Draft Horses

Horse Power for Natural Farms:
Horse Housing

Ken Laing
Housing for horses can be as simple or as complex as you desire and can afford. Horses require protection from only the most severe weather—cold winds, icy rains, and summer sun. Most barns are built for the comfort and convenience of the farmer.

Good feed in adequate quantities will protect the healthy horse from cold weather with a layer of fat. Well-fed horses will have short hair, even in winter.

Design your farm/barn system so your horses can get lots of exercise, through either working or access to a paddock.. Standing for days on end in a tie stall or box stall is unhealthy for a horse. Horses are healthier in winter when housed in a cold barn; then they are not shocked when they are moved from a warm barn to a cold paddock.

To avoid respiratory problems, well-ventilated buildings are best for horses—cold/dry, rather than warm/damp. If you bring hot sweaty horses into a cold barn, blanket them until they are dry.

Standing stalls work well for working horses, and take much less space than box stalls. Horses are easily harnessed and unharnessed since they are already tied. Standing stalls are easier to clean and use less bedding than box stalls. rh horse logo

Ken Laing offered this information in his presentation at a Guelph [Ontario] Organic Conference workshop on using draft horses for farming. He owns Orchard HIll Farm and is a member of the Good Farming Apprenticeship Network, offering apprenticeships and workshops for people interested in learning to work
with draft horses.

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