In this blog post, we will clarify the following question: Can you keep a horse in your back garden UK? We will explain some basic points when it comes to taking care of a horse and how much space do they really need!
Can you keep a horse in your back garden UK?
In the UK, you cannot keep a horse in your back garden, as it means that it will not have nearly the area it requires to feel comfortable! A horse takes up space! As a rule, 1 hectare per horse is recommended. In reality, in many stables, the horses have a lot less space.
Here are several points to take into account before taking your horse home:
- Space is essential for the well-being of your horse. He absolutely needs the space to gallop freely. If he only has a small paddock, it is strongly recommended to put him to work on a daily basis, whether in the quarry, on a ride or on the lunge.
- The more space you can provide for your horse, the more maintenance work you will have to do. Indeed, in a small space, the ground, constantly trampled by the horse, does not provide enough grass.
- Likewise, the ground will suffer more from bad weather: mud mainly in the event of rain. And if the horse passes over the same place over and over again: the grass does not grow. This can cause different problems in winter, such as mud scab or fork rot.
- In addition, if space is limited, it is essential to collect the dung regularly. And the smaller space, the more often it has to be done, which can be every day in a paddock for example.
- This is important both for obvious hygienic reasons, but also to limit intestinal parasitism, because horses reinfect themselves by ingesting the eggs excreted in the dung.
- Avoid attracting too many insects, especially flies, mosquitoes, midges, which are responsible for summer dermatitis and many inconveniences in summer, but also gastrophiles which cause stomach damage or even gastric ulcers.
Having your horse at home means taking on responsibilities
Even if you have complete freedom, you are 100% responsible for your horse. If your horse is in the meadow, it takes less work: most of the time, a health and water check once a day may be sufficient.
Added to this is the time spent on all “handling”:
- Checking (and repairing) fences,
- Cleaning of meadows,
- Cleaning of boxes/shelters,
- Cleaning the drinkers (and sometimes even breaking the ice, in winter!).
It also means finding someone who can do it for you if you go on vacation for example, and believe me that is not easy!
What you will need to keep your horse at home
This part is more relative and depends on the means (material and financial) available to you to settle properly at home.
However, in the majority of cases, the facilities at home will be more limited than at a boarding house or equestrian centre. So you will not necessarily have a large, enlightened career, with quality soil and a colourful obstacle course.
You will have to do without, and sometimes resolve to work in the bottom of a meadow with improvised candlesticks (and yes, you will certainly have to dismount to pick up the fallen bars)! The same goes for all the other installations, no merry-go-round, a tack room or a shower that is not always very practical, etc.
The Meadows: The most important, of course! You need it even if your horse lives in the stall. It is considered that you need about a hectare per horse, but in reality, it depends a lot on your region and the climate. It is important that your meadows are perfectly fenced (even more so with mischievous ponies!) So that you don’t have to worry.
Electrical tape remains the best quality/price ratio. For some horses, the current won’t even be necessary, but I recommend it anyway for safety. Barbed wire is obviously to be avoided. Wooden fences are possible because they are much more aesthetic but must be perfectly maintained and are relatively expensive.
You have a wide choice of your poles, tapes, insulators, etc … all this is to be adapted according to your means, your horse and your location.
If your meadows are not bordered by hedges or trees, you will also need to think about building a shelter. You can do this yourself or buy them directly from manufacturers. In all cases, it must position itself with its back to the prevailing winds, be sufficiently large and on stable ground.
It is also important to provide a point of access to drinking water so that your horse can drink (ponds, rivers, etc., should be avoided). Automatic drinkers can be very practical but are more complicated to manage in winter.
Large water tubs are readily available on the market, but an old tub can do the trick! I still recommend that you do not take containers that are too large: the refuelling should certainly be done more regularly with a small container, but the water will be renewed more often and will not stagnate.
As for the fodder, it can be given in a shelter, or in a rack, but the idea is to be able to move it regularly so as not to create a pool of mud around it. There are many tips on the internet for distributing hay, you will inevitably find what you are looking for!
Boxes: A box is of course not essential, but unfortunately you are not immune to an injury that will require your horse to be immobilized or locked up for a few days or even just a few hours. In which case, a box is always welcome!
As with the shelter, you can buy ready-made ones in the store. Personally, I’m lucky to have a mason daddy who built them himself. They have the advantage of being tailor-made according to our needs, modular and multifunctional, so very practical!
To make your task easier, it is possible to simply provide a door to your meadow shelter, for example.
In any case, the boxes will have to be built on solid foundations, and will themselves have to withstand the elements. Be wary of “extra” boxes, which can be dangerous if they don’t hold up enough.
The grooming area: Although more accessory, these spaces quickly turn out to be essential on a daily basis!
A grooming area allows you to prepare and care for your horse outside the meadow, in a clean and comfortable place. The ideal is to have a concrete floor so that it can be easily cleaned with a broom or a jet of water.
You can also include tie rings or a tie bar if you have more than one horse. As far as I’m concerned, I add a trestle or a saddle rack, as well as a net rack to hang nets and halters. I also have some useful storage (boxes, shelves, etc.) to store a few small things that I always need in this corner.
It is best to have a covered grooming area, this allows you to prepare for shelter, to put your horse in the dry, or to treat him in the best conditions, but this is not always possible. In which case, the “open-air” grooming areas do the job perfectly!
The bottom line
Even if you have the space to keep your horse in your back garden, make sure you take it out to “socialize” at least once a month. Horses, like any other animals, can get lonely!
Having a horse is not just about paying his expenses and going to ride him and that’s it, he needs an investment of your time and dedication, so that you can go see him, enjoy his company and spend time with him. We must dedicate time daily to take care of it and check it so that everything is in order and the horse is well.
If you have any questions or comments about the content, please let us know!
FAQ on Can you keep a horse in your back garden UK?
What do I have to do to have a horse?
The basic cares of a horse stable are mainly:
- Keep the feeder and drinker clean. Cleaning it a couple of times a week to remove any food debris is enough.
- Change the material of the bed.
- Ventilate the place and remove the bed.
- Take out the manure.
How much land do you need to have a horse?
In order to have a horse it is possible that, in addition to having a minimum amount of land needed, which ranges between 1,000 and 2,500 m2 depending on the municipality, a project must be presented where it is specified how the manure is to be stored if a shed will be made for the horse, etc.
How much does it cost to keep a horse in your home?
The prices range between $870 per month in club A and 350 in a C; Maintaining a horse in a category B club can cost about $680 and on your own farm, $361.