Essentials for Outdoor Living
To stay happy and healthy out in the field, your horse needs these basics:
Water. “Access to water is essential, so we have automatic waterers,” Biscuit Hill’s Beth Manning says. If your property has a stream that flows year-round (and isn’t polluted) that may suffice; otherwise, you’ll need to provide and maintain stock tanks or waterers in each field and paddock.
Shelter. Horses need access to shelter—protection from rain, winter wind and summer sun—but it doesn’t have to be fancy, Dr. Karyn Malinowski says. Run-in sheds are great, but a line of trees can break the wind, provide shade and also shelter from showers. Horses sometimes use shelter less than you might think, she adds: “Our research horses will stand out in the rain even though they could go in the sheds if they chose.”
Munchies. Horses are grazers, and they need forage to chew on pretty much all the time. Forage helps their digestive systems function properly and it staves off boredom and restlessness.
Maintenance. “The more horses are out, the more it’s important to rotate pastures, monitor for parasite risks and stay on top of other management chores,” Beth says. Pastures need to be mowed, dragged and occasionally reseeded. Manure needs to be scooped from paddocks. To make up for that, you’ll have less stall cleaning.
If your horse lives out, he’ll need access to fresh water. Automatic waterers are a popular choice, though they can be pricey and will need to be checked daily.