresh flowers, plants and holiday items is a great way to ring in the season and get that Holiday feelings throughout your property.  It’s important to be aware, though, that certain traditional holiday plants are toxic to horses. 

    Autumn gourds and corn stalks, both popular for decorating during Thanksgiving, are toxic to horses and or carry harmful bacteria.  Placement of these seasonal items needs to be outside of your horses’ reach so as to avoid them becoming an unhealthy, dangerous snack! 

    Christmastime decorations are especially hazardous to horses and pets.  For instance, holly, and mistletoe are toxic to all pets including horses; whereas Poinsettias are extremely toxic for dogs and cats but only slightly toxic to horses.  But let’s face it, even “slightly” toxic is too much!  Yew, which is commonly used in wreaths, even in small amounts can be rapidly fatal to horses.  Ultimately, the safe decorating route is to keep all holiday plants far away from the mouths of our beloved pets.  Another way to go is to use artificial holiday plants from the craft store, again keeping them safely away from your horses’ mouths!

    For the creative type, consider using horseshoe wreaths or sleigh bells at the entrance to your barn.  And if you want a Christmas tree, why not use one of the live trees on your property to light up and decorate, out of reach from your pasture, of course!

    Lighting up your Barn

    Nothing says holidays like bright colorful lights!  Holiday lighting sets the backdrop and tone for your horse barn holiday decorations, but special consideration should be made for the safety of your precious horses. 

    Begin by making sure your lights are UL approved for outside use.  This step will ensure that any moisture in your barn does not cause damage to the lights, thereby possibly resulting in a fire.  In addition, consider using LED lights, as they run cooler than the old-fashioned light bulbs and are much more electric-bill friendly.

    No matter what type of lights you choose, all extension cords and lights should be plugged into GFI outlets.  These special outlets detect dangerous conditions and turn off the power immediately, avoiding dangerous shocks.   

    Be extra cautious to avoid having lights or wires hanging within reach of curious animals who may want to “check them out,” and be sure to place extension cords high off the ground to avoid a curious nibble or tripping hazard.  A good option to avoid extension cords altogether is to use battery-operated lights, thereby removing the tripping hazard altogether! 

    It’s always good practice to unplug and/or turn off all holiday lighting and decorations at the end of each day to avoid electrical hazards and save on your electricity bill!

    Things that go Bump in the Night

    Most horses are not comfortable with loud or noisy holiday decorations that may spook them and give them anxiety. This means that the blowing snow globe or dancing lit up inflatable Santa near the barn is probably a no-go.  Consider putting these holiday items far enough away as to not scare your horses.

    Everyone loves decorating their barn for the holiday season.  Like anything else that involves horses, precautions must be taken to keep your décor safe for everyone.  Ultimately, with a little creativity and an eye toward decoration safety, you can enjoy a very merry stable this holiday season!