Should Horses Have Shelter in the Winter?
Horses are hardy animals and can handle weather conditions we cannot. The short answer is yes horses should have shelter, but there is more to think about. In an ideal situation, horses should be able to come and go from their shelter. This is why an open design like a horse run-in shed is a preferred model.
Horses can tolerate very low temperatures when they have a shelter to return to. The University of Minnesota tells us they can bear temperature as low as -40° F.
Depending on the horse coat, a horse’s comfortable range is somewhere between 18° – 59° F. This is of course if the coat is dry. If the horse is wet, then it’s ability to tolerate these temperatures diminishes. That why having a horse barn or horse run in shed is a necessity.
So, you want to keep your horse dry which means rain, sleet or high winds can be a problem. Essentially, the wind is blowing the warmth off of the horse. This means temperatures that were tolerable with no wind are no longer tolerable. All in all, if there is no wind or moisture at all, a horse might do fine at 0° F.
A Horse Barn to Keep your Feed Dry
In addition, some sources suggest horses be fed more during the winter. So you will need to be feeding more and find a way to keep that dry as well. So how do we keep the hay dry? You might ask.
A horse barn with a tack room will give you a place to store and keep the hay and feed dry. You will likely store other things in there too that you need to care for the horses. You are really hitting two birds with one stone. A place to keep your horses dry and a place to store your horse feed.
How Much Space Do Horses Need in a Horse Barn?
This depends on the size of the horse. If the horse is fully grown, you may be looking at 10×10 to 12×12. If we are looking at a miniature horse or ponies 8×10 might be fine. So, a good rule of thumb is a 10×12 for an average situation. Scale-up if your horse is a 1000-pound horse to 12×12.
Keep in mind, this is for the first horse. Additional horses occupying the same space would be a smaller addon. For example, 10×6 for an average size horse. These are just dimensions to consider, but if you want to give your horses more space, then consider a larger run-in shed.
What to Look for in a Horse Barn?
There are two models we will look at here: The Horse Run in Shed and The Horse Barn with a Tack Room. Both models are great for their intended purpose.
Here at Montana Structure, we build our horse shelters with quality materials and craftsmanship and at the same time try to keep the unnecessary cost down. We use the Anaconda Storage Shed design. This is a popular structure in the New England area known as the a saltbox, but in our case, it is a thoughtful design consideration to keep your horses safe.Choose a Run-in Shed
This Anaconda design allows for more interior height on one side as opposed to the center. This design allows more room for headspace if you have a giraffe of a horse. More importantly, the larger area space is to the rear of the horse shed. This way the rain runoff is more in the back away from the horses, and not as much in the front. Honestly, aesthetically it is better.
The roof is important to consider. If the roof is of poor quality, it will shorten the life of any structure. What happens with low-quality roofs is water get in under the roof and start to warp the structure stressing the joints and ultimately rotting takes place.
We also have two roof options with various colors to choose from. First is the 30-year dimensional shingles. Our roofs are made to last. We currently have 4 color options. The second roofing option is our 40-year metal roofs. Our metal roofs currently come in 6 different colors.
Precaution must be taken to prevent rotting at the bottom where it will be exposed to moister. This is why our horse barns are built on 4 x 4 treated skids. This elevates the bottom off the ground.
What are the Differences in a Horse Run in Shed and a Horse Barn?
Horse run-in sheds are three-sided structures with one open wall allowing horses to come and go. Our horse run in sheds are built without floors so appropriate bedding can be put down. Also, at the bottom is a 4' high kick guard. This will help protect the walls. Sizes for the horse run in shed ranges from 10 x 10 to 12 x 32.Run-in Shed no Tack Room
The horse barn with tack room is very similar to the horse run in shed with the addition of tack room. The tack room is a very nice addition because it provides a dry space to store the hay, feed, and other needed supplies.
We build our tack room floor joist over the 4 x 4 treated skids. Then we install a tongue and groove PerformMax waterproof floor over the floor joists. This creates flooring that will keep everything inside dry.Run-in with Tack Room
Winter Comes Early in the Montana, Idaho, Wyoming Area
You don't want to leave your horses in the cold. They could develop respiratory conditions as a result of being too cold from wetness and/or high winds. Some people figure horses in an enclosed barn are safe, but that not true. The air quality can be dangerous.
This is why the openness of a horse run in shed is really good design. The open wall eliminates the necessary precautions that will have to be taken with enclosed stalls or barns.
The summer months are the best time to get your horse shelter so visit our horse shed pages and visit our contact page.