This is the first time in owning horses where I have 100% full control of management that includes a barn (when Porsche & Tesla lived at my folks' place they were in a 4+ acre pasture 24-7: it made things pretty simple :)
So, now I have to think about things like:
What bedding is best/most cost effective?
Do I have emergency contingencies?
All burning questions, and here is what is working for me thus far:
In my previous state of CA, honestly the only blankets I ever really needed were sheets. Then, right before my move to more northern climes, I read Cob Jockey's post about blanket liners (here) and I was like: I'M Doing THAT! So I got light (100g), and medium (300g) liners (with the thought that using the two together = a heavy 400g liner, and waterproof Amigo sheets in red (Porsche) and blue (Tesla). This system has totally worked!! I like that I can wash the liners as needed too - and they are much easier to take to the laundromat! 5/5 stars! Now that the girls have a snugly barn at night, if the weather is permitting, I try and keep them naked, to let them "air-out" and help stave off any rubs (Tesla tends to gets one little spot on her left shoulder)
Amigo Sheets (link)
Schneiders VTEK blanket liners in 100g (link):
and MIO Heavy liners 300g (link)
A trick I learned from some of the locals here - using wood fuel pellets (fir) as shavings. The bags of fuel pellets are SUPER ABSORBANT, and very available here. In fact they remind of the powder shavings that one CA barn I stayed at used. I liked those, but they tended to be dusty, and I was afraid they might think the fuel pellets were grain pellets, so I put a thin layer of shavings on top. Neither of the girls are chewing on them, and honestly, it is easier to pick stalls without 'em, so we will go full on pellets next time. They are > 50 cents less per bag (and more liquid holding power to boot). They change colour to a darker shade when saturated, so it's easy to see what needs replacing. Win-win.
You know what makes horses happy? Access to hay 24-7. I have nets in the barn and nets outside - so far nobody has chewed through them...they are cheap Niblet nets from Riding Warehouse, but I've been pleased on how well they've held up thus far (~2mo. use), and a 2-2.5in. opening
I've had both girls on a mix of local pellets, rice bran, CalTrace plus, magnesium, and concentrated biotin now for a solid 6mos. I can see a HUGE improvement in hoof quality, and coats - they are as shiny now as in summer!
I was using the Animed Biotin (6mg/oz) - but, I wasn't really seeing results, and the low concentration meant I needed to use 3 scoops per serving, so the value just wasn't there. I switched to these more concentrated pellets (20mg/oz), and I like change that I'm seeing in coat and hoof quality.
There was a great post recently by Calypso Farms about Barn Safety and Fire Prevention:
A Good reminder of all the little things that can add up to major safety gains. There is water 3 feet outside the barn, and I don't use heated water buckets. Only a few bales are stored in the barn at any one time, and the bulk of the bales are under a lean-to further back on the property. I have a fire extinguisher and will be installing a high quality smoke detector in there this week.