Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dry Lot: Construction (with lots of pictures)

I have been really wanting a dry lot and I finally have one! I wanted to share some photos of the upgrade.

Here are some before pictures that illustrate why you might want a dry lot to preserve your pasture:

The area where the dry lot is now, all torn up in January. It got worse as the winter progressed. As you can guess from the green grass, last winter started unseasonably late--we had thunderstorms on Christmas! So this shows less damage than typical.
Hoof damage near the gate and feeder pad.
Here are some photos of the dry lot construction process:

First, the topsoil was stripped and and the subsurface was graded.
The stonedust has begun to arrive! The shed pad at the front right corner has a special compacted base.
While the grading is done, the grid that will help prevent erosion is laid out to "relax" and spread out. It arrived tightly packaged. 
Here is the grid getting staked out, to keep it stretched in place while it is backfilled with stonedust. It was positioned across the center of the dry lot to reduce erosion caused by water draining across the surface.
Half of the grid has now been carefully filled in with stonedust. It's a bonus that the grid covers the area around the newly-installed Nelson auto waterer because that is likely to be a high-traffic area.
Here's a close-up of the grid as it's filled in.
Most of the stonedust has now been spread. Dominick the Donkey immediately investigates the modification to his home.
The finished pad for the run-in shed, with the four corners staked out and lots of hot tape to keep the horses off the newly seeded areas.
Dominick chilling on the eastern edge of the dry lot. You can see that it sits several inches above ground level.
The northwestern edge, which curves around to the shed pad.
The fence is up! Horse and donkey investigate the brand-new fence, which is five-foot-high wire mesh with a top board. The gates in this pic will lead to the bottom and middle thirds of the pasture, once I move the Horseguard cross-fencing. The shed will go in the corner above the donkey in this picture.
Here's a view of most of the space, standing just inside the gate to the barn. Straight ahead is a gate to the top third of the field. Gates to the bottom and middle thirds are on the left (one open). The shed will go in the back left corner.

The shed has now arrived!

I'm happily transitioning the boys to an outdoor lifestyle. Turning in/out is SO much easier now that all I have to do is open and close gates!

Here are the rough dimensions of the dry lot (the shed is the rectangle in the upper right corner), which according to the builder is a total of 7,031 square feet (including the pad for the shed):

One future upgrade I'm considering is a scratching post so they don't use the fence and shed (in theory). I'll also be adding a small shed for storing a week's worth of hay.

The dry lot was built by K&L Contracting, who also built my arena. I cannot recommend them highly enough!

I should warn you though that a dry lot like this does not come cheap! I didn't put costs in here at first because it feels sort of private, but I know people like to know these things so here you go:

Dry lot construction (incl. labor and stonedust):                                        $15,798
Four erosion control grids, each measuring 230 square feet:                     $  1,840
Nelson waterer purchase price:                                                                   $    793
Nelson waterer installation cost (incl. trenching, plumbing, electric):       $  3,492
12'x36' Cottage Works shed:                                                                       $  6,267
Electrical wiring in shed:                                                                            $  1,091
5'-high no-climb fencing with top rail plus three 12' gates:                        $  2,739
TOTAL:                                                       unspeakable sum, I mean...    $32,020


  1. Very cool setup! Is it still working well for you?

  2. Yes, I love it! The boys lived out 24/7 all winter, days in the dry lot and nights with access to one section of the pasture (they still spent a lot of time eating hay in the dry lot though since there wasn't much grass). That was a lot less work and more flexibility for me than stalling them at night, and they never had to be cooped up. It also saved my pasture to have turnout space when the ground was very wet, though this year winter was mild and pretty dry so it wasn't as big a deal as usual.

  3. I apologize if it was mentioned somewhere, but how big is your dry lot? It looks like it has been a comfortable size for your three equines?

    Thanks :)

    1. Froglander... I'm so sorry it took me forever to get the dimensions up and reply to you! They're in the post now. I have to admit, I was sort of hoping Google Maps would update this year and I would be able to post a satellite picture. When you see my crappy drawing, you'll see why. :-)

  4. Excellent work Libby, looks like its all working really well. Very similar to what we talk about, if you are on Facebook have a look at Equicentral Central we would welcome you as a member or

  5. Might you share with us the total cost of installing your dry lot, please? Thanks!