Horse Care

Horse Run In Sheds for Beginners (Cost, Size, etc.)

Horse run in shed 3 sides
Written by Natasha D.

Affordable, effective shelter for your horse

Proper shelter is one of your horse’s most basic needs other than food or water. This is easily achievable for horses who live in a stall or a barn. But what do you do when the horse is in a large run or pasture?

For approximately $4,000 (and up!), a run-in shed provides your horse shelter and protection from the natural elements outside. Because of its three-sided design, this shed will provide a safe haven from the winter and summer months and allow them the freedom to go in and out as they please.

Shelter Basics

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines shelter as “something that covers or affords protection.”

What kind of shelter is good for horses?

Horse shelters can come in all shapes and sizes. For example, with pipe corrals, shelters are most commonly made up of sheets of aluminum that create a roof over a portion of the stall.

In larger runs and pastures, these shelters become more of a three-sided building that has a roof and siding.

What is a horse run-in shed?

On the most basic level, a run-in shed is a three-sided building that provides shelter to your horse. Because it has a roof and walls, it protects from overhead elements and shields your horse from the wind.

When do horses need shelter?

All the time! In the winter, depending on your climate, this shelter will provide an area for your horses to be protected from the rain, wind, and snow.

In the summer, it will give them shade and much-needed relief from insects.

Run In Shed Logistics

The size and dimensions of your run-in shed will vary depending on the space it will occupy and the number of horses it will shelter.

How big should a run-in shed be for one horse?

Typically a run-in shed for one horse should be at least 12’x12’.

How big should a run-in shed be for two horses?

For two horses, a shed should be 24’x24’.

How much does a horse run-in shed cost?

This will vary based on materials, installation, and the manufacturer. If you plan on DIYing your shed, be sure to calculate material costs as well as labor.

The cost of most run-in sheds starts around $4,500 and goes up from there.

Horse run in shed 2 sides

Photo Cred: Canva

Run-In Shed Design

Designing a run-in shed is fairly simple. First, you must decide how large you’d like it, and if you prefer any additional features.

Key Design Features

Most run-in sheds are made of wood or metal. Besides having a roof and three walls, run-in sheds can also have a variety of other design features. The Shed Yard, a Colorado-based company that manufactures sheds, barns, and coops, has many such features.

Features include “kick boards to protect the walls, horizontal drip edges to discourage chewing, and a wood roof that is quieter during storms.”

Mistakes to Avoid

There are a few mistakes to avoid when planning your run-in shed design. First, make sure you pay attention to the orientation of your shelter.

Be sure to orient your shed so that it faces south. This ensures the shelter will block the heat in the summer while utilizing this same heat in winter months.

This orientation will also assist with blocking brutal winter winds. Second, build strong framing that is anchored to the ground. This can be achieved by sinking the corner posts of the shed into the ground to avoid any wind-blown accidents.

Horse run in shed with four sides

Photo Cred: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a loafing shed?

A loafing shed is another name for a run-in shelter. It is typically made up of a three-sided shed that is either in a pasture or arena. This covering allows the horse to get out of any undesirable weather conditions.

Q: Do horses use run-in sheds?

Absolutely! Most horses utilize their sheds during wet weather or hot, sweltering days. A shaded area is a great place for them to retreat from the sun and stay dry in the rain or snow.

Q: How much does a 12X24’ loafing shed cost?

Depending on the manufacturer, a 12×24’ loafing shed can start at around $4500–however this price can fluctuate drastically depending on lumber and steel markets, location, and other economic factors.

Q: Can you build a DIY run-in shed?

Of course! Run-in sheds are fairly easy to build. If you need a bit of help, there are various DIY kits available to choose from.

Parting Thoughts

It’s important to provide adequate shelter for our horses so that they can be protected from the earth’s natural elements. A run-in shed is the perfect choice for your horses to give them the benefits of a stall while still having the freedom of a pasture.

P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:

Love it? Share it!

About the author


Natasha D.

Natasha is a Certified equine massage therapist with experience showing in western pleasure, hunter under saddle, horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She now focuses on reining horses, but dabbles in dressage training when time allows.