Polytunnels as field shelters for summer

Jinny

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Hi there,

I am looking for a field shelter for summer for my horse - to shelter from flies and heat. I am at a livery yard where there are wooden shelters for winter but our summer paddocks do not have any field shelters so looking to purchase a polytunnel as the owners have approved this and I can take it with me if I leave.

The ones I have been looking at are Northern Polytunnels. They are expensive so I want to choose wisely. Website link: Temporary & Permanent Equine Field Shelters (northernpolytunnels.co.uk)

My concern is that it will get really hot inside? Does anyone have any experience of a polytunnel in summer? I am thinking of going for a white or grey cover in preference to the traditional green as light colours reflect the heat more than dark colours. So theoretically should stay cooler. I have spoken to Northern Polytunnels but sounds like they sell more for protection in winter than summer which has got me thinking if they are suitable for summer?

Many thanks
 

sunleychops

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if they are open both side I cant imagine it will build up an excessive amount of heat to be fair, our wooden shelters get bloody warm in the summer but they still go in them to get the sun off their backs and into the shade away from the flies so I wouldnt hesitate.

Mine would absolutely shit themselves at this set up mind
 

Leandy

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I've seen much bigger versions of these in use. Not hot as there is flow of air through but the wind would rip the cover to shreds eventually (and blow the entire thing away if you don't fix it very firmly to the ground). I also thought the horses would be terrified of them but that didn't seem to be a problem.
 

Jinny

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if they are open both side I cant imagine it will build up an excessive amount of heat to be fair, our wooden shelters get bloody warm in the summer but they still go in them to get the sun off their backs and into the shade away from the flies so I wouldnt hesitate.

Mine would absolutely shit themselves at this set up mind

That is my other concern that he won't go into it. Could be a very expensive mistake but don't have many options as his field is on a slope as well
 

oldie48

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I've no experience of poly tunnel field shelters but I have two poly tunnels for green houses and they do get extremely hot but I guess if there is a good through put of air, a field shelter would be OK, however, I've had mine take off in high winds despite being very securely tied down and weighted with huge slabs of concrete. I'd advise you think carefully about the prevailing wind and how best to shelter them from the worst of the wind.
 

BSL2

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Mine would rub on it, get a leg caught in the lining and most probably destroy themselves in the process of destroying the whole thing. Sorry not horse suitable but that is just my very humble opinion.
 

Midlifecrisis

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Dad grows stuff in poly tunnels..even with doors and window open they retain a lot of heat…which is what they are meant to do of course. If you have itchy ponies they ll squash the ribs and tear the plastic fairly easily.
 

kathantoinette

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Hot, they grow fruit/plants in them for a reason. Least not the worry of them being destructed when a horse rubs on it and the carnage which could enfold when the horses get tangled up in the plastic, rope and metal.
 

rabatsa

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I have something similar and it gets used a lot by the equines and sheep, depending on who is using that field at the time. The biggest problem is itchy arses. I have put some sheep hurdles up in mine so that I can turn it into a pen when needed, and have mud control slabs on the floor.

It does not get hot but is 12'x12' and open at both ends.
 

PurBee

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I use them for crops with clear plastic so they do get hot with clear coverings. It’s a sauna - i love it!
Also i generally have various tarped temp shelters for storage and can confirm a dark thick tarp gets hot underneath compared to white.

I’d use a 250+ gsm tarp in white - line the inside with osb board to stop horses potentially getting caught up in the framework, and have both ends open.

They are a pain to instal on a slope but can be done. Face it sideways to the prevailing wind direction so the wind slides up/over the round shape of the tunnel, rather than hitting the face of the tunnel, and causing lift during gusty weather.
The footing of the hoops depends on your soil type - pick a firm dry place, and you can lump-hammer in some 3 foot grounding stakes that the polytunnel hoops then slide into. Drill holes at the bottom, bolt the hoops to the grounding stakes. My tunnel has been installed with these stakes and its extremely exposed to the valley, west ireland atlantic full storms hitting it, and it has amazingly survived over 10yrs. The plastic is wrapped around timbers screwed into base boards.
There’s an art to getting them tight. If youre diy handy you’ll figure it out but if not, get someone in to install it who does it for a living. We hoisted our hoops up out of the grounding stakes after plastic installed to get it drum tight. So you want to fit the hoops into the grounding stakes by 12+ inches, so you have plenty of inches still in the stakes after lifting to get the plastic tight.
The tighter the tarp, the better it will withstand wind. The tarps in those pictures on northern p.tunnels site look way too loose.
I wouldnt use any other installation method on an exposed windy site. It needs to be anchored down very deep and firm.

I have white roofing on my stable and its a godsend when hot, reflecting the light/heat.
You can get truckers curtain sides and use them as tarps - theyve very thick/heavy and amazingly last over a decade.

You could look on facebook marketplace or ebay for ‘commercial polytunnel’ - theyre the 50mm bigger hoops, rather than hobby polytunnels that use 30mm smaller hoops. I have both and its the smaller hooped one i have in a very exposed position. The 50mm hoops are far stronger though and wont flex so much in the wind.
I bought a huge commercial tunnel from ebay for 100 quid! So you can pick up astounding deals secondhand.

With some careful planning and installation it would be ideal - but not moveable. Not easily moveable - it would be an awful lot of work.
Those tunnels shown on nor. P.tunnels would suit a very sheltered site and look like theyre easily moveable. I wouldnt trust them at all in an exposed field.
 

Nudibranch

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Their advice to me was that unless its a sheltered site you need to secure them over and above their recommended anchors.
 
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Lois Lame

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I've no experience of poly tunnel field shelters but I have two poly tunnels for green houses and they do get extremely hot but I guess if there is a good through put of air, a field shelter would be OK, however, I've had mine take off in high winds despite being very securely tied down and weighted with huge slabs of concrete. I'd advise you think carefully about the prevailing wind and how best to shelter them from the worst of the wind.

We had some polytunnels in the nursery in which I worked. They were far longer of course, and beastly to be in in any hot sunny weather. Of course, they were see through plastic, and had to let light in. The polytunnels were open at both ends in summer and still horrible.

In winter they were rather nice.
 

HollyWoozle

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I clicked the link and see this is more like an arc like a polytunnel (so likely much cooler and not humid) but I would still be concerned about stability during high winds. Having said that they do seem to be purpose built and is preferable to no shade!
 

Lois Lame

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Right maybe wrong but are they meant to bring on humidity to make things grow. poor buggers using that ?

I think they are used because they are cheap. Glasshouses are so much better (not for horses, mind :D )

We had plenty of glasshouses, but sometimes, under certain managers, we had to produce ever more numbers of plants.
 

southerncomfort

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Hi there,

I am looking for a field shelter for summer for my horse - to shelter from flies and heat. I am at a livery yard where there are wooden shelters for winter but our summer paddocks do not have any field shelters so looking to purchase a polytunnel as the owners have approved this and I can take it with me if I leave.

The ones I have been looking at are Northern Polytunnels. They are expensive so I want to choose wisely. Website link: Temporary & Permanent Equine Field Shelters (northernpolytunnels.co.uk)

My concern is that it will get really hot inside? Does anyone have any experience of a polytunnel in summer? I am thinking of going for a white or grey cover in preference to the traditional green as light colours reflect the heat more than dark colours. So theoretically should stay cooler. I have spoken to Northern Polytunnels but sounds like they sell more for protection in winter than summer which has got me thinking if they are suitable for summer?

Many thanks

My old boss bought a couple. They were fine in decent weather but didn't stand up to winter weather.

Being open at both ends means they don't get hot. Some of the ponies were straight in, others wouldn't go anywhere near it.

Depending on how quick and easy they are to put up and take down, they'd probably do the job if you don't mind removing them at the end of the summer.
 

Antw23uk

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Equi Hut on FB are doing a new range of shelter which is four posts and a roof. Its reminded me to contact the people who made my field shelter and see what price they come up with for the same design but in wood!
 

alsxx

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There used to be a specific field shelter built like a polytunnel, I know as picked one up second hand for £90 about 15 years ago. No idea the name/make but it retailed for upwards of 500 iirc. Anyway, it was dark green and you could open both ends up, it didn't get particularly warm in the summer and the only time mine ever used it was to escape the flies. It lasted about 6 years before the covering deteriorated and I got rid of it (bearing in mind it was already a few yrs old when when got it), but had ground anchors and withstood some very severe winter storms that caused quite a bit of damage locally. I used to hang haynets from the inside bars in winter and they would use it then. So maybe get something built for purpose?
 

Kerry B

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Hi there,

I am looking for a field shelter for summer for my horse - to shelter from flies and heat. I am at a livery yard where there are wooden shelters for winter but our summer paddocks do not have any field shelters so looking to purchase a polytunnel as the owners have approved this and I can take it with me if I leave.

The ones I have been looking at are Northern Polytunnels. They are expensive so I want to choose wisely. Website link: Temporary & Permanent Equine Field Shelters (northernpolytunnels.co.uk)

My concern is that it will get really hot inside? Does anyone have any experience of a polytunnel in summer? I am thinking of going for a white or grey cover in preference to the traditional green as light colours reflect the heat more than dark colours. So theoretically should stay cooler. I have spoken to Northern Polytunnels but sounds like they sell more for protection in winter than summer which has got me thinking if they are suitable for summer?

Many thanks
Hi I have had a Polytunnel field bought from Northern Polytunnels.shelter for my ponies for 4 years now. I bought it from Northern Polytunnels. It took a bit of putting up with just 2 of us, it’s easier when you know how and with 3 or 4 people. This make has screw in ground anchors and stays rock solid in all the gales we have had over the last 4 years. It takes 3 people 30 minutes to take it down to move it. I leave it up all year but moved it when we moved house/ grazing etc. I didn’t have it up last winter, just rugged my ponies instead, as my youngster had managed to bend a few poles slightly out of shape so I took it down to sort that. It’s going up again in the next couple of weeks and I’m looking for another 1 so I can make 3 stable type enclosures just in case. Price has gone up. My large one was in the region of £799 and it’s now over £1000. We’ll worth the money. Horse soon got used to it and I tie hay nets inside for them to keep the hay and them out of bad weather. That’s for my peace of mind though as ponies don’t care. Defo use it more to get out of heat and flies than bad weather though.
 

Kerry B

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I clicked the link and see this is more like an arc like a polytunnel (so likely much cooler and not humid) but I would still be concerned about stability during high winds. Having said that they do seem to be purpose built and is preferable to no shade!
Very stable during high winds especially if you have the ones with screw in ground anchors.
 

Lois Lame

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I think poly tunnels are meant to have the covers off in summer (for plants). We had some at the nursery where I worked, and management decided that the covers could stay on all year round...
:rolleyes:
...so they were shockingly uncomfortable if you had to do anything in them. (So much more time-saving, you know. Who cares if a few staff die off.)

For horses I believe they would be totally unsuitable for all sorts of reasons.

Even plants aren't very fond of poly tunnels (in summer). They are cheap and nasty things.
 
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