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run in sheds: ornamental or useful?

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  • run in sheds: ornamental or useful?

    Hi all,
    I'm building a 20 stall barn, and the property has no trees on it, only along the edges of 2 sides of a huge rectangle. I thought I needed run in sheds, but I kind of feel like the horses don't really use them. Like they are more for the owners peace of mind. If you have a run in, do your horses use it? When? How big is it? If you were looking for a new barn, do you want it to have run ins?
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  • #2
    If you aren't going to monitor the weather constantly and bring the horses in accordingly run in sheds are a necessity.
    McDowell Racing Stables

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    • #3
      Considering all my horse has is a run-in, I'd say it was pretty important!

      I absolutely believe horses use run-ins. They can get shade, can get out of the weather and stay away from the biting insects.

      I wouldn't have a paddock or pasture without one, even if I did have a barn to go with it.

      My run-in is designed only for one horse. It is 10' x 12'. My horse uses it all the time for the above mentioned reasons.

      A friend of mine has a larger run-in for 3 horses. I'd say hers is probably 12 foot by 36 foot. The size and number of run-ins per pasture should be determined by how many horses are going to be sharing it.
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      • #4
        Because I am gone 11 hours every day between work and commuting, and the weather here is so changeable it's virtually impossible to choose the appropriate equine clothing needed at 5:00 a.m. and expect it to be suitable for the entire day - I spent $6K to alleviate myself of any guilt involved with horses being too cold, too wet, too hot, too bug-bitten, etc.

        We have many trees, and my horses do not use the run-in shed as much as I had anticipated - why they DO use it when they do is a mystery to me. Raining buckets? They are out happily grazing. Perfectly nice mild day? They are standing in the run-in shed.

        But, I would not be without one since now it's THEIR choice to be standing in the cold rain, so I am 'absolved' of any guilt feelings.
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        • #5
          If you don't have natural features to give horses protection, sheds are sure nice to have.

          You may see the horses not using them when WE think they ought to, out in a downpour, blizzard or terrible sun and heat, but then, you will also see them using the shed plenty, as THEY feel they need.

          If you have trees or rolling terrain or low spots for them to get out of the weather somewhat when they want to, you may get by without protection.

          The best way to place sheds is so the opening is toward's the most protection, against the worst weather.
          For us here, horses and cattle use protection most all year when very windy, that is mostly from the SW and in the winter blizzards from the N and NW, so we try to face the front S, somewhat SE.

          If you can, put the sheds where horses can stand all around them, not against a fence, that will keep them from using that side.

          We get some fierce cold S winds in early spring and they like to get on the back of the sheds then.

          Plenty of people keep horses in the winter on wheat pasture, flat, no protection and horses survive, but most like to at least provide an old grain truck or even a trailer parked there, for them to get behind it in the worst weather.

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          • #6
            A Must ~ USEFUL ~

            Run-in sheds = a must ~ IMHO ~~~ not a luxury a NECESSITY ~ you will be so glad you built one !
            Last edited by Zu Zu; Aug. 9, 2010, 10:16 AM. Reason: addition
            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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            • #7
              I love my run-in shed, and so do my horses. Though I agree that the times they choose to use it are not always what we'd expect, mine do spend a fair bit of time in theirs.

              Stan, for example, absolutely loves being rained on. He's nearly always out in the rain, and he loves standing in the sprinkler if you turn it on for him. But he goes in the run-in when the bugs are bothering him.

              Pody, my oldest mare, uses the run-in all the time. Rain, wind, bugs, cold, she's in and out of it every day. The only time she doesn't seem to use it much is when the new spring grass starts coming in, and then she's eating constantly.

              Stan and Pody are retired and out pretty much 24/7 (Pody only comes in her stall to eat her Pergolide and senior feed, since her teeth are just little nubs), so the run-in is perfect for them.

              The others have been spending a lot of time in theirs to get out of the bugs lately, too.
              "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
              -Edward Hoagland

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              • #8
                Echo what everyone else has said: A MUST!

                Different horses use them for different things. The old ones are always in them for the shade. The thin-skinned TB who shivers in the rain is in it then etc. It is a personal bugaboo of mine that there are all these fancy barns in my area with gorgeous expensive fencing and amazing barns (one has a chandelier in it) and yet they don't have run-ins or shade or a way to get out of the weather. Now *those* barns are designed for the owner's comfort, not their horse's.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                  It is a personal bugaboo of mine that there are all these fancy barns in my area with gorgeous expensive fencing and amazing barns (one has a chandelier in it) and yet they don't have run-ins or shade or a way to get out of the weather. Now *those* barns are designed for the owner's comfort, not their horse's.
                  LOL, well to be fair, those horses can rarely be found in the *elements* ... There is one farm I always hack past and just shake my head in disgust. Why is it the places that DO NOT TURNOUT always have the acreage to actually support extended turnout? Mysteries of the universe.
                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

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                  • #10
                    I have one horse that gallops for his shed the minute the first bug buzzes around him or when the first raindrop falls. I think he'd go nuts in a field that didn't have a shed. Of course he's also got fans in his shed...spoiled boy.

                    The mares go in their sheds at various times when they are turned out, sometimes there's one in there, sometimes 3 or 4. But they all seem to love their sheds.

                    Last winter and early spring during all the wet weather I put the round bales in the sheds and they really seemed to appreciate being able to have a nice dry spot to stand and munch their hay.

                    My sheds are varying sizes, one is 12x24, I have two that are 18x 20 and the overhang on the hay barn serves as a shelter in one pasture and that one is 12x50. They can also get on all sides of their sheds and on 3 sides of the hay barn to get out of the wind or stand in the shade, or sun, as they desire.

                    If I was looking for a place to board, I would cross off the list those places that didn't have shelters of some sort that could accomodate the number of horses in the field.
                    They don't have to be fancy, just safe and sturdy. At least something to keep the hot sun/cold rain off their backs.

                    Two of mine only have 2 sides, the north and west sides, as that is where our worst wind/rain seem to come from.
                    Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DMK View Post
                      LOL, well to be fair, those horses can rarely be found in the *elements* ... There is one farm I always hack past and just shake my head in disgust. Why is it the places that DO NOT TURNOUT always have the acreage to actually support extended turnout? Mysteries of the universe.
                      True, they are not out in blizzards, but they ARE out in the sun. One of these barns is across the street from my trainer's barn and we watched them deal with an elderly horse that collapsed in 85 degree heat and couldn't get up . . .

                      That's extreme, but I'd rather give the horse a choice as to his comfort and not think I know better than him how he's feeling.
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                      • #12
                        A must

                        I think they are used more in the summer than the winter. Our pasture is completely sheltered, but actually the lack of wind makes the bugs worse. My mare/foal pretty much live in the run-in right now to get out of the sun/bugs.

                        IMO--I would make it big enough to drive a skid/tractor into for poop removal.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                          IMO--I would make it big enough to drive a skid/tractor into for poop removal.


                          Ours is large enough to tie a round bale up in a back corner and it fits 3 horses. Gramps uses wooden pallets tied to the wall and around the front of the bales (2 sides) and they can be tightened and adjusted as the horses eat the bale size down.

                          And you can't beat the hay cost economy and the feed time labor savings, plus the benefits of the snack bar grazing vs colics.

                          Smaller sheds can be built on skids and be moveable. May also not be counted as a permanent improvement on the pp taxes also - why they are on skids in England.
                          Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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                          • #14
                            Depends on the horse. My old stallion would always be under a roof when it rained, looking smug. The mares, not so much, but sometimes they take advantage of the shade. I would definitely give them the option.
                            Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
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                            • #15
                              I have a barn with stalls that open into their paddocks and they have free access to their stalls, but I still wish I had a couple run ins in their paddocks. Why? With a southern exposure the stalls get hot in the summer even with fans. A run in with the afternoon sun blocked would be cooler in summer.

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                              • #16
                                My horses have trees in all their pastures, but they also use the 36 x 12 run-in shed in the middle field.

                                This time of year, I see them head for it just after daybreak. I think the flies get bothersome then. And often they'll go to it after breakfast (depending on how early breakfast is).

                                If if starts raining, they make a beeline for it. A couple of weeks ago, I didn't know it was starting to rain until I looked out the French doors and saw the horses running to the shed. They're such wusses.

                                In the winter, they'll take shelter in it from a north wind and sometimes I'll even see them on the other side when the wind is blowing from the south.

                                If I ever have to split them up into different pastures, I'll want to put up a run-in shed for whoever doesn't have access to the big one. But I also have four paddocks each with a 12 x 12 two-sided shed. And one of those opens to a small field.

                                When I still had my blind horse (he crossed the rainbow bridge last year at 30), he would make his way into it when the flies were pesky or when it was raining.

                                I doubt if you would regret putting one (or more) up.
                                Last edited by OlmosHeaven; Aug. 9, 2010, 07:53 PM. Reason: add winter info

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                                • #17
                                  why they DO use it when they do is a mystery to me. Raining buckets? They are out happily grazing. Perfectly nice mild day? They are standing in the run-in shed.
                                  This

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                                  • #18
                                    My guys refused to use their run in all winter--even with 2 feet of snow. I put their hay in the run in, led them over to it, and they all cantered right out. I actually saw one of mine use a run in for the first time the other day after owning him for 10 years. He was in a different paddock than normal with no trees, and it was 100 degrees.

                                    I agree, if there is no shade or natural cover, a run in is a necessity!
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                                    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by pony grandma View Post


                                      Ours is large enough to tie a round bale up in a back corner and it fits 3 horses. Gramps uses wooden pallets tied to the wall and around the front of the bales (2 sides) and they can be tightened and adjusted as the horses eat the bale size down.

                                      And you can't beat the hay cost economy and the feed time labor savings, plus the benefits of the snack bar grazing vs colics.

                                      Smaller sheds can be built on skids and be moveable. May also not be counted as a permanent improvement on the pp taxes also - why they are on skids in England.

                                      Great idea! Do you have any pictures of this? Thanks!
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                                      • #20
                                        Good shed

                                        A good shed is worth all my stalls. That said it needs to be deep and angled right and it needs to be the right size for the horses using it. It needs to be on raised ground so it can drain, it needs to be cleaned. I have seen horses not use a bad shed but if they have a good shed they use it all the time. They might not use it in the rain if it has a tin roof that makes a ton of noise but they will be in there because of bugs and wind and snow and hot heavy sun. PatO

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