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If you are considering getting horses or moving your horses to be housed on your own property, you are more than likely thinking through your options and whether you should go with a large barn and horse stalls or a run in horse shed.

Here are some things to consider about both types of horse housing:

Building a Barn with Horse StallsShould I Build a Barn with Stalls or a Run In Horse Shed?


Regulate Feeding More Easily: One of the best advantages to keeping horses in a stall is it is much easier to feed them on a schedule and regulate what they are eating. Periodically a horse may need to be monitored on what they are eating and any supplements to help with certain medical conditions. A horse stall more easily allows you to give them a special diet and be sure they ate it.

More Beneficial for a Sick Horse: Every living creature has a health concern at some point in their lifetime and horses are not immune. Having a stall is a convenient way to separate a sick horse from other horses or give them a safe place for comfortable recovery. It is also easier for a vet to give them a check-up in a stall.

Convenient Storage: Barns are much larger than run in sheds and as such can be built to house everything you need in the same space including feed, tack, and cleaning equipment.


Need for More Frequent Cleaning and Attention: Stalls are going to need to be “mucked” and all barn floors will need to be cleaned daily. Horses are large animals, they eat a lot which turns into them going to the bathroom a lot. When horses are kept inside the stalls for even just a few hours they will poo and pee in their own stall. To keep horses healthy and the stink to a minimum (because there will always be some stink), the barn needs to be cleaned frequently. Stalls should be cleaned out about two or three times a day and all other floors at least once a day. Horses that hang out in stalls will need to be bathed more often as well because they tend to stomp through or sometimes lay in the pee and poo in the stalls.

Higher Health Risks: Horses need to be out and running in fields for several hours a day. If you have a barn they will need to be let out of their stalls every day for fresh air to get a break from hay and waste fumes as well as to stretch their legs and not risk boredom. Horses left in stalls too long run a risk of catching what other horses in the barn have, contracting respiratory illness, not getting enough exercise, and behavior problems from lack of activity and being alone.

Risk if Fire Occurs: A barn can be more dangerous for a horse during a fire because they are locked in and rely on someone to come and free them putting the horse and the person needing to rescue it in more danger.

Building a Run-in Shed


Free to Roam: With a run in shed a horse is free to go in and out as they please. The benefits of allowing a horse the freedom to roam include more exercise, less babysitting on your part, and a happier horse that gets to decide when they want to be inside or running and exercising.

Not as Much Upkeep: run in sheds are a bit less hands on in terms of upkeep. Since the horse is in and out more there is less to muck out and keep clean. Instead of multiple daily cleanings, run in sheds only need to be cleaned a few times a week. The only daily check-up is for fresh food and water.

Cost Efficient: Horse sheds cost a fraction of the price of a barn with stalls. In fact, more than one can be purchased to set out in separate pastures while still saving money. If you decide you want to move them to a different location or get rid of it for any reason it is very easy to relocate or move out.


Harsh Weather: During times of very cold or stormy weather a horse stall is going to provide more protection from the elements like wind, rain, and snow.

Separating Horses can be Harder: Horses love to hang out together but sometimes they need to be separated. If they get sick for some reason or are just are not getting along with their pasture mates, containing them to a stall helps.

So the answer to building a barn or a shed is it depends upon your preferred care style and budget. If you don’t mind being very hands on and have the extra time in your day maybe a barn is what you would like. If you would prefer more ease in your daily routine a shed may be the way to go.

Did you know that Aurora Quality Buildings can build a custom shed specific to fit your needs? Do you need a horse shed built? Contact us today and let us know about your need for a custom shed plan. We build custom quality sheds in Marysville, Wa.

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