What are the benefits of a dry lot?
You may have a turn out that is just, well, dirt. You may call it a dry lot, a dirt paddock, a sacrifice paddock, the back 40, whatever. But in a nutshell, it’s an area of your farm that is basically dirt, fenced in for your horses to hang out in. It may seem like a dry lot is a waste of space, and you should convert it into something useful, green, and pretty. But for many horses and farm owners/managers, dry lots are awesome, easy, and a breeze to clean!
Sand is a great footing choice for some climates.
-Let your “metabolically challenged” horses hang outside for all the day and night! If you have a horse with insulin resistance, cushing’s, or past laminitis, a dry lot is the perfect grass free zone for getting turn out, sunshine, and bonding with buddies.
-Give your pastures a rest! If you are lucky enough to have pastures, you likely have a rotation so that the grass can replenish. Using dry lots for your pastures lets the good grass come back.
-You may be battling major drought (and therefore yucky pasture) situations, and having a good dry lot gives your some horse turnout management options.
This dry lot is more like super fine gravel, great for wet areas that need lots of drainage.
Here’s how you can make the most of a dry lot:
- They are super easy to clean, much easier to remove manure from dirt than grass! You can even bring your tractor in to give a good scrape if needed. Or a good till, to get the dirt softened up!
- Have shade or a shelter, in case your horses want to get out of the sun for a bit.
- Add some slow feeders to mimic grazing behaviors.
- If the footing is horrid, consider adding some well cured compost, bring your tractor in for a spin, or even add a thin layer of sand. You may also find that after a rain, the footing in a sandy dry lot is safer than a grass pasture.
- You could add a few bags of shavings or wood pellets to an area for a rolling spot.
Add a feed bin to occupy your horse!
How have you spiffed up a dirt lot for your horses?