Owning a horse can provide you with a companion that will help you exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. It's important that you provide adequate facilities for your horse if you want to keep them healthy.
An open pasture is great for giving your horse the ability to exercise on a daily basis, but a pasture is not enough to protect your horse against the elements. A horse shelter is a valuable addition to any horse property.
There are many design considerations that must be taken into account when constructing a horse shelter to ensure the shelter is safe and reliable.
1. Stall Design
Many horse shelters are equipped with individual stalls that provide multiple horses with their own private space. The design of these stalls is a critical element in the overall success of the horse shelter's design.
Each stall should be large enough to allow the horse to move comfortably. Make sure that your horse can lie down and roll within the stall as you consider stall size.
You will also want to pay close attention to the design of the walls in each stall. Walls should be high enough to prevent a horse from attempting to jump over them. High walls will also discourage fighting between neighboring horses.
Stall walls must extend all the way to the ground in order to prevent your horse from getting their leg caught underneath the wall while lying down.
2. Construction Materials
The materials that you use to construct a horse shelter can have a direct impact on the safety of the shelter over time.
Select materials that are sturdy enough to withstand equine activity. You don't want your horse to be able to kick or bite through the materials you have used to construct the shelter.
Avoid any materials that are porous since it can be difficult to keep these materials clean. Brick and concrete exteriors are preferable since these materials can easily be cleaned with a pressure washer to prevent the spread of any illness that might affect your horse over time.
3. Building Orientation
You should spend some time considering which direction you want your horse shelter to face. The orientation of the shelter is important, especially if you intend to have a partial enclosure.
The primary purpose of a horse shelter is to protect your animals from exposure to wind, rain, and extreme heat. To achieve this goal, your shelter must face away from the elements.
No openings should be placed on the windward side of the shelter. Keeping a solid surface on the windward side will prevent any moisture or blowing debris from finding their way into your horse shelter and putting the health and safety of your animals at risk.
4. Feeder Placement
Many horse shelters have no flooring materials. Natural ground tends to be easier on a horse's hooves than concrete, rubber mats, or other materials. While natural flooring can reduce costs and help you avoid hoof and leg problems, it can pose a problem during feeding time.
Placing hay directly on the ground can cause your horse to ingest dirt while eating. Dirt ingestion can lead to a number of medical problems, so you need to factor in feeder placement when designing your horse shelter.
Multiple feeders will be needed if you plan to house multiple horses within the same shelter. This will eliminate competition for resources that might cause horses to fight with one another.
Your feeders should be placed in an area that is easy for you to access, and all feeders should be built at ground level to maximize equine health.