Horse barns are not necessary for many horses, even in winter.
A well planned run-in may be all he needs to stay happy and comfortable. Yes, even in winter!
Just because we like to live in houses, doesn't mean horses like it too. As a matter of fact, if you could ask your horse his preference he would probably tell you that he would stay out of the barn all the time, if he could.
As long as he has a place that is out of the wind, rain and snow, horses love to have the freedom to move around.
Due to the amount of dust in a horse barn (from hay, straw, shavings etc), a horse with respiratory problems can breath easier outside.
Many vices stem from long hours spent in the barn.
Weaving, wind-sucking, stall walking, pawing are a few of the undesirable behaviors some horse can develop.
A horse kept outdoors is more relaxed and less likely to develop bad habits.
Feet, legs and lungs are healthier with the ability to move around freely.
Not All Horses Know Enough to Get Out of The Rain
It's true, horses are not very bright in some ways. I see my horse standing there getting soaked when she has a perfectly good shelter right behind her.
But you can entice your horse to use a shelter: Here is how:
Put a little hay in the corner. I like to put straw in an area away from the elements so that she can lie down and sleep for those short hours of REM sleep.
Finding the Right Spot for the Run in Shelter
Study the area where you will put your horse. Make sure that the spot chosen has good drainage, and some natural windbreaks. It is a good idea for the ground to slope away from the run-in. Be sure that it is not too sloped. You want the horse to stand on level ground.
the longest wall of your run-in should face the direction from where the coldest winds and rain come from.
Probably the North or northwest side.
The size of the run-in depends on how many horses you have.
According to experts each horse needs to have about 100 square feet of space. that is about a 10 x 10 stall. That is the minimum . Make sure that it is high enough and that they can comfortably lie down without touching the sides.
Clean the Run-in Frequently
Clean it as frequently as you would stalls in horse barns.
Make the doorway big enough. A horse will not go into a small run-in shelter because he feels vulnerable. Make sure it is big enough to be comfortable.
Run-in Building Tips
An eves trough across the entrance to prevent ice build up.
Make sure the roof and wall are secure. No flapping metal. A Loud noisy shelter will not convince them to enter it.
Make sure there are no sharp edges, nail heads, etc..
If you want to put lighting in the shelter, then put it as the highest point and put a safety wire cage over it.
Make the roof sloping to prevent water and snow build up.
The shelter needs to be at least 10 x 10 ft.
Do not put a door on the shelter, A horse will panic if it feels that it is locked in and may injure himself trying to escape.
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