Pros and Cons of Building Horse Sheds

Pros and Cons of Building Horse Sheds

Should I Provide Shelter for My Horse?

A free living (wild) horse is capable of seeking out shelter when necessary; however, a domestic horse can only make the best of what is provided by you. Domestic horses need to have access to shade and shelter and it’s important to provide this for your horse’s wellbeing.

Why Should I Provide Shelter for My Horse?

In hot climates such as Australia, horses should always have a shady spot to escape the hot sun. This can be even more important than shelter from bad weather. Horses can become stressed if they are unable to find shade during hot days. Shady areas are important for horses for many reasons, such as:

  • Horses with lighter colours can easily become sunburnt on hot days.
  • Horses are prone to overheating and due to their large body size, and take longer to cool down.
  • The high fibre diet of a horse gives off a lot of heat during digestion. This is beneficial during the colder months, however can be a problem in summer.
  • Horse flies’ favour full sun.
  • Horses can find very bright days uncomfortable. This is because their eyes have evolved to let in a lot of light so they are able to see better during dawn and dusk.
  • Some breeds of horses are more susceptible to eye cancers.
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Why is a Horse Shelter Important During Bad Weather?

Domestic horses require a shelter that they can seek out during uncomfortably cold and/or wet weather. Although most healthy horses are able to cope during cold temperatures, a horse will often seek out shelter when it rains. There are also some breeds that have finer coats, such as Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, which means that they will be less able to cope during cold and wet weather. However, even horses that have thick coats need a place to shelter from the wind and rain.

What Types of Shelters Are Available?

Equine sheds are available in a variety of styles. A simple run in shed may be all that is needed to provide adequate shelter. The shelter must be large enough for all of the horses to get into without causing the less dominant members of the herd becoming trapped.

What Is A Horse Run-In Shed?

A run-in shed is a three-sided structure that allows horses to shelter when they choose. They are less expensive to build compared to barns and give your horses the choice to access the shelter when they need to. Some of the pros and cons of run in sheds include:


  • Easier to clean
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Horses have the choice of when to shelter
  • Low fire risk
  • Inexpensive to build
  • Low maintenance costs


  • Horse cannot be contained
  • You can’t monitor how much the horses eat
  • Grooming and saddling are not as convenient
  • Horses may still be exposed to drafts
  • Dominant horse may prevent less dominant members accessing the shelter
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It’s important to provide adequate shelter for your horse’s health and safety. Equine sheds provide the necessary shelter and comfort for horses, while allowing them the freedom to choose when they come and go.

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