Question!

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!  


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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.  

 

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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.  
 

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Add a feed bin to occupy your horse!

 

How have you spiffed up a dirt lot for your horses?