If you own a horse then you will know how hard it is to provide them with a perfect pasture that is lush, green and safe for them to graze in. If you are planning to build a paddock for the very first time then there are some things that you will need to consider in order to make sure that it suits the horse’s needs.
Horses need plenty of space to live in – they are not happy cooped up in a stable all of the time. Make sure your horse is happy by providing him with a paddock that will keep him fed, with plenty of room to stretch his legs. Here is our guide to planning a paddock that your horse will love:
Check the Field Over
Assuming you have found a field that is suitable to hold a horse, the first thing you need to do is to carefully check the state of it. Walk up and down it checking for all sorts of hazards. These can be things like broken glass, shards of metal or large stones, but also weeds that are poisonous to horses such as ragwort. Remove all hazards and kill all of the weeds, so that you know that no harm can come to your horse as he grazes. Remove any rubbish or obstructions before you allow the horse in.
Put Up Fencing
You will need to make sure that your paddock has adequate fencing – you don’t want your horse to be able to break loose. Don’t use fencing such as barbed wire as your horse will harm himself on it. You can use wooden fencing but make sure it is robust enough as the horse will be able to break through wooden or weak wood. You could also consider using electric fencing as a little shock will be enough to let him know that he can’t go any further.
The gate should be one that is strong and durable as it will be opened and shut a lot by you. The horse should not be able to open it himself! A lot of people choose metal fencing that has a lock on it in order to make sure the horse can’t get out.
Feeding Station & Shelter
The horse will need regular access to clean drinking water, so install a trough somewhere where it is easy to fill up. Make sure it is away from trees and bushes so that it doesn’t become clogged up with loads of fallen leaves and branches. You will also need to hang up a hay net and perhaps even a salt lick to keep him occupied. Finally, your horse will need somewhere to shelter should the weather be inclement, so build a lean-to shelter that will keep him dry. Some people even build their stable within the field so that the horse can come and go as he wishes.
A healthy paddock makes a happy horse so make sure it is adequate for his needs as well as safe and secure.
The author of this post, Jack Burke, is a part of the team at The Horse Shed Shop which designs and builds stables and sheds for horses. He works hard and enjoys spending time with his family during weekends and the holidays.