Summertime Shade and Shelter

Trees, sheds, and other structures can provide horses relief from wind, rain, heat, and more. Here’s what to remember.

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Summertime Shade and Shelter for Horses
Your horse's shelter needs will depend on his health and body condition. | Photo: iStock

Are your horses covered?

With careful planning and consideration you’ve built the perfect shelter for your horses. You look out to their pasture and admire its optimal design and placement. You look over to your horses. They are not in the shelter. Rain or shine, day or night, your horses are standing out in the elements, quite happily, no less, and completely impervious to all the trouble you have gone to on their behalf.

Familiar though this scenario may be, it’s still important to provide shelter for horses, says Karyn Malinowski, PhD, director of the Rutgers Equine Science Center at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Whether it’s a natural windbreak provided by the terrain, shade from a tree, or rain refuge by a man-made structure, there are times when horses do seek and use shelter.

“Horses don’t necessarily need run-in sheds, but certainly access to some form of shelter is key,” says Malinowski. What constitutes adequate shelter depends on a number of factors: a horse’s health status and body condition, the climate where you live, the presence of natural windbreaks and vegetation, and management practices

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Written by:

Lindsay Day is a registered equine massage therapist and freelance health and science writer. She and her horse, A.J., are based in Ontario, Canada, where Day is currently pursuing an master’s of science in population medicine at the University of Guelph.

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