Protect your horses with a three-sided shelter
Even if you live in a mild climate, your horses need shelter from the weather. Torrential rains, high winds, mud, or freeze/thaw conditions are all possible in a mild climate. Colder climates also bring ice, snow and sometimes blizzards. In addition to protecting horses from weather, a shelter has to be sturdy and safe enough to withstand the abuse it takes from the horses. If you have limited space and a limited budget, a three-sided shelter maybe the best choice.
Type of shelter
To determine the best three-sided design you’ll need to consider several things. What breed, size and type of horses will be living in the shelter? Different breeds vary in size; some are taller and larger then others. Although there are always exceptions, Arabians are generally smaller then draft horses, Quarter horses are shorter then Thoroughbreds and most ponies are under 14 hands. Some horses and ponies are more high maintenance, prefer to be in a barn and don’t like living outside. Other horses dislike ponies intensely. Some horses prefer to be outside all the time and are happier with more turnout, so a shelter may be perfect for them.
Location of shelter
Your three-sided shelter needs to be positioned on level, flat, high ground. Water should run away from the shed and not towards it, so horses won’t be stuck in standing water or flood waters. The back of the building should be north and west, since the winds are the strongest from this direction and the open part of the shelter can face south and east. The type of soil, drainage facilities, access to electricity, water, other utilities and accessibility also determine the choice of location.
The size of your shelter can partially be determined by the number of horses you have. If you have two horses, the ideal size of the barn would be 12 X 24 feet. A panel can be put in the middle to convert the barn into two stalls. If utilities and storage are located in a larger barn and the shelter is used for extra horses, or foals etc. the design can be smaller and simpler. The shelter will need to be larger to have utilities and storage for hay and feed. And the roof should be high enough so that a tall horse can walk in, and not hit the roof if it throws its head up.
Type of Flooring
Given the varying weather conditions and soil types, concrete may be the best flooring choice, but many people have a dirt floor. Rubber mats may also be put on top of the concrete for added warmth and padding.