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How often do you move your mobile field shelter?

Thursday 16th September, 2021

horses grazing outside mobile field shelter

Horses aren’t exactly the easiest pets to house. Unlike most animals, they can’t just curl up at the end of your bed- let alone fit through the front door. Many horse owners opt for mobile field shelters as they are less expensive than barns, and are believed to be healthier homes for horses.

The main reason that owners choose mobile field shelters over more permanent solutions is that they typically do not require planning permission. However, with this benefit comes concern over how often you need to move your mobile field shelter. ‘Mobile’ being the operative word here, shelters should be moved every so often to avoid potential penalties. So, how often do you move your mobile field shelter?

What is a mobile field shelter?

To better understand this question, it’s good to get an understanding of the difference between mobile and static field shelters. 

In general, field shelters provide warmth to grazing animals during the cold and shade in the heat. The key difference between the two, as their names indicate, is mobility. Mobile field shelters are designed to be moved around and come with skids so that they can be transported easily. Whereas, field shelters are permanent structures, typically having a base or water supply.

mobile field shelter

When to move your mobile field shelter

As mobile shelters are not considered permanent structures, you most likely won’t need planning permission to set them up. However, just because your shelter is moveable and has no concrete base, does not mean that you won’t face penalties. 

If you fail to move your shelter to a new location in the field, you  may be in  potential danger of paying penalties to your local authority if they deem it to be a permanent rather than mobile structure. There have been instances where individuals have been fined for failing to move their shelters often enough. So, it’s a good idea to take precautions and move your mobile field shelter at least once every six or eight weeks.

Adding a base to a ‘mobile’ shelter may complicate things- regardless of whether the shelter has skids or not. For instance, shelters with concrete bases are almost always considered to be non-mobile structures. Moreover, in the past, bases made from other materials, such as washed river stone have been deemed as permanent structures. So, even if your shelter is designed to be mobile, you may require planning permission from your local council before putting down a base. In 2018, Dartmoor National Park informed Dartmoor residents that mobile field shelters are not automatically exempt from requiring planning permission. So, if you want to be on the safe side, seek advice from your local planning authority.

How to move your mobile field shelter safely

Now that we know how often you should move your structure, what about how? 

  1. Move your horses out of the way. First things first- it goes without saying- but make sure that your horses are out and away from the shelter.
  2. Test if the ground is wet. If you are able to see your footprints in the soil, it may be best to wait until the ground is dry again. Moving your shelter on a wet day will not only ruin the land, but also, you risk getting stuck.
  3. Make sure screws and bolts are secure. Once you’ve established that the conditions are right, it’s time to check that all screws are tight and secure. You may wish to secure brackets to prevent the structure twisting in transit- ensure that these are tightly bolted also. 
  4. Move the shelter slowly. When in transit, move in a slow straight line and watch out for uneven ground or any overhanging branches. You may need to accelerate a little to begin with, but once you’re moving, move slowly to avoid damaging your land or shelter.
  5. Anchor your shelter. Once you’ve found a nice dry, flat spot, it’s time to fix your shelter to the ground. Hammer anchor pegs into each bracket to secure your shelter and prevent any unwanted movement.

Benefits of moving a mobile field shelter

With any concerns about how often you should, or how to, move your mobile field shelter, here are the benefits.

  1. Your horses will constantly have fresh grass. By moving the shelter around instead of keeping it static, you allow for your land to recover and grow. This means that your horses always have a fresh patch of grass for grazing, helping to reduce feeding costs.
  2. Provides protection for your horses and land. As we mentioned earlier, shelters are designed to protect horses from the elements throughout the year. By moving your shelter in summer, not only can you provide your horses with shade, but also prevent weeds from growing. Likewise, in winter, you can shield your horses from strong wind and keep them out of muddy areas. 
  3. Helps keep your horses happy. One of the main advantages of mobile field shelters is that they not only allow you to adapt to the environment, but also to your horse’s needs. You may have noticed that your horses have a favourite grazing spot or an area of the field they prefer to rest in. With a mobile shelter, you can easily move the structure to make the space more comfortable for your horses. This is a lot more difficult to achieve with a permanent structure. So, if you opt for a permanent structure, pick its location carefully.
Small sand coloured horse laying down in a field

Each horse is different and so are each person’s circumstances. To get some advice about mobile fields shelters or planning permission, get in touch with us today. We are happy to help!

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