dry lot cowgirl magazine

A dry lot is a smaller paddock sectioned off from the rest of your fields. They’re also known as sacrifice areas because they protect the rest of your pastures from getting muddy. They’re helpful for easy keepers that can’t have a lot of grass, as well. Follow these tips for creating the perfect one!

DIY Dry Lot Tips

  • Try to place this smaller lot in a central location. It’s extra helpful if you can connect it with the rest of your pastures through lanes or gates.
  • Each average-sized horse should have 400 to 600 square feet of space.
  • They should also have access to shelter. Each horse needs roughly 72 to 144 square feet of shelter space.
  • Manage drainage with gutters and swales.
  • Ideally, place limestone, stone dust, or pea gravel in the lot to prevent mud. You’ll want to first scrap away the top soil. A solid base can be used with 4-6″ of gravel on top.
  • If gravel isn’t possible, use mats in high-traffic areas like the gate and hay feeder.
  • Use safe and secure fencing, such as no-climb mesh, wood boards, corral panels, or electric. Many times, a combination of these works well.
  • Choose gate placement carefully. It’s helpful if a vehicle or tractor can fit through it.
  • If you can, have rounded corners so no horse gets trapped or bullied.
  • Drag the paddock to keep it level.
  • Keep the area free of weeds.
  • Pick up the manure on a regular basis.
  • Install slow feeding hay nets to keep your horse busy longer.
  • You’ll need to ride or exercise your horse a few times a week, since they can’t roam around like in a field.

A dry lot is great in the winter or rainy season. You’ll find it’s also helpful for new horses, those recovering from injuries, reducing grass intake, among other things!