Comparing the Pros and Cons of Stables vs Run-In Sheds

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Comparing the Pros and Cons of Stables vs Run-In Sheds

If you intend to keep your horse at home, you must offer some type of shelter. This can be a stable or a run-in shed. If you maintain horses, you must have a secure, spacious shelter. If you have no shelter, you should have either spacious standing stalls or box stalls for your horses. Whether you choose a run-in type shelter or a stable with stalls, both types of housing have pros and disadvantages.

Advantages of Loose Housing, Loafing, and Run-In Sheds

  • Less labour for the proprietor. Sheds may require only periodic cleaning, which can be accomplished with a tractor.
  • The horses decide when they are stabled.
  • Better ventilation is consequently healthier for the lungs.
  • Less fire danger.
  • Can be constructed reasonably cheaply.
  • Can be purchased as kits requiring minimal assembly, with dimensions and engineering that comply with local building codes.
  • Some designs are moveable and may be moved due to weather, drainage, or to a different pasture to let the grass in one area to recover.
  • Costs of upkeep are relatively minimal.


  • There is no way to confine a horse that requires stall rest due to illness or injury.
  • Not as accurate in monitoring how much a horse consumes and how much dung it produces. (Horses should produce about eight piles of manure each day; anything less may indicate a problem.)
  • It may be necessary to separate horses if concentrates are fed.
  • The convenience of grooming and saddling is diminished.
  • A horse might not emerge from harsh weather when it should.
  • Depending on the direction of the wind, horses are still susceptible to draughts.
  • Dominant horses may prohibit lower-status horses from entering the shelter.

Stables and Shelters


  • Stall rest for horses is easily accommodated.
  • Grooming, saddling, training may be easier.
  • Complete protection against wind and weather.
  • Lower-status horses are not threatened by dominant herd members, and threatened horses can be relocated.
  • Horses may remain cleaner (e.g., when stabled prior to a show, they cannot roll in the dirt).
  • Monitoring feed consumption and manure generation is simplified.


  • Greater construction and maintenance expenses.
  • Stables require daily mucking.
  • Greater fire danger.
  • More dust, ammonia, and inadequate ventilation.
  • Stalls can facilitate boredom and vice development in horses.
  • Every day, horses must be exercised.


Providing the horse with a shed throughout most weather conditions and bringing it inside during extremely severe weather, such as extremely cold rain or wind, is sometimes the optimal combination. Your horse will likely be content if the weather is still and chilly, and unless there is heating or a large number of horses inside, your barn may not be significantly warmer than the outside temperature. You may discover that your shed is utilised more frequently during the summer, when horses seek shelter from the sun and insects. Some horses will never enter a barn during the winter, preferring to seek shelter from the wind among the trees. In a confined room, the sound of rain on the roof may be objectionable to some. Therefore, whether your horse is stabled or allowed out with a shed 24 hours a day, it still requires daily monitoring to preserve its comfort. ​

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