Going on a trip like this, one of the most important things is to keep the horses safe. That means they need to have good yards or another secure place to stay overnight.
Since we were going to travel with a stallion, we wanted to have proper yards. We looked into it for a long time as nothing really suited exactly what we wanted. Ideally we wanted yards that were about 1.80m long (so they would fit on the ramp of the truck), good quality, not too heavy, easy to assemble, able to stand on their own or attach to the truck and enough to make 2 yards, one for each horse.
The solution we ended up with was; cheap, superlight panels, 2m long with electric running on the inside and fibre glass posts with an electric wire. This solution seems to work.
We looked at a couple of different panels. Most were the standard float panels, then there were custom made panels and double up panels from over East. In the end we were running out of time and opted for some cheap Chinese imported panels that we could get locally. As they only costed $55 per panel we figured we could buy different ones if they didn't work. We bought 10 to make 2 yards. Attached to the truck they would be 4m x 4m for each horse and otherwise we would have them free standing with an electric wire in between.
The great thing about the panels is that they are super light. Which makes it easy for Monique to handle them each day. The worst thing is that they are super light. The horses can very easily bend them. Solution: electric along the inside (more about that in a minute).
The panels are stored on the back of the truck on the ramp. Unfortunately they are 2m long, and the ramp is only 1.80m wide, so the panels sit over one of the access doors to some storage. We also can't open the ramp without taking the panels off (we might still find a solution for this). The truck did not have any brackets for the panels, so Erwin made them up. He welded 2 brackets to the truck where the panels hang on and 2 bars so we could secure them with straps on the bottom. Straps are from Bunnings and work really well, very happy with this set up. The panels don't move, even while driving on gravel roads.
To keep the horses from pushing into the panels we ran 2 strands of electric wire along the inside. Erwin thought long and hard how to do this and came up with a brilliant solution. We have to put up the yards every day, so we wanted a quick and easy way to do this. The panels are put together with pins. Erwin welded insulators at the top of the pins so they function as connectors of the panels and stand off for the electric wire. Hook up a solar electric fence unit (ours does 2km!) and voila, problem solved.
Before we started this journey, Tonto and Giles were together in the same paddock for a couple of years. They got along really well. When we started travelling we made one big yard and put both of the horses in one yard. This went well for a little while.
Until one day we were woken up at 6am by a lot of noise. Tonto had pushed through the yards and managed to get out. Giles was still in there. One of the panels was completely folded double (cheap panels give way). Thank God the damage to Tonto's leg was fairly minor, the shock was a bigger issue. We don't know exactly what happened, maybe he spooked, or maybe Giles and him had an argument. Anyway we decided, no more camping together.
Tonto is very respectful of electric tape. Instead of making 2 yards out of the panels, we decided to give both horses some more room and create a new yard with fibre glass posts and electric wire. We connect both yards together so the electric unit supplies both yards. If the ground is really hard we use insulators around a tree to set up a yard. So far this set up works really well for us.
In future we might need to use different yarding solutions. For instance if the ground is really hard or when Erwin needs to camp out and can't take yards with him. We will be looking into hobbles and high lines or stakes in the ground.
The yards are one way we keep our horses safe. Along the way we had lots of different housing situations for the horses.
The best score is always a nice safe green paddock where the boys can stretch their legs and have feed at the same time.
Riding on dedicated horse trails or using equine facilities often has the benefit of permanent yards that we can use.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any questions, fire away.