- 2-inch thick plywood or 2-inch-by-4-inch lumber pieces
- 4-inch-by-4-inch posts or recycled telephone poles, 12 to 14 feet in length
- Aluminum siding
- Roofing nails
- Post-hole digger or post-hole auger
Horses are animals that amaze us with their beauty, grace, stamina and speed. Owning horses is the dream of many, but the reality of only a few. One of the reasons for this is the sheer cost of the upkeep and maintenance of these animals. People who own horses will tell you that the purchase of the horse is the least expensive part of the process. It is the care, sheltering and feeding that make owning horses such a challenge. Surprisingly enough, horses are not as fragile as many believe. They actually need very little in the way of shelter to be comfortable. A simple run-in shed that protects them on four sides and above is perfectly acceptable as a substitute for a barn.
Building a run-in shed
Choose your building site. It needs to be the highest, driest place on your lot, and it is imperative you pick this spot well. If you build in a wet spot, your shed will not last.
Build a "pad" by spreading sand on the building site to a depth of 18 to 24 inches. This raises the site even higher, which help to drain urine as well as rainwater from the inside of the shed.
Determine the dimensions of your building and mark the corners. Use a post-hole digger or rent an auger to dig to a depth of at least 24 inches. Place the 4-inch-by-4-inch corner posts into the holes, then pour concrete into the holes. Allow to set for 48 hours or more. These corner posts must be 4-by-4s or larger to support the weight of the frame and the roof. Recycled telephone poles also make great corner posts. You can make the shed any size you like, but place a 4-by-4 brace post every 12 feet for stability.
Create a frame for your shed with the 4-by-4 posts as your corners and the 2-by-4s at the bottom of each wall, a horizontal 2-by-4 in the middle of each wall except the entry wall and a 2-by-4 at the top of each wall. This is the box on which you will build the rest of your structure. Include the brace posts if necessary, which will provide stability in high winds and limit damage from the animals themselves.
Fill in the walls of your frame with 2-foot-by-4-foot pieces of plywood or aluminum siding. From the ground to a minimum height of 4 feet up, the shed must be solid lumber or 2-inch-thick plywood to prevent damage from the horses. The shed must also be roofed. Metal roofing is the most economical and lasts longer than wood or shingles. If you choose wood rather than metal, you will need to coat it with a tough all-weather paint to prevent rotting.
TIPS AND WARNINGS
- TIP : Take the time to do each step thoroughly and with the best materials you can afford. If you do the best job possible at the beginning, you will save endless hours of maintenance down the road.
- WARNING : Always use precautions when using power tools. Follow instructions and use the safety equipment the manufacturer suggests.