• Horse Care:

  • Shelter

    You must provide some form of shelter must for your horse or pony. Even if you keep your horses in stalls for any portion of the day and turn them out on pasture, your horses should have access to a windbreak, loafing shed or a run-in area of the barn. A dry area protected from the wind, rain and snow provides necessary shelter in winter and gives horses relief from biting insects and hot sun in warmer months. For your horses' safety and comfort, the shelter should be kept clean and free of manure, garbage and debris.

    If your horse is stall-kept, he must be allowed outside for exercise and fresh air every day. Imagine how you would feel after spending weeks at a time in a small, dark room with no fresh air, exercise and nothing to think about. A highly social, active animal like a horse will not flourish when confined to a stall 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many of the health, soundness, and behavioral problems plaguing horses today could be avoided if horses were given ample time to move about freely and interact naturally in the fresh air and sunshine.

    Horses stalls should be bedded in straw, wood shavings or sawdust. Straw used for bedding should be bright and clean. Wood shavings packaged for stall bedding must not contain walnut, which is highly toxic to horses. Some horses are highly sensitive to dust because of allergies or other respiratory problems; if your horse is coughing or having difficulty breathing, it could be a reaction to the bedding.

    Stalls should be cleaned daily. Ammonia fumes accumulate in urine-soaked stalls and damage horses' lungs, while manure and urine-soaked bedding can create a nasty hoof condition called "thrush." Take the soiled bedding far enough from the barn that rodents and flies are not attracted inside. Arrange to have your manure pile removed on a regular basis. Local farmers or landscape businesses will often remove manure for a fee. Set a limit to the size of manure pile you can accept on your site and make arrangements for its removal one month before the pile begins to reach its maximum acceptable size.