Thursday 5th November, 2015
Winter is well and truly here, and as we button up our waterproofs and pull our woolly hats further down over our frost bitten ears it is worth sparing a thought for our equine friends in the field. Many fields of course have natural shelter from the elements, but equally as many have none and even the best turnout rug in the world is going to do little to shelter your horse from the arctic winds and icy rain.
With this in mind, now is the perfect time to invest in a field shelter for your horse, and if there are several horse owners on a yard willing to contribute they can prove incredibly cost effective to erect. The addition of a field shelter can reduce the need and duration of stabling a horse, particularly if the ground is fairly well drained and the paddock isn’t over grazed. There are a variety of different designs of field shelter, and although most are built using pre-treated timber the size and layout of your shelter depends upon the number of horses you wish to accommodate and the budget you have available.
Fixed field shelters will require planning permission from your local council, however if you prefer to have a mobile field shelter design that can be moved around the field on steel skids then no planning permission is needed. Whether you opt for a fixed shelter or a mobile one, the location of the shelter is very important, especially during the winter months when even well drained paddocks can be quickly turned into a quagmire. Make sure you erect your shelter on the flattest part of the paddock, ideally away from gateways and close to natural shelter where possible.
Field shelters can be bought prepacked and ready to erect from reputable companies which can take the headache and hard work out of designing and measuring each piece of timber, however if you are looking for a bespoke design then field shelters can be made to order. Of course premium services like these will incur premium prices, therefore if you are looking to keep costs down then you can always opt to build your own shelter providing you use the correct materials that are study and safe to use for horses. The timber itself will need to be suitable length and thickness to accommodate both the height and weight of a horse if he leans or kicks against it.
Field shelters should be approximately 3.5m wide in order to comfortably accommodate one horse, and an extra 1.5m should be added for each horse, so consider any future new additions that may be gracing your yard when considering the size of the shelter you will invest in.