A 12’x18’ run-in shed is usually adequate for 3 average sized horses (about 15 hands) that will share their space without fighting. However, as any horse owner knows, horses have a definite “pecking order” with some members of the herd being more dominant than others. It is not uncommon to see a pasture with one horse enjoying the shelter of the shed while its herd mates all shiver outside in the rain! So here are a few suggestions:
1. Always buy “wider” as opposed to “deeper”. This will make it more difficult for the dominant horse to block the entrance and easier for the other horses to get inside.
2. It is better to buy several smaller sheds and spread them throughout your pasture than one larger, longer shed. If you do have a dominant horse, this will prevent it from “guarding” the single building and keeping the other horses out.
3. Avoid feeding your horses inside the shed. Some horses get very territorial when it comes to their food. It is best if your horses do not learn to associate the shed with feeding time.
4. Always face the open side away from prevailing winds and place the structure on a level, slightly elevated spot to keep the inside as dry as possible.
You may find, after going to the trouble of setting up a run-in shed for your horses that they don’t appear to be using it! Horses are generally very well adapted to withstand cold temperatures and don’t seem to mind rain or snow. However, it is very important that your horse has shelter from driving winds and hail as well as a shaded place to go on a hot summer day.