Providing shelter for your horse in winter months

Plan to make appropriate adjustments for shelter and protection from winter weather for your horse.

As we approach late autumn, it is a good time to make the appropriate adjustments for providing shelter for your horse in the winter months. Horses that are kept outside should be provided some sort of free choice shelter to protect themselves from severe weather elements. The most common type of shelter for horses kept outside are portable, open front sheds.  The Midwest Plan Service Horse Facilities Handbook recommends that for mature horses there should be 150 square feet (10 ft. x 15 ft.) of roofed area provided per horse.  In an effort to make it more convenient to handle horses, selecting the proper location for a portable shelter will be imperative. When selecting a site for the shelter, you should consider factors such as location to other buildings, traffic lanes, feeding area, ability to observe horses, manure cleanout, wet areas and placement of potential snow removal.  It is important to make note of the prevailing winds in your respective area. In most cases, you will want the open side of the shelter facing to the South or East during the winter months.  Additionally, use of a windbreak may also be effective in providing temporary relief from wind and blowing snow. Various configurations of windbreaks exist including: shelterbelts, snow fence, stacked round bales, earthen mounds, solid v-shaped fences, constructed porous windbreak barriers and others.  However, it should be realized that a solid windbreak fence offers protection for small areas that may already have general wind protection and partly open or porous windbreak fences reduce wind speed for a greater distance downwind and spread out drifted snow. For more information on plans for open front buildings and utilization of windbreaks you may wish to visit the Midwest Plan Service website.

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