4 Tips For Building A Better Horse Shelter

Posted on: 3 November 2020

Many horses are happiest when kept in a pasture with a run-in shelter that they can access at any time. However, that shelter does need to be built in a specific way in order to be safe, warm, and functional. The following are some tips to help you build a better horse shelter.

1. Put down at least a foot of gravel for drainage.

Since horses often urinate in their shelters, the floors can get quite wet. Soil and sand alone don't always drain well, and this can lead to puddles in the shelter. Beyond that, standing in urine and wet soil for a long time can lead to thrush and other foot problems for horses. To prevent these drainage issues, make sure you put at least a foot of gravel down under the base of the shelter. Cover the gravel fully with soil, sand, or even non-slip rubber mats with drainage holes. If possible, grade the gravel slightly so that any urine drains out from underneath the shelter.

2. Cover all edges with rubber or foam padding.

Horses can be accident-prone. If there is a sharp or rough corner, they will eventually find it. You can protect your horses by covering all exposed edges with foam or rubber padding. Even a pool noodle sliced lengthwise can fit over the edge of a wooden panel on the shelter entryway. You could also use glue to attach strips of rubber mats over the surfaces.

3. Mount hay mangers inside.

Rather than feeding your horses on the ground, consider mounting hay mangers to your horse shelter walls. This way, your horse won't scatter hay all through the shelter and their pasture. They'll also have to come into the shelter to eat their hay, which will keep them using the shelter and ensure they feel safe and comfortable in there. There are a number of wall-mounted hay mangers to choose from. Make sure you choose one where the bars are relatively close together so your horse is not at risk of catching a hoof between the bars.

4. Make sure gutters empty away from the opening.

It's really helpful to put gutters on your horse shelter, as they prevent water from flowing right off the roof and making puddles around the shelter. However, you do want to ensure the downspouts are placed at the back of the shelter, and that they direct water away from the shelter opening. Otherwise, you'll get a puddle at the shelter opening, which may make horses hesitant to enter.

Create a horse shelter with the tips above or talk with a professional for more information.