Hey all, I'm about to move in with my granddad in Alabama and I'm taking at least one horse with me. My granddad owns 300 acres, so we will be able to cut our own hay and everything. I will have access to a 10 acre pasture for my horse's turnout and living needs. The pasture is great, but I'll need to set up something in terms of a run in shelter and a sacrifice area (my horse is an easy easy keeper and I just don't think it's plausible that he can have 24/7 access to the pasture without the risk of obesity and all of its associated problems).
This set up is not really intended to be my permanent arrangement. I just need something that will serve its purpose for the next 2-3 years. Therefore, I need to find the perfect intersection between safety/effectiveness, budget-friendliness, and quick set up time. So here are my questions:
1) How large should a run in shelter be for 3 horses? (It is more likely that I will only have 2 horses -- mine and a retiree companion, but I would prefer to build with just enough flexibility to be able to shelter one extra if needed.)
2) How large should my dry lot/sacrifice area be for 3 horses? Am I likely to need to put down gravel or something to prevent it from becoming a mud pit?
3) What should the flooring of my shelter consist of? I have considered putting down gravel and perhaps some sand on top... or would gravel with rubber mats on top be better?
4) Is it more economical to look into pre-built shelters or "kits"? Or more economical to hire someone to help build a shelter from scratch?
Actually, I probably have about 100 other "little" questions... but these are the main ones for now. I would really appreciate any input or advice that can be offered.