Musings of an Alternative Equestrian

Building the Mega Shelter (aka Pony Palace)

Building the Mega Shelter (aka Pony Palace)

When I bought Windy Acres I knew I wanted to implement an Equicentral system (this will be covered in further blogs) and a good central area was key.

I wanted a shelter rather than stables as I wanted the ponies to have full companionship and I was never planning on locking them in individual spaces behind closed doors.

The first thought was where to site it, it needed to be in a location where there could be access to all of the paddocks I was going to create. Convenience would have dictated somewhere closer to the gateway but not only would that have made creating laneways to the fields a necessity (or having oddly shaped fields) it would have put in a secluded spot and I felt for security reasons out in the open made it more visible.

Our prevailing weather systems are from the South West, so that was a major consideration in how it was orientated, although the weather does occasionally swing round to the North East (usually bringing very bitter and cold weather), it is very infrequent.

My husband designed the shelter and my only requirements were that it was big enough for two ponies and that it had two entrances/exits to prevent one of them being trapped. It was his genius idea to come up with a L-shaped shelter with the inside corner blocked off tho create a small feedroom. This has the advantages of creating two large but separate areas which are interconnected with a wide space. Having the feed room integral is very handy and also not visible so unlikely to attract the attention of those looking steal (though it only holds feed, head collars and first aid kit).

The corner of it faces directly South West so the wind can flow round it, and as the sun tracks round that way it makes it a very sheltered spot in the summer. The yard goes completely all around the shelter, this was to enable the ponies to gain shelter and shade from anywhere if on the yard and to prevent one of them becoming trapped in an end.

Planning permission was granted in November and we wanted to start right away. All of the shelter is hand built by myself and my husband, except for the initial hole boring for the poles.

It is constructed from 8 reclaimed telegraph poles connected by rails top and bottom, the walls are a wooden framework with oak featheredge cladding. All the bottom rails are opepee (very hard wood, well suited to being in contact with the ground). The roof is boarded and then overlaid with Onduline roofing tiles. It looks us many months to complete but is well worth it.

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Getting the poles in was hard work, especially in winter when it flooded
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Adding the framework and roof
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Adding the yard area including pea gravel sections between the yard and field.
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Oak clad walls with louvred removable windows.
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Internal area and space between the two sections
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The finished shelter and they love it rain or shine!
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