Shelter for Your Horse
Horses were originally wild animals and, as such did not have any shelter. But over the years, horses have become more and more domesticated and now there are few truly wild horses left. Most horses these days are kept in a barn or stable, at least for some of the time. But even those which are not stabled will require some shelter at times, to protect them from elements including rain, wind and the sun’s rays.
StablesYou can, of course, offer your horse shelter by keeping him in a stable and turning him out during the day. He will be able to graze and wander about while he is out but will be protected from the worst excesses of the weather indoors.However, he will still need blanketing during the day in the winter while he is turned out to protect against wind and rain. And always remember that a blanket that is not warm enough is worse than no blanket so be sure to select the correct weight for your four-legged friend.
You should really make sure your horse or pony can go back in the stable when it gets cold and wet and if you only have him part liveried, it is worth asking whether they can provide a service where they lead the horses in the event of bad weather.To make sure your horse is fully sheltered in bad weather, you should always allow a good amount of straw bedding. The colder it is outside and the harder and colder the floor, the more bedding the horse will need.
Horse SheltersThe alternative, if you choose to keep your horse outdoors all of the time, is to invest in a horse shelter. No horse should be left totally outside without some form of cover.
A horse shelter is a three-sided shelter designed especially for horses. Plans are available from the British Horse Society. A horse shelter should be plenty big enough for your horse to get in and move around, and, if you have more than one horse, you should double the room allowed. In addition, if the shelter is for multiple horses, build it wider than it is deep. If you do not, dominant horses will either block the entrance and prevent quieter horses from getting in, or trap them in when they want to get out. There is a hierarchy amongst horses and members of groups will exhibit these characteristics.
The location of your horse shelter is important. The open side should face away from the prevailing wind.It also needs to be sturdy and be able to withstand high winds and heavy snow, not to mention the possibility of horses kicking it. If the sturdiness is compromised it could fall onto the horses and hurt them.
Bedding should be put in a horse shelter as it makes it more comfortable, especially in winter. Old and young horses especially will need bedding in there year round.
Horses are animals but do have needs, which, you, as owner, have a duty of care to provide for them. Like humans, one of these needs is shelter. And shelter is just as important as those other basic needs of water and food. The animal’s welfare should always be paramount and you should always think carefully about the quality of food, water and shelter you are giving to them and make sure it suits their needs at all times.