Manning Farm South

Welcome! And thanks for visiting our website. Many people have shown an interest in our horses since we moved them to this property. If you'd like to learn more about them or how we care for them, read on.



Herd Wingman



Herd Maestro



Herd Optimist



Minister of Feelings

Your Questions, Answered

Is Manning Farm South open to the public?

Thanks for your interest, but no. We are a private home and cannot accommodate visitors.

Can I board my horse with you?

Unfortunately, we do not currently have boarders and don’t foresee that ever changing.

Can I ride, pet, take photos with, or feed your horses?

No. Our horses are not lesson horses. Some of them are young and/or in training. We do not rent them out or allow other people to ride or handle them.

Why do your horses sometimes wear colorful boots?

Flies are a fact of horse life, but we take steps to reduce their numbers and mitigate their impact on the horses. The boots themselves protect a horse’s legs from flies and reduce stamping and stress. The colors are just for fun.

Why don’t your horses have a barn?

Our horses do not have a barn because they have a windblock, which is a more effective method of sheltering horses than most barn structures. While barns are both popular and common, they have their downsides when it comes to offering protection to groups of horses. Most particularly, barns create choke-points, which can be very dangerous. A single horse often gets left outside while the others go in, leaving one horse vulnerable in harsh conditions. Or one horse can be cornered by another. Both scenarios can lead to serious injury or even death.

Many horses prefer not to go into barns anyway because they feel confined and unsafe when they don’t have a view of the horizon. In short, some people think horses need barns because people like to be indoors. But horses don't need the same things humans do. We should not confuse what is comfortable for us with what is comfortable for them. Horses confined indoors have much higher instances of ulcers, colic, and anxiety-related behaviors such as cribbing and weaving than horses allowed to live outside.

Why are your horses all in together?

Horses maintain complex social relationships, and herd hierarchy is at the core of what helps them stay happy and healthy. Isolated horses (even if they have other horses on the other side of a wall or a fence) experience much higher levels of stress and are more prone to health issues. Horses thrive when they are able to have buddies and be physically close to them. They also protect each other from insects and weather by sharing space. Our horses have been together for many years and are very good friends.

But don’t horses need shelter?

Our windblock is carefully designed and placed to provide protection from many different types of weather while allowing horses to remain close to one another. It blocks wind from every direction, allows horses to share body heat with herdmates, and does not interfere with their ability to move freely and see into the distance. Horses do not need a roof to be comfortable and safe. Two of our four horses become extremely agitated if kept indoors and will not willingly enter a building on their own. (One was born in the wild and the other just has strong opinions.)

What about storms and wind?

Horses are safer outside in storms. In high winds, large buildings and three-sided structures are especially vulnerable to being damaged, crushed, or flipped over. Horses inside have no ability to escape these disasters. Most experienced horse owners choose to turn their horses out when a severe storm is coming to increase their chances of survival.

What about cold?

Horses live happily in the wild in environments like Canada, Greenland, and Siberia where the winter is harsh and there is little to no shelter from the wind or snow. They are innately equipped to handle cold weather with heavy winter coats and tails designed to block the wind. When possible, wild horses like to line up among trees, fluff up their coats, and put their butts to the wind. This enables them to create stored heat in a group even in extreme conditions. With our windblock, there is no chance of one horse getting left out because a more dominant horse won't let them through a barn door. There’s plenty of room for everyone. If you walked among horses sharing heat this way during a polar vortex (which we have done) you would be shocked at how warm it gets against a single solid wall. During cold periods, our horses also have access to heated water and all the food they can eat, which helps keep their body temperature at safe and comfortable levels.

Chihuahuas, on the other hand, have very different care needs and do not do well in the cold. This is why Tobi lives indoors and wears sweaters during the colder months. Also, he has an innate sense of style that cannot be denied.



Head of PR

What about heat?

Horses sweat in the heat, and the drying of that sweat is how they cool themselves. For this reason, being inside a building is worse for them during the summer. With less air movement and less ability to move themselves, the sweat can’t evaporate as easily. This can cause a horse to overheat, which can have severe consequences. In the summer, our horses have shade provided by the windblock and fans during the worst phases of heat. They also have unlimited access to cool, fresh, drinking water. Methods like misters or sprinklers or any other means of getting horses more wet are actually dangerous in humid environments like Iowa as they inhibit evaporative cooling.

If you see our horses sweating, this means they are sufficiently hydrated and are handling the heat well. It does not mean they are uncomfortable or in distress.

What about rain?

Horses are not harmed by rain. Most horses do not go under a roof when it’s raining even if they have one. Horses evolved in grasslands where there was no shelter of any kind. They lived without difficulty for 55 million years before men started putting them in buildings.

Why don’t your horses wear blankets?

Horses can heat themselves much better with their own coats than with man-made alternatives. A blanket compresses a horse’s coat and destroys its ability to insulate while also preventing evaporation of moisture. A blanket also means a horse can't flatten their coat to dump heat and cool off. The result is that a horse wearing a blanket is often too cold or too warm, sometimes sweaty or with ice in their coat, and thus frequently uncomfortable. Blankets can also chafe, rub, or get caught on fences. Horses are happier and safer without them. The exception to this is horses with underlying health problems. Although sometimes rare weather events can make a horse’s coat less effective, these are extremely uncommon. That said, we do have a heavy winter blanket stored on the premises for each horse, and we monitor them constantly. We know how to tell if a horse is cold. Any horse that needs a blanket will get one.

If that’s true, why do so many horses wear blankets?

Many people blanket their horses to prevent the natural coat from growing in. They do this because a shaggy, warm, functional winter coat is considered unsightly, particularly among people who show their horses.

Are you sure your horses are properly cared for?

Together, the people at Manning Farm South have well over 50 years combined experience housing, training, and keeping horses safe and well. We’ve never had a horse experience illness, injury, or distress due to inadequate facilities or improper care. Our horses are well-fed, properly-sheltered, and monitored all day by video. They receive regular attention from a vet and a farrier. We know the particular needs and personalities of our individual horses very well. (We've owned one of them for 13 years.) They are all thriving. But please send us an email if you’d like to know more!

Tobi (see above) would be happy to answer your questions.
Just email:

I still want to know more about your horses.

Follow us on Instagram! We post photos and little stories about their lives.

I really love horses! Do you know a fun way I could continue to learn more about them?

It just so happens we do. We recommend Stefani Wilder’s books. They are fictional stories that nevertheless include accurate details about caring for horses and training them.