Where do you live and what shelter do your horses have?

03 Jan

I am a fan of horses spending as much time out as possible. I love the idea of horses being out 24/7….but in many of the places I visit the weather also plays a part in this decision.

When I lived in Ohio we had run in sheds that had gravel and small paddocks. If the weather was bad, freezing rain for example, we would put rain sheet or rain blankets on them. Still there were times that I would bring them in. Slippery ice or ground frozen with hoof-pot-holes or excessive cold with wind were times that I would bring them in. I always liked having stalls available if the weather was bad. The horses always seemed to appreciate the chance to be sheltered from the elements. They also enjoyed the chance to run and play in the indoor because even though they were outside the footing wasn’t good for running and playing.Where do you live and what shelter do your horses have?

Some areas of the country are different. I just rode for hours in New Mexico in several inches of snow with no risk of mud or ice. It was also noticeably nice when we were in the ravines where the wind blew over but the sun shone down to warm us.

I have been on ranches where the horses were expected to find shelter themselves; among trees, along ravines, etc. I haven’t personally done this but there are areas in the country where I have heard it is possible.

When I have written other posts involving stalls or shelter I have received comments like:

“The BEST kind—they don’t have stalls!!!!”

Again, I love the idea of horses being out a lot but I would also like to know where you live if you have no stalls. Or does ‘no stalls’ mean no stall but you do have a run in shed? Or do you have nothing at all? So here are my questions:

What part of the country do you live in? What weather issues do you have; freezing temperatures, wind, mud, hail, ice, heat, snow? What type of shelter do your horses have access to; run in shed, trees, stalls, etc?


Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Life


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77 responses to “Where do you live and what shelter do your horses have?

  1. Tracey Westbury

    January 3, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I have a QH gelding who is stalled simply because the facility hasn’t got suitable turn out. Weather here in the PNW is wet, wet, wet, and the ground at that particular barn is the most wretched clay.

    At home, I have gravel and sand in paddocks (20×20) and the horses can go in and out of their stalls all winter. I try to keep them off the larger turn out areas as they also are slick when wet, and our property isn’t large enough to afford yearly turnout without destroying the land.

    I truly understand the desire to be able to leave horses out, no blankets, year around, but wish people would understand that not all winters are equal. Thank you so much for posting this and asking the question =)

  2. pnwcountrygirl

    January 3, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Up here in the pacific north west it’s typically rainy more than anything. I am more than happy with my horses being outside all of the time but it’s important that they have at least a two sided shelter with a roof and have it on high ground to keep their feet out of the mud. Thrush is no fun and can really hinder your riding ability.
    We will also use sand turn out bends that allow them to stretch their legs but also avoid the mud.

    In the summer time shade trees are plentiful and the horse have lush green pastures from spring through mid august to enjoy!

  3. Sancic Family Farm

    January 3, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    We are in Ohio, with just a giant run in shed attached to our barn. Our horses appreciate the freedom, but I find all of them layed out together under the run in every morning sound asleep.

  4. kim

    January 3, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    NH, my horse lives at Live and Let Live Farm Rescue and he and his two paddock mares share a run in shed. NH weather changes every five minutes. 🙂

  5. Deb Fearon

    January 3, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    I live in NM, not to far from where you are when writing this article, my horses live on my property with a run in shed and 3 acre fenced in area. they seem to prefer to stand out when it snows or rains, seeking shelter during ice, hail or wind storms. My gelding has never been closed into a stall.

  6. Clarissa Neufeld

    January 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Always enjoy reading your posts!! I live in canada so we have all sorts of crazy weather, for example tonight is is -41 Celsius with the windchill… Brr!! And last week we had freezing rain, when it does finally get nice in summer we get AlOT of bugs. I ride barrel horses and I feel like they can get very sick of stalls and arenas when travelling so when at home I try to keep it as natural as possible. We have large pens with run in shelters, tall fences to keep the wind out and lots of straw to keep them warm but we also have an insulated barn that stays at about 0 Celsius in winter so a really cold night or if it is very rainy we will put the weanlings/yearlings inside. I also ride outside year round unless it gets really icy then I haul to an indoor arena in which case I will put a cooler on and put the horses in the barn until they have dried off and can be out back out. In summer when I’m riding a lot and bugs are really bad I will put a fan up in the barn and put my horses in for a couple hours in the afternoon just to give them a break from the bugs. Cool to see what other people do and to learn new tricks to beat the elements:) happy riding!!

  7. Suzie Kelly-Dyer

    January 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I live in Eastern Washington State and our winters can be very cold. I think it was 20 degrees this morning and did not get above freezing during the day. My mare Allie has her blanket on, and has access to her pasture or paddock area with a covered stall. I know most people don’t blanket their horses but it just makes me feel better that she is dry and is protected from the wind chill factor. That’s my two cents for all it’s worth. Huge fan of you Stacey!

  8. Chip

    January 3, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I live in western md in the mts. Winters are cold and snowy. My horse has a open door on his big shaving filled, heated water bucket stall…. Doors never closed, his choice, in or out. He usually spends his day standing inside with his head outside so he can see what’s happening. Few times a day he comes out to walk around a little.. But his choice by far is the stall.

  9. Amanda

    January 3, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Hello my name Amanda Lawhon. I’m from West Virginia couple miles from Huntington wv. Our weather here is abnormal during the winter. It could be in the 60s one day,cold and raining the next, then maybe some snow. I have 3 quarter horse’s that normal stays in the field. One gelding and two mares. I also have two mini ponies that stays in the barn. The horses in the field come in when it’s in the 20s. They have trees to get under in the field on hot or rainy days. My barrel horse would much rather stay in the stall because she likes to be pampered. But I leave here out as much as possible.

  10. Marcus and Sharon McClain

    January 3, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    We live in northern NM and provide barn stalls with free access to runs. As you have discovered, the weather can really be mixed this time of the year.

  11. pam

    January 3, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    eastern Ontario,, my hores stay out as much as poosible but that being said I have two inside stalls for them and two share a run in shelter.. we are getting a awful winter storm here at the moment, the wind is brutal and changes at the blink of a eye so im very glad they are cozy and content eating hay and drinking water in there stalls:))

  12. eklundpiddlers

    January 3, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    We live in Kansas and the weather changes rapidly and frequently. My two horses share a 9 x 12 run in shed on about one acre. They also have about a 6 acre pasture they are turned out on frequently. I used to have 4 horses and they shared the same 9 x 12 shed. They each stood in their same spots to fit inside. One horse stood along the back of the shed and 3 standing side by side. The two horses I have now stand in the same spots any time they are in the shed.

  13. Megan

    January 3, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Southern Ontario (Guelph area) and my made lives on a private farm in a mixed herd of 7. They have an old bank barn with all the stalls pulled out for shelter, and they can come and go as they please. Total, their indoor area is probably 40×60 ft. If someone is on “stall rest” for any reason, we put up temporary panels in the barn and pick one horse a day to stay in with the patient.

  14. Joyce Pickering

    January 3, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I live in Northern California. I have 5 horses. 2 of them have a run in shelter and are together in the same large pen. There are two shelters in the pen and they follow each other from one to the other and eat together. One is a mare and the other a gelding. They love each other. Another gelding is next to them in a large pen with a shelter. I could probably run all 3 together but I didn’t want to take down the fence between them in case I got another horse. I also have 2 miniature horses. They are in a pen with a run in shelter but the mare won’t let the gelding in the shelter when it rains. We are building another shelter for him. Their coats are really thick so we don’t blanket the minis. We only blanket the big horses when it is cold or rainy. They are wimps and will stay in their shelter when it rains.

  15. Annie

    January 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Kansas. I have a three sided shed for my two horses. But my mare prefers the south side of the tree row so that’s where they are right now in a blizzard!

  16. Sandra Wright

    January 3, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Southeastern Connecticut. We have a mini and a 14h Morgan cross who share a 10×10 run-in, it’s actually a TSC shed-in-a-box. It’s bedded with shavings and they treat it as if it were a stall (taking turns lying down to sleep.) They do have winter blankets but we don’t blanket unless it’s in the low teens or the weather is extremely crazy (like last year when it was raining and 40 degrees during the day, followed by a cold front that night and a 20 degree temperature drop.) I’m not opposed to blanketing in some circumstances but these two rarely need them.

  17. Starlene

    January 3, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I live in Western Washington. I have a stall, paddock and pasture situation. My horses have the choice 24/7 to be in or out. 90% of the time they choose to be out, even if its cold, snowing an blowing, they choose to be out in the pasture or standing right outside of there stall entrance rather than going in. My sister lives in Colorado her horses have a stall with run. Majority of the time they are out even on the cold and blustery days.

  18. John

    January 3, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Our horses are out all the time. We live in central California. They are in 40′ x 60′ dirt paddocks and get ridden twice/week in winter and more in the summer. Sometimes I feel bad when it’s a hundred degrees out or recently with the rain. Your post made me feel a little better. Thanks

  19. Cindy

    January 3, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    We’re in NE Ohio and we have every type of weather imagineable! From frigid below 40 windchill to hot humid 90 degree heat. I find that my horses spend more time outside and adapt better in the winter than the summer heat, humidity and bugs!! We have a barn with seperate stalls but generally the doors to the paddock stay open 24/7 so they come and go as they please. The only time we close them in the barn is when the weather dips below 0 or when there is bitter wind over night. We tend not to blanket either. We have pretty happy horses.

    I love the idea of a big open barn or run in for shelter but how do you feed? I have a piggie who will chase the others off if I try to feed together. Having the stalls lets me separate them.

  20. Cynthia Dorr

    January 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    As a youth I had a bad experience with a run in shed. A neighbor asked if she could keep her horse at my house. When she turned her horse into the pen my horse trapped her horse and nearly killed her horse by backing up and kicking excessively. I was traumatized by that and said to myself I would not ever turn horses out in a herd with a three side shed. I have stuck to that resolution. Again, a friend of mine asked me to bring up horses to keep her horse company and we could ride together from her place. This went pretty well. I would bring one horse out to her place, do some training and riding,then switch out with another horse until I brought in my Paint mare. She did the same thing, trapped her horse in the three sided shed and nearly killed her horse by backing in and kicking hard and excessive. I do not have any three sided sheds in my pastures. My horses live in Wisconsin with very harsh all year round weather conditions. I have no barn or stalls. They are out 24/7. I used to blanket them but one horse developed arthritis in her shoulder. I suspect it was from the blanket hindering her movement. She is a very active mare. My vet really encourages my method of horse pasturing. He encourages me not to use blankets. Spring of 2014 my horses all got sick during the extreme weather changes. I’m wondering if it wasn’t because of the blankets. They would get too warm then too cold. It has taken all year for my horses to get healthy again. They have no blankets on. Here we do have natural shelter, they live in the bottom land, and in the brush and fence row trees with a North and South hillside. They can get out of the rain and wind and huddle into the brush.In severe cold they get round bales. If it were flat and no trees they would need a barn, with stalls. The ground here gets really rough with the freezing and thawing like you spoke of. The horses learn to be careful, they learn how to handle slippery mud, ice, rough ground, and are extremely surefooted in the rough hill country we ride in at times. If I find my self in a slippery mud hillside I am confident my horses can handle it without injuring themselves because they live in it and learn to walk in different conditions. They know when they can run and when they have to tip toe. But this is me, my horses are not show horses. I mostly trail ride. My vet is very happy with my horses, and now that I’m not blanketing them they are healthier. One thing I must say is if the ground is rough and treacherous I will move horses so that only ones who get along well are together. If there is one who is pushed around a lot I will put that one in by it’s self. I do have several corrals and pens to divide them if needed. I also have three pastures to divide those who don’t get along. No nicks and kick marks on my horses, except the yearling because he’s learning manners, but so far, he hasn’t gotten anything serious, just little tough love bites. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my horse keeping practices. There is not true absolutes in horse keeping because we are all as unique as the horses we ride. The most important thing is that our horses get the best of care we can possible give. One more thing, nutrition is vital to surviving the elements. Good hay, good vit min supplement, salt, plenty of water, and a few oats, barley and corn. The old ones get some senior feed, and fat supplements.

    • Janette Hess

      January 3, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Interesting reading. One thought: Why not just build a 3-sided shelter that is several times longer than it is wide? That is what we did. We have 6 horses using it, with two of them being new the end of 2014, and it’s nearly impossible for a horse to be trapped, because they can move right or left if needed.

  21. Nyan Klavon

    January 3, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I live in Michigan and although I have stalls I prefer to keep them out unless it is unbearable with cold or bugs. I have sheds and automatic waterers to avoid freezing and very cold water in the winter.

  22. Colleen Nestor

    January 3, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I live in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada where we get several months of real winter with snow, freezing temperatures, ice and wind. My horses have always lived outside and I don’t blanket but they have a sturdy run-in shelter with dry footing and I feed 3-4 times per day. They seem to flourish but I keep a close eye on them.

  23. Ruthann

    January 3, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Northern Illinois. If you mention a weather event we’ve had it, and all the “fun” that goes with it. I have a 33 yr. old Thoroughbred mare, kept at a boarding barn. They are stalled every night and turned out every day, weather permitting. So if it’s pouring rain, extreme cold, too muddy or icy, they stay in. There are no run-ins and not enought trees to really provide shelter from wind or rain. They do provide some shade in the summer. I’d prefer she was outside more, being couped up does not help her arthritis and she tends to stock up if she doesn’t move enough. When they’re in they’re given some turn out time in the indoor, but this is very limited. If I had my own property I’d like to have stalls with run outs and I’d have run in sheds in the pastures so I could leave horses out in all but the most exteme conditions.

  24. Patricia Roy

    January 3, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    We have a huge run in attached to our barn it is L shaped plenty of room to get away from each other if needed. Their stalls have doors that open to the run in and they can come and go as they please. It really is an ideal setup.
    Even if we get snow not much blows in the run in. I live in CT

  25. Angela Fine

    January 3, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    I live in Louisiana. My horses have no cover other than trees and hills with the exception of 2 stalls for sick/infirmed. and my mini in the back yard and our stud have a cover with no walls to be able to stay dry because they have no wind block either. I usually only blanket my sick/old horses. right now we are expecting lows in the 20’s and high winds so I have 4 horses of 20 blanketed right now. my stud, my mini, my 22 y/o mare that is a hard keeper and pulled down and our colt that this is his first winter.I have owned horses for over 30 years, and the only time I have had a problem with a horse out in the weather was a horse I bought about 5 years ago that had been stalled 24/7 for the previous 2 years before we purchased him. He ended up with pneumonia because he was not used to the elements and had to stalled for part of the winter and then blankets almost all the way thru. however by his next winter he had a full winter coat and has been fine every winter since then.

  26. Winona wheeler

    January 3, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I live in central Saskaychewan where it is currently -41c. My 4 horses are in a small 6 acre pasture all winter with a south facing 3 sided run in shelter located at the NW corner. With tin walls above the wooden kick walls the shelter collects some passive solar heat and keeps the wind out. Am thinking of painting the inside black next summer so it will absorb more sun rays. We get a lot of winter sun. Their hay is in the SE corner and their heated waterer is along the east fence. They get some good exercise this way. I never bring them in the barn unless they need medical treatment or after a bath and before a show in the summer. No blankets unless they get sweaty after a workout but I am real easy on them in the winter. Nothing strenuous. It’s their time to be horses. They have awesome winter coats and when provided enough shelter, fed and water to meet their needs comfortably they do very well in the winter. It’s a beautiful sight watching them frolick and play when it warms up to the -20s.

  27. Kim

    January 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Wi. Out 24/7. They do have a walk inn but the norm is outside?

  28. Carol Brandt

    January 3, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Central Coast, CA. I have 5 horses. I bring them into their stalls for feeding time, to accommodate their individual diet needs. Otherwise, they’re out on pasture. It’s really cold here lately and they’re all wearing blankets. When it’s rainy & windy, they wear blankets. I leave the stall doors and the gate open so they can come inside if they want to. Spoiled? Yep, but that’s OK with me.

  29. Jodi

    January 3, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    I live in northern Wyoming. We have very dry weather in the summer which can get pretty hot. In the winter it can get very, very cold, and the wind is something to be reckoned with! For instance, in late November we had gusts of 77mph at my place, but nearby wind was clocked at 117mph!

    We have weeks at a time where it doesn’t get above freezing (it was 15f when I let Yankee out this morning), but despite all this wind and cold, nobody around here blankets unless the horse is old or sick. It also appears many don’t have run in shelters, or indeed any barn that I can see. The horses still look fine and healthy.

    My ranch, which is brand new, has a run in shed in the pasture. I still have two pastures to fence, they’ll have run ins as well. I also have a small barn, three stalls. My tack/feed room is heated, but the barn is not.

    Once Yankee gets used to the climate (we just moved from Virginia), he’ll be out 24/7. For now, he demands to come in at night, and I oblige him. And, yes, I plan on having more horses, I don’t like Yankee being alone.

  30. Waneta

    January 3, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Connecticut, the weather this week is couple inches of snow today, almost 60* and rain tomorrow and later in the week wind chills lower than -10*. Mine have run in stalls with paddock access 24/7. They can stay in the stalls when they want or be out anytime they want. I use the extra small hole hay bags hung on the four corners of 60×100 paddock so they keep moving all the time. Blanket only the two older ones and only if it’s in the teens and lower.

  31. Melissa Sams

    January 3, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    We live in North east Wyoming and we have all the elements. Our horses have a large wind break and a shed they can get out of the weather if they want. I blanket a lot. I also have a stall that I can use if I have one that needs more attention or some special needs or feeding. If things got too bad I have a large shop I could convert to stalls too!!

  32. Sandi O'Donnell

    January 3, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    We live in Washington State (so lots of rain) and keep our horses blanketed from Fall to Spring. They have individual stalls with attached gravel paddocks. They have access to their stalls 24/7 and are always found in their stalls when its raining. We also have heated water tanks from November to March.

  33. Janette Hess

    January 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    My first comment was to Cynthia Dorr, but here is my comment to answer Stacy: We live in Muenster, Texas, which is about 15 miles west of Gainesville and I-35. Maybe 15 miles from the Red River. I grew up on a dairy farm where the cows were King (well, Queens!). I was the only one in my family of 8 that was horse-crazy. My horse had no special shelter, just buildings to stand behind (sometimes!) to get out of the wind, or a pond dam or a stand of only a few trees. Our farm is mostly flat, with no creeks or brush to hide in. Now, I am 56, the dairy herd is long gone. My siblings and I still own the land, and two of them live out there. My daughter (age 33) and my husband and I have 5 horses, plus we keep my niece’s horse with ours. They are on pasture 24/7 365 days a year. Free choice hay in the winter when the grass is gone, like right now. A submersible tank heater keeps their water ice free. Free choice salt and Red Rock minerals. They stay fat and healthy. They are all getting old…23, 22, 18, 18, and one we don’t know for sure, but he is probably up there with them. My niece’s horse is 4.5 years old. Weather here is very changeable. Stacy, you should know–you lived in Sunset for a while, which is not that far south of us. It can get in the teens here, sometimes in the single-digits at night. All my life I’ve fretted about not having a shelter–well, we had one built 2 or 3 months ago, and it is lovely! It’s an open 3-sided shelter, that is longer than normal, and the west side actually comes back around to protect against the south wind, too, which can be just as cold around here as the north wind. So really, I guess you could say that it’s 4-sided…but still open. All 6 horses fit just fine, and it’s so open and long that there’s no problems with entrapment. I love it! But, other than that, they are open to pasture and hay etc; no indoor facilities available. I know this is already long, but I have one anecdotal story: When my daughter Sarah was 9 we bought her an aged roping mare. One terribly cold and nasty night, I decided to put old Mollie in the hay barn. This end of the barn had about 3 or 4 stall’s worth of room, then there was a high stack of square bales behind that space, then another empty space behind the stack, for the door on that end. Mollie was NO inside horse, and she HATED it in there. I thought she would settle down…the next morning I found her on the OTHER side of the high stack of square bales! That was last time I put her inside!

  34. Tamara

    January 3, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Manitoba, Canada. Very cold winters….tonight is expected to be -44 Celsius (-47 F)! Although these temps are an extreme and not the everyday we do experience frigid temps like this off and on throughout the winter. Our 19 yr old mare and 8 yr old gelding are out 24/7. They have access to a run in shelter and a garage sized building they use as a wind break. They get lots of extra hay on these cold days/nights and we make sure they have access to fresh water at all times (we use a submersible heater to make sure it doesn’t freeze). They are checked often and always seem content. That being said this climate is all they have ever known so this is what they are accustomed to.

  35. Dale Castello

    January 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I live in southern Illinois with three horses. They have a fairly large three sided run in shed. They have a strong pecking order, but all three can stay in the shed without fighting. They seem to stand the below zero without problems. Today it was in the upper 30s with rain. One horse was shivering so I put her in storeroom with the hay bale and a small bed blanket. After I dried her off with the blanket, she was fine. The other two horses were wet but not shivering. This is an example where my horses can act cold; but when it is below zero, they take it in stride. I have access to small stalls in the barn if needed, but I have never used it in over 20 years.

  36. Amber

    January 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Saugerties New York all of are horses have run ins and some have stalls

  37. Kelly Smith

    January 3, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Florida run in shelters & stalls for severe weather threats, hurricanes etc.

  38. Fiona Anderson

    January 3, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Fernie British Columbia right in the Rocky Mountains. We have run -in shelters with a thick shaving bed and large trees as well as a shelter facing a different direction in case the wind changes. I have not seen my horses shake in over ten years and we have blankets but never use them. I like my horses to get the winter coat that nature intended. It takes longer to dry etc. but their health comes first.

  39. Jenny Northcott

    January 3, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I live in Northwestern Ontario which is known for its extreme weather conditions. My horses definitely spent more time in the barn (in individual box stalls, 12 x 12). The bugs are ferocious during the summer months. Every evening around 9 pm we gave the horses all a good dose of bug spray and turn them out for the night when the worst of the bugs are gone. They would all be waiting at the back barn door in the morning to come in. They each had their own fan and could usually be found sacked out in their stalls sleeping on a hot, sunny afternoon. The winters are very harsh, with nights that can reach -40 not including any wind chill factor. The horses were outside from 6 am – 6 pm. They had extremely woolly coats and blanketing is not great for those coats. The most important things were free access to good quality grass hay (they need to eat constantly to keep their furnaces warm), free access to a heated insulated water tank (they drink gallons and gallons helping to prevent impaction colic ), salt/mineral block and good, dry shelter. The horses actually thrived and were very content. Our palomino mare had so much body heat in the winter that she would literally melt snow off her back leaving a puddle of water down her back.
    There were always some weather conditions that might might make us think they need to be in but given the the choice the horses like to be out – but they do like consistency and comfort. We would only turnout with a blanket if they didn’t have access to the couple of acres of bush that had good, natural protection. All in all we never had any health issues with any of our horses that related to cold or harsh weather.

    • Karen

      January 4, 2015 at 9:42 am

      We live in the “Near North” in Ontario and have identical practices. No blankets, but our 3 Clydes are kept dry, fed & watered with unlimited “all you can eat hay buffet”! The key is the weather dictates if the horses are turned out or brought inside the barn – and often they are in more during the summer when the bugs are at their worst. They also have fans in the summer but we have a lovely bank barn which has it’s own insulating qualities (warm in the winter, cool in the summer). It’s common sense, isn’t it?

  40. Becky Clifton

    January 3, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I live in Mid-western Ohio, we have run in sheds, but also during winter I bring my horses in at night. This gives them an opportunity to be out all day with bringing them in at night they get the opportunity to be in a stall where they can relax, lay down to sleep and are out of the weather for the night. I know my mare loves to come in at night during the winter. in the spring and summer they are outside 24/7 and they don’t seem to mind at all because they do have the run in sheds to get into.

  41. Josie

    January 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I live in Colorado where the weather is difficult to predict and winter days can be brutal or lovely. I have had my horse (QH reiner) in a variety of living situations. The one that works best for us is an indoor stall with run, and ability to close up stall during blizzard conditions, and daily pasture turnout. For me this works great because it allows my horse to be accessible(we ride year round) and gives him play time. I have to be cautious of icey conditions in turnout considering he has a full set of shoes.

  42. Katie

    January 3, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    I live in Eastern Oregon our horses have dry lot runs with stalls attached, we get very cold temperatures in the winter with frequent snow and freezing rain, and of course mud when it all melts. The horses prefer to be in their stalls when the wind is blowing. I do not Blanket our old retired horses but I do blanket my main riding horse since he gets worked hard on a regular basis.

  43. Mary

    January 3, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    We live in Arkansas, where winters are considered relatively mild compared to other states. Because we just moved here last winter from California, I take extra care with the horses. We have an open barn space that our two horses share. The barn door to the south is left open and the horses can enter and leave as they see fit. The barn is connected to their 200′ round paddock which turns out to an 8 acre pasture. We bring the horses into the paddock at night. They have fresh hay and water in the barn. When it is particularly cold, they will hang out in the barn. We do jacket the horses if the weather seems particularly bad (icy rain, etc), but we don’t leave them on for days on end.

  44. Tona Lednum

    January 3, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    I live in North Carolina. My horses are out 24/7 but I do have a barn and run-in shelter. I use sheets or turn out blankets if the weather is in bad. Turn out blanket goes on my 24 year old gelding when temps go down in the 30’s, in the low 40’s if cold rain and in the barn if in the teens or below.

    Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2015 00:13:31 +0000 To:

  45. Angela Castleberg

    January 3, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    We have 11 horses on our property in central WI in two separate “tracks” with run in shelters 24/7. I’m suprised how little time they actually spend in them. Usually with freezing rain or extreme winter winds. Our tracks consist of a 30 ft wide square(each side 300-400 feet long) we feed hay all the way around to encourage movement. In the summer they use the shelters for fly relief and are on large rotating pastures. We have 4 stalls we use if one of our older horses gets kicked out of the shelters with freezing rain or wind. We had 25-30 below zero last winter and all horses handled it fine outside as long as they could get out of the wind.

    • Angela Castleberg

      January 3, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      We feed as much hay as they will eat to keep them warm and because they walk constantly the easy keepers still stay fit and trim.

  46. GimmeADream

    January 3, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Mine are loose 24/7 but have access to the stable and their stalls 24/7 too.

  47. Neena

    January 4, 2015 at 12:09 am

    NW Arkansas.
    2 ponies share a small but open (one sided) run in that’s attached to the main hay barn so the one wall is much longer than the covered part and they are on the south side, out of the north wind. I wish it was all gravel but for now it’s only gravel under the shelter. This barn lot has access to multiple grass runs where they are grazed rotationally or put on dry lot hay as needed to maintain weight.
    2 horses are rotated around several large grass pastures of several acres each. In heat of summer they always have some shade. In winter, they have cedar trees to block the wind and get extra hay when it’s very cold and/or wet.

    The most difficult times for the equines are when temps are just at freezing and it’s raining. With a soaked coat, they’re not able to keep themselves warm very well. A spot out of the wind and extra hay are minimum requirements. There have been times when they shiver. This is the body’s way of generating heat but I watch closely at these limited duration times to see that they’re not loosing condition. I’d rather have run-in’s for all but even then, they don’t always choose to use them when I think they should. They remind me of baby chicks. In to warm up a bit then back out to play or eat.

    In freezing temps, they are all checked at least once per day. I would like to provide heated water troughs but can’t but I do ensure they ice is broken so they can drink. In the future, I plan to make an insulated (but non electric) water trough to further prevent water from freezing.

    All animals go into winter with a bit of extra weight and are on an effective deworming program as well as vitamins & supplements to support immune function, produce a good thick winter coat and encourage good overall health.

  48. Lisa Byrum

    January 4, 2015 at 12:12 am

    I live in TN and I have a two story barn with about two thirds of the bottom open so that the horses come and go as they please. I do have hay feeders mounted to the walls and in winter, that is where I put their hay. I also have panels that I can use to make stalls with if one of them needs to be confined because of an injury etc. I rarely blanket them as they are healthy, their winter coats have grown in nice and thick, plus the have 24/7 access to shelter.

  49. ter

    January 4, 2015 at 12:21 am

    they have a choice, barn if it is really nasty outside, then a few have a run in. they seem to rather be outside depending on the time of day they hang out around the barn or at the other end of a very big arena. we also have a mini she has a barn to her self with 3 stalls to chose from.
    The horses here also have haired up very well, we give them every fall through winter the extra supplements ( Pro and Pre biotics in a mixture every 2 weeks that helps them with the colder weather and keeps their guts healthy against colic along with a clean running creek, heated water troughs.
    We live in South West ID

  50. Terri

    January 4, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Live in Missouri, horses are outduring winter with a round bale, and flowing creek for water. They have a mineral feeder, woods with cedar trees, and open ground. They are fed supplement feed once daily. They come into stalls if its going to be cold and wet, freezing rain, snowing, or below 50 degrees and raining. My older arab hunter seems to get sick in winter if he gets wet and cold, I also had a old cushings mare prone to rainrot, so if there was a chance of her getting wet, she came in. Our “stalls” are large pipe pens, 16 x 20, plus there is an indoor attached they can get turned out in. I only blanket if one seems cold, shivering. All seem healthy, I’ve had the last 3 live to be in their 30s.

  51. firnhyde

    January 4, 2015 at 12:50 am

    I live in the Highveld in South Africa. We have a temperate climate; dry winters with frost but no snow, and hot, sunny summers with thunderstorms and sometimes hail. My horses really appreciate their field shelters in summer for shade and shelter from rain and hail. In winter, unless we have a freak rainstorm, they don’t use them at all. I only blanket clipped horses or those that spent the previous winter indoors.

  52. Kim

    January 4, 2015 at 1:36 am

    South Dakota: -35 wind chills tonight. Ours have a lean to on the barn, open to the east. They only seek shelter when it’s windy, no matter the season.

  53. Sammy

    January 4, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Greetings from Austria (Europe). We have all 4 seasons with rain, hot summer days und frost and snow in winter. I have 4 horses and they are out 24/7 from April to October. They have 2 run-in-stables with automatic heated water and where they are feed. In winter time they come in at night. Our horses can decide if they would like to stand in the rain, wind etc. but just 1 does – the others stand inside and look outside and wait until the weather gets better.

  54. cm cernetisch

    January 4, 2015 at 2:55 am

    Southern South Dakota–right now we are in an arctic blast of cold, well below zero and high winds. only the 2 yearlings have a large shared stall. 2 other horses have a windbreak of steel, just a wall, and another 5 have brush.

    I have personally stood with them to test how it feels. the lay of our land is such that its higher on the top/north end, and slopes downwards/to the south. so the wind goes right over them, and they are just fine. i have only needed to blanket one who wasn’t well off body wise, and only occasionally.

  55. marla2008

    January 4, 2015 at 3:24 am

    I’m a French city slicker, leaving about 40 minutes from Paris, in a suburban area. My horses are boarded in a nearby “farm”, in a slightly more rural area, but still they are very short on pasture space. As a consequence, in the winter time, though it’s very mild and just yet, but very little freezing, my horse spends about 23 hours a day locked up in a stall, goes out maybe one hour, most generally in an outdoor arena, and sometimes a small outdoor pen, and it drives me mental to think about it. The worse part with stalled horses is they are like kids eating at Mc Donald’s every day, it kills their health but they love it ! He actually is barn sour, can you believe it…. I hate the situation, which hopefully will change when we get to move out of the suburbs, to a more rural area, within 6 months; Then I’ll make it a priority that they live outdoor, with a run in pen.

  56. Petra

    January 4, 2015 at 4:32 am

    I am from Germany, NorthSea Area. We have a lot of wind, storms and rain. I live on a farm, where we had stalls for the horses since I was a child. I change the farm into a Paddock Paradise after I read Jaime Jacksons book. The horses have a run in shelter on the trail and a lot of 200 year old huge oaktrees and also a run in barn. Every horse in the band has about 800m² space but they love to be with each other, eating hey, walking to the water, or just doing nothing together. I see a lot of happy horses-no more cages.

  57. Holly

    January 4, 2015 at 6:49 am

    I live in northern Michigan and have all the weather you listed in one day!! Last week I had a dandelion popping up in the pasture and today we are under a winter storm watch. I currently have 5 horses and 2 ponies on my property. We have the ponies in a separate area with their own run in shed (known as the love shack) and a wind break. The amount of hair on the ponies is extreme. They for sure do not feel the cold. 3 of my horses wear blankets. One is old and the other two are slackers in the winter coat department. I own an obscene number of blankets. One for every horse and every weather situation. I told my husband it would have been cheaper to build me a big barn than for me to buy all the blankets 😉 I have 2 12×12 stalls. The old mare lives in one at night due to needing large amounts of senior feed that she eats very slowly. That leaves one stall open, and two large wind block walls to hunker down behind. In my observations, the horses will stay out as long as they can get out of the wind. I also wonder if them staying out has anything with how they were raised. 3 of my horses came from the Hermanson Kist horse auction in North Dakota (homeschool road trip) and they are very hardy. One of the ponies is such a princess and loves the love shack I wonder if she spent her early years stalled. With all that said we look forward to seeing you at the MSU stallion expo in March. Whatever the weather will be!

  58. Karen Bockus

    January 4, 2015 at 9:03 am

    This is such a good article, and it appears most of us are on the same page, let them be horses as much as possible. I have a barn and stalls, which I use sparely now. I open my barn and stalls up, there’s bedding in the stalls, and they can go in and out at will. My old gelding is a little greedy and will keep my little mare outside under the awning. In the summer they both go in all day to get out of the heat and flies. On those really dirty nights, I put them in and they usually want in. I also make use of rain sheets for extreme wind and rain. Today we’re in the midst of freezing rain and it’s really ugly out there. I have them snug in the barn, and will put rain sheets on them later. Today it’s all about the footing. Freezing rain in Ontario!

  59. Michelle Renaud-Barton

    January 4, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I live in North Bruce Peninsula, Ontario…..I have 12×16 run in shelter as I am not allowed to build a barn on my property due that they didnt want “too many small farm” whatever it means. My Clyde/TB cross hate stall and love being outside all the time but my rescued TB mare is more challenge for me as she tend to shivering in cold weathers. I put blankets (rain sheet, turn out blanket and winter blanket, depends on the weather) But I had been trying to let her coat grow more winter coat so now she is only using the rain sheet 🙂 The front paddock is terrible with all the hoof potholes but good thing there is a back field that dont get mess up much. After the nasty weather overnight, they would get the warm beet pulp for breakfast and they love it!

  60. Tanja

    January 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I live in the north of Italy. We have a little stable with 8 boxes at 500 meters of altitude and we are 15 km from the sea but the winter can be very cold and with crazy weather. I have my two horses outside the all year in a paddock with a box as shelter and they can choose to stay outside or not. But I’ve noticed that my appaloosa gelding doesn’t like very much mud and frozen weather!! He simply stays with the body half inside the box and half ouside…we call him THE PRINCE!! The other horses are private and go outside everyday but the evening are inside. This is because sometimes the ground is iced with big foot holes and horses can do crazy even on ice! Sometimes we have more than 50 cm snow so bringing the horses outside becomes “difficult” !! And I have some horses than after 10 minutes of running in the snow really ask to come inside…In the other seasons they all stay outside day and night. I think this is a good compromise!! 😛

  61. Shelley

    January 4, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    We are in Northern Michigan, about 45 mins from the Macinaw bridge. It’s cold here. ;o) We have 4 horses, and moved to this property almost 2 years ago, and it’s needed LOTS of work to make it habitable for us. There is no barn for the horses, but when we fenced pastures we included groups of trees, mostly pines, and also have them in groups in several areas just outside the fence. We also ran the fencing around some of the small outbuildings to provide windbreaks. Our property is big enough that we do our own hay and we put up mostly round bales with some square bales, which we’re lucky to store in a neighbor’s barn. The horse’s ALWAYS have a round bale, salt and fresh water in front of them. We don’t feed concentrates, but our ‘kids” are doing great. Fat and happy!

  62. Tammie Keel

    January 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I too like my horses to have as much time out as possible. I live in Rockwall Texas. The weather can change on a dime here. We go from 50 degrees to 20 degrees in the matter of hours with a wind chill of 10 to 15 degrees in the winter. I have stall runs for my horses. So when they are up they have enough room to move around. Weather permitting, which means its above 20 degrees, no rain then they are turned out during the day and up at night. If its in the 40s at night or higher and no rain then they are fed and turned back out at night. I keep roundbales out so they have something to munch on and a soft place to lay down. I unfortunately do not have any shelter in the pastures so I constantly watch the weather year round.

  63. irisvillagegirl

    January 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    My three horses have a run in that is two sided. They are blocked from the north wind and the west. In the summer having the west side blocked us nice because we are here in Texas and the western sun can be extremely hot!

  64. Pam

    January 4, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    We live in North Dakota and often have some pretty cold winters! 🙂 Our small herd is outside pretty much 24/7. Right now it is -8 and wind chills in -20’s. (Yuck! Its not always this bad!!!) However, it is sunny and the horses are choosing to be outside. They have shelter of the barn on 3 sides to break the wind, and we also have evergreen trees surrounding us that break the wind. However, if it gets really nasty, blizzard like or freezing wet rain, we do have stalls we can put them in. They tend to not like their stall time as much overall and want to get back out as soon as possible. Our horses always have hay available 24/7 in the winter to much on and stoke that internal fire, along with good water. They grow good full coats. It was interesting to note that the fatter horses had the shorter coats, while the thinner horse has the thickest coat. So far, this has worked for us! Thanks for the blog. I really enjoy it!

  65. Alexis

    January 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    I manage a boarding barn in Northern IL. The winters here are unpredictable, the low for tonight is -14. Our barn has 150 stalls on only 9 acres. We are very rarely at capacity but are pretty close to it at the moment (136).

    The horses are stalled, with daily turnout. All meals are fed in their stalls. Turnout is in individual paddocks unless you & friends request that your horses be buddied-up. Blanketing is to the owner’s preference, some are allowed to get full winter coats & some of the AQHA pleasure horses have 2 blankets, a sheet, a sleazy & a hood in order to keep their show coats.

    I’ve very rarely seen a horse that came into the barn as an “outside” horse have a lot of trouble adjusting to being stalled. We have one Percheron mare who spends about 2 hours outside then creates an almighty racket until I go fetch her. Or she’ll come right through the gate & let herself in.

    That all being said, if I did it my own way I’d like them out 24-7 in small herds. It’s better for their joints & for their minds. I’ve got a 22 year old mare that I just retired up to MI where it’s much colder & snowier & she’s adjusted to outside life very well. She has a run-in (which she never uses) & in extreme weather, the pasture horses spend the night in the Indoor arena.

  66. Charlesanna

    January 4, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Piedmont NC. The temps are usually moderate and wet. The 2 older QH’s (ages 23 & 24) are out 24/7 with access to a run in and cedar trees trimmed up longer on the north side, so they can get under them. They are not blanketed. Their coats are thick. The APHA gelding is stalled at night because he prefers it. He likes to lay down to sleep. He is usually put up around midnight and turned out around 8am, to limit the stall time. All have high quality hay several times daily, weighed to provide the proper amount for their size, but not free choice. They would be too fat if allowed free choice. I have had the QH’s since age 3 &4 and the paint since 5 months (now 8yrs) and I have only had one instance of a virus that required a round of antibiotics for the 23yr old gelding and no injuries requiring vet attendance. They are allowed to be horses, but are checked at least twice daily. They know when they need something and I pay attention to their signals.

  67. Erica

    January 4, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I live in Colorado. We have large pens where the smallest one is about 20×20 feet. They all have a run-in shelter. Out at our barn there are no indoor stalls. We blanket the horses if it gets too crazy cold. Just last week we didn’t get much above 10 degrees. There were a few horses that didn’t have blankest but have extremely huge winter coats. Here in Colorado the weather can go form 13 one day to 70 the next (that really did happen once). I love having the horses in big pens with a shelter. I just don’t really like indoor stalls very much also the horses love the open space.

  68. Liseanne Roy

    January 5, 2015 at 6:27 am

    I live in Val-des-Monts, Quebec Canada, although it sounds remote it’s actually not the far from Ohio, about a 10 hour drive. Weather out hear pretty much consists of all types of extreme weather, in the summer we can have temperatures up to 40 degrees celsius, and in the winter down to -40c
    (including windchill and humidx) However where we live right now we are kind of in a ‘hole’ where there are mountains on either side of us, and trees all around. Most of the time the winds pass right over our heads. At the moment I have only run-in sheds, and I use blankets on my more chilly horses. However we have a Canadian and a Canadian cross who need no blankets as they where bred for this climate. The cross will get a rainsheet in extreme conditions but that all she needs.

    I think I would benefit from stalls though, as blanketing can be tricky when it comes to picky the right one.

  69. barbkeith

    January 5, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I live in Eastern Ontario and my horses are currently on 15-20 acres with a shed large enough for all 6 of them to hang out it. In the snow and freezing rain we got this weekend, they chose to stand under trees with their butts to the wind. They spend all summer in the same barn so I know it wasn’t a space issue. They are all heavy coated.

  70. Cindy >cDonald

    January 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    We live in Iowa close to Omaha, NE. Our five mares have a 72 ft lean to on the south side of our barn. It is 10 ft wide. If the weather is stormy they are able to get inside the barn in a round pen or put into stalls. They almost always have the freedom to be in or out. We also have two smaller runs with separate lean to’s and stalls.

  71. Donna Fitzgerald

    January 5, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    We live in the mountains of western NC and it gets downright frigid at times. I never blanket my horses and we do have a stall for each one with an attached paddock. That way they have the option of coming in out of the wind. On really cold windy nights, I shut their top stall doors as well so there is no cross ventilation. Their paddocks are gravel with a layer of mulch on top. We do have to renew it as the weather warrants.

  72. big d

    January 27, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    live in upstate ny my horses stay out 24/7 no problems only have blanket on them..

  73. Brian Moser

    February 1, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Dear Stacy westfall
    I live in a small call Piedmont S.C. I use a Barn and Blankets when it gets cold bollew 30 I would use blanket but the barn sits in the middle of two pastures were I can close one gate and the other can be open I have one horse that loves a bath but hates the rain so I leave the stall doors open and they can go in or out any time they want when it gets to hot he would like to stay in the barn all day just to come out to drink water or if he has water in his stall he would just like to stay there and drink water watch his two buddies play and eat grass

    SigN Brian Moser Wangler for Best of American by horseback


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