Many people are unsure about what size run-in horse shed to buy. While there are some general guidelines regarding the optimal size, much of determining what size shelter is best depends on your horse(s).
Some online sources recommend providing a minimum space of 12'x12' for each horse. Another source recommends 10'x10'. Yet another suggests space should be calculated as 60-80 square feet per 1000 pounds of horse.
At Horizon Structures, we generally tell people that a 12'x18' run-in horse shed is usually adequate for 3 average sized horses (about 15 hands) that will share their space without fighting.
As any horse owner knows, horses - being herd animals - have a definite social "pecking order" with some members of the herd being more dominant then others. It would not be uncommon to see a pasture with one horse comfortably enjoying the shelter of the shed and its herd mates all shivering in the rain outside!
A Few Suggestions.
- Always buy "wider" as opposed to "deeper." This will make it more difficult for a more dominant horse to block the entrance and easier for the other horses to get inside.
- It is better to buy several smaller sheds and spread them throughout your pasture than one larger, longer shed. If you do have a dominant horse, this will prevent it from "guarding" the single building and keeping the other horses out.
- Avoid feeding your horses inside the shed. Some horses can get very territorial when it comes to their food. It is best if your horses do not learn to associate the shed with feeding time.
It is better to buy several smaller horse sheds and spread them throughout your pasture than one larger, longer shed.
Finally, you may find, after going to the trouble and expense of setting up a run-in shed for your horses, that they don't appear to be using it! Horses are generally very well adapted to withstand cold temperatures and don't seem to mind rain or snow. However, it is very important that your horse has shelter from driving winds and hail as well has a cool, shaded place to go on a hot summer day.
The interior should be at least 10' high and include 4' high kickboard. Customers often ask if they need a taller structure for their taller (17h) horses and are concerned about the clearance on the open side. Rest assured, your horses will lower their heads to enter. The 7'+ is perfectly fine. Also, keep in mind, if you are purchasing a pre-built run-in shed, there are transportation height restrictions . Horse sheds higher than 10' would have to be built on-site.
Finally, when setting up your run-in shed, always face the open side away from prevailing winds and place the structure on a level, slightly elevated spot or try to build up the floor to keep it is dry as possible inside.
As always, please feel free to call us at 1-888-44-SHEDS if you have any questions or would like help choosing the best run-in shed for your unique situation.
NOTE: All barn, run-in and stall dimensions referred to on this site are OUTSIDE dimensions