Blown Away!


Cautionary tale for anyone using a mobile field shelter on skids..

During the last week we have been experiencing some pretty strong winds. No doubt making for some interesting riding sessions!! Strong gusting wind and driving rain is never a favourite with me when everything has to be secured, belts and braces to stop tarps blowing off and escapee feedbags racing across the yard and spooking the horses but riding instructor Janine Lamy couldn’t believe it when she saw what had happened to her mare’s wooden stable. It had lifted clean up off its skids and blown into the next field, bashing into some trees and knocking down the perimeter fence.

“it was windy that night, but the stables have survived worse storms,” Janine explains. “it was more gusty and rainy, and generally foul. But the wind must have caught the stable at a certain angle and that was it.”

For husbandry reasons some horses are kept turned out year round but indeed even short-term turn out might benefit from shelter and this is often in the form of horse shelters on skids. Planning regulations mean that permanent stabling must be approved by the local planning office, but non permanent field shelters (i.e. those which can be relocated with a tow hitch and skids), fall outside the need for permission and provide a means of shelter from wind, rain, sun and flies for many owners and yards where horses are regularly at grass. Although the incidence of the drastic uber-mobility of Janine’s field shelter is rare it might be worth considering some form of anchorage that avoids planning infringements (it seems that non permanent anchoring is permissible – but please check with your local authority). One option would be to ensure that the entrance is sited away from the prevailing wind or the shelter is sited with the shelter of trees of another building to reduce the impact of the prevailing wind.

If turn out is important to you make sure you make a point of asking what the yards policy is when visiting the a proposed Livery or Training Establishment. If you are looking for livery and want your horse to be grass kept the safe siting and robustness of the field shelters provided would be a key consideration.

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