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Shelter from the storm: Build a run-in shed to provide shelter for your horses

by Adam Quillon and Linda Layne, Article donated by the mane points horse resource center.

Fall is the perfect time to start that run-in shed project for your horses. So often the need is not realized until after the bad weather has already arrived and by then building sites are covered with snow or mud and delivery of building materials to the site is further complicated. If you've ever tried to tackle any maintenance or construction during the winter months, you'll easily recognize that an early start on this type of project is not only necessary for you but also for your horses that are anxiously waiting for a warm, dry place to seek shelter from the storm.

The following material list and instruction guide has been prepared to construct a 24' x 24' x 12' post-frame run-in shed. The structure is a 3-sided building with open front. You may customize this building to include windows, a stall or even use it for farm equipment. It's a very popular and versatile 2-man building project that takes only about 5 days to complete. The cost for materials may vary depending on your location but generally you can estimate about $2,000 for materials and add whatever labor costs you normally incur.

Before beginning this project...
As with all complex projects, there are tricks to the trade. If this is your first attempt at building a complete structure or a post-frame structure, consult with a post-frame building professional before beginning this project to achieve successful results.

The material list and instruction guide is based on building environments on the East Coast. For areas west, where snow loads and wind gusts are stronger, other engineering factors may need to be considered. For this particular project, post holes are approximately 3-feet deep. Areas west of Mississippi may require post hole depths of 5-feet, thus requiring additional concrete mix as well.

Site selection is very important for three-sided buildings. Obviously, with an open front, you want to shield the horses from the elements, especially those cold arctic winds. Consider the prevailing winds and position the building's opening away from the wind. Whenever possible, utilize existing wind breaks, such as trees and other buildings. Also, consider a site where in the deep of winter you can easily access your building by food or by vehicle. Convenience to water hydrants is a plus. In one case recently, a horse was down and the veterinarian was unable to back up to the front of the shed with his trailer because the owners had positioned the opening of the building next to a steep embankment leading to a pond.

Construction should begin on a level, elevated site. If the site is out of level, additional post length and skirt board may be necessary to compensate for grade. If site is severely out of level, have grade leveled by a qualified excavator. The money spent will be saved in the long run. An elevated site will allow water to flow away from the building, thus extending the life of the structure.

Read the next horse barns article on Dangers of Barn Dust.
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