What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Horse Shelters?

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Horse Shelters?

If you’re thinking about getting a horse, or already have one, an appropriate shelter is essential for their health and well being. A shelter is a good investment for horses, not only for their comfort, but also their health. Horses left out in the wind and rain have a higher chance of getting sick. Also, too much sun can cause stress. There are a few options when it comes to equine sheds, and each comes with their pros and cons. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of horse shelters.

Run-In Sheds

Run-in sheds are three sided shelters for horses. They are open and allow horses to access the shelter when they need to, or when they choose to. Run-in sheds are a good budget friendly option; however, they need to be large enough to provide room for all horses to gain access without compromising their safety.

Pros of Run-In Sheds

  • Horses have the choice of when they use the shed
  • Excellent ventilation which is better for their lungs
  • Easy maintenance
  • Relatively inexpensive to construct
  • Low fire risk
  • May be more portable
  • Low maintenance costs

Cons of Run-In Sheds

  • Sick and injured horses can’t be contained
  • Food intake can’t be monitored
  • Horses may not use the shelter when they should (for example, during bad weather)
  • Grooming and saddling are not convenient
  • Dominant horses might prevent less dominant horses from using the shelter
  • Drafts cannot be prevented in some cases
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Stable Equine Sheds

Stables are a great option for keeping horses completely isolated from the elements. Horses don’t always choose to shelter from bad weather and stables allow for doors to be closed when needed. Stables give owners complete control and protection for the horses.

Pros of Stables

  • Completely isolated from bad weather
  • Sick and injured horses are able to rest
  • Saddling and grooming is more convenient
  • Dominant horses can be kept away from the less dominant
  • Food can be monitored
  • Horses stay cleaner

Cons of Stables

  • Stalls require a lot of cleaning every day
  • Stables cost more to construct
  • Maintenance costs are higher than run-in sheds
  • Poorer ventilation
  • Higher fire risk
  • Horses must be exercised daily
  • Horses can become bored in stalls

Both run-in sheds and stables have the advantages and disadvantages, however both options can be tailored to suit individual needs. Run-in sheds offer the flexibility to expand and add on accessories later, while stables provide full shelter and isolation from the elements.

Both options can be customised to suit individual requirements, such as layout, style, colour and accessories. It also may be a good idea to provide a combination of both options. This allows horses the freedom to choose when to shelter during bad weather or on hot days. However, during very severe weather they can be completely protected or have a place for sick and injured horses to rest at the owner’s discretion. Whichever option is chosen, your horse will appreciate having a warm spot to go during the wind and rain, or a shady area on those hot summer days.

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