Sheds And Turnouts On Horse Farms

The ability for a horse to live outside is accomplished on many farms by providing structures that allow for free entrance and exit at any time for the horses.  These structures provide protection from the weather including rain, snow and wind.  Some incorporate doors that usually remain open but can be closed for containment when needed.

**CONTINUED IN ARTICLE TAB**

Related material – Sometimes I have a lot of material here that I have written, podcasted, video blogs and other things.  They will be listed in this tab.

Use the browser back button or menu to return to the index of topics.

⬇︎ CLICK ANY IMAGE BELOW TO REVEAL MORE INFORMATION ⬇︎

The ability for a horse to live outside is accomplished on many farms by providing structures that allow for free entrance and exit at any time for the horses.  These structures provide protection from the weather including rain, snow and wind.  Some incorporate doors that usually remain open but can be closed for containment when needed.

The advantage to keeping horses outdoors are many but all relate to the idea that horses do better outside.  Free movement keeps sore joints less painful.  Open air prevents respiratory problems. Footing of grass is what hooves were created for. 

The disadvantages include catching horses that don’t want to be caught, lack of the ability to observe horses (delivery of foal, injured) and exposure to weather and flies.  This last one is important because I have seen horses run through fences trying to get away from large biting flies.  But on the other hand I also have seen horses prefer to stand in the sunlight in minus 14 F (-25C) when there is no wind rather than inside their shed.

Cleaning turnout sheds is important but is usually not done daily but done at longer intervals.  Most keep laying down new bedding if bedding is used.  There are a few problems with this.  The first is that the ground retains moisture.  Even though there is no direct rainfall, because there is no direct sunlight the moisture is not fully evaporated.  This can lead to mud formation as well as make it uncomfortable to lay down.  In winter it can become rock hard.  Worse, if a “manure pack” is allowed to form (thick layer of bedding and manure) then heat will be rapidly conducted away from the horse.  This is countrary to the popular belief that a manure pack adds heat from the generation caused by decay.  While this may prevent the manure pack from freezing, the moisture is also a wick for heat conduction.  Just grab something wet with a wet pot holder and you will quickly discover this principle (be careful doing this as you will be burned).

Keeping horses outside in a shed with freedom from confinement is not an excuse for laziness.  Maintaining the fen cline is continuous for breaks or safety issues.  Cleaning the shed frequently is a must.  Both require the humans responsible to go outside themselves no matter what the weather is doing.  It is just part of owning and caring for horses.

Any videos related to this topic will be added here.  Stay tuned or comment a request.

  • Additional tables
  • Links to other in house articles
  • Links to outside articles
  • Reference material used in developing this topic.

There are no related articles here if you don’t see linked items.