The Pros and Cons of a Run-in Shed
Learn how to give your horse the shelter he deserves with these tips from Junior Master Horseman Level 3.
December 12, 2010
From Junior Master Horseman Level 3
Knowing how to provide your horse(s) with a safe, protective and useable shelter is so “JMH!” But before deciding whether or not a run-in shed is the best shelter for your horse, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages.
- Less work for the horseman if area is large enough that periodic cleaning can be done with a tractor
- Horse(s) come and go and freely exercise
- Open ventilation, which is healthier for horse lungs
- Less risk of entrapment during fire
- Portable and moveable according to weather or drainage
- Lower construction costs compared to permanent stable or barn facility
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- Gate or fencing may need to be added to keep horse(s) contained for rest, illness or injury
- Monitoring total feed and water consumption can be a challenge
- Feeding multiple horses different rations/feed may require modifying the shed
- Horse(s) may not choose to seek shelter during inclement weather
- Dominant horse(s) may not allow other horse access
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Things to consider:
- Run your shed design plan and ideas before an experienced horseman and building expert to make sure whatever you are constructing or remodeling meets any local building codes or restrictions.
- Place your shed away from gates and fences in an area that will not flood, making sure the back wall protects your horse from the prevailing wind.
- The design for any horse shelter should be large enough so your horse(s) can stand and lie comfortably, and so there is ample room for movement. A recommended size is about 100 square feet (9 sq m) per average-size riding horse – about the same size as a box stall.
- Consider making the shed portable so it can be moved to another location if flooding occurs or keeping it clean becomes a challenge.
- Be sure the roof is high enough to prevent a horse from bumping his head, even if snow, dirt and debris elevate the ground near the entrance.
- Check the building code in your area for specific requirements and whether or not your structure requires a building permit.
- If your design doesn’t already include it, consider installing gutters to deflect run-off water from dripping onto your horse at the shed’s entrance.
- For safety, install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GCFI) outlet.
- Clean up the site of all building materials and obstacles that could be harmful to your horse or that could tempt him to be nosy.
- Construct your shelter securely. Keep in mind that a loose tarp or metal roof can scare a horse from entering the shed. It can also be a safety hazard.
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