Thornberry’s fields are nearly all provided with surfaced areas where horses can get out of the mud in wet conditions or where they can be corralled to be checked over safely, groomed, fed and treated. These corrals also contain field shelters to give respite from the glare of the sun (not in evidence recently, of course!), and from wet, windy conditions ( a combination that horses do not enjoy!). There was one field, however, which lacked this facility. The picture shows the muddy conditions which we did not wish to inflict on our horses. The Elise Pilkington Trust was asked for a grant to cover the £4,500 needed to install a large, dry corral and a shelter, complete with secure fencing and they responded immediately with a grant for the full amount.
A corral was created with over 100 tons of stone and softer planings on top and a purpose built shelter was erected on 10th January. The shelter, at 24 feet by 12 feet is an excellent size, with headroom enough for the largest of horses, and to keep it cool in summer. The kickboards on the inside walls make the walls sturdy and kick-proof; the two openings prevent one horse from trapping another inside and the pitched roof, guttering and overhang keep the rain off well in this fairly exposed field. Sited with its back to prevailing winds, this is a highly functional as well as smart,attractive addition to the facilities for our horses, giving them much improved living conditions whilst enabling them to live out of doors, as naturally as possible. The best of both worlds for a horse.
An additional, vital use for our field shelters is to provide temporary quarantine, isolation or containment for horses needing to be kept separate from others, for example on arrival, before they have been assessed for medical or other issues. This shelter and corral are big enough to accommodate a small group arriving together, so that individuals need not be kept without companionship if this is not necessary. This is a great addition to our provision, making it more extensive and versatile.
We want the best for every horse. We have over 30 horses and ponies at our equine site and feel that, no matter how few or how many we look after at any one time, each one deserves high quality accommodation and care, suitable for their needs. Field shelters and corrals are a hugely important improvement in achieving this.
The supplier of the shelter is NV Stables, who have provided a high quality product at a competitive price, representing good value for money. We hope that the Elise Pilkington Trust will also feel that their money has been well spent and we thank them once again for providing Thornberry with the wherewithal to improve conditions for our horses.