Turning a run-in shelter into stalls? Is this a good idea?
Okay, well I'm really not sure if this is the right place to post this, but this section seems to get a lot of attention, so I thought I would give it a try. I am seriously considering turning our run in shelter into two stalls, and need some advice from older and wiser minds.
I keep my two mares on my own property. They have a run in shelter that is 12 feet by 20 feet. My dad designed and built it, so we know exactly where all of the braces are, etc. and could easily divide it in half.
My question is, should we divide the shelter into two stalls? One of my mares is an ex-broodmare, so I'd assume that she was kept in a stall while she was foaling. The previous owner of my other mare seemed to imply that she had kept her in a stall for awhile. The thing is, these stalls would not have aisles- the horses would be able to look out and kind of see what is going on in their paddock.
The reason that we are considering doing this is for their safety, and for our peace of mind. The last couple of days and nights have been great weather wise, but really windy, so they were spooky. Last night I had to run outside 4 or 5 times to calm them down. At one point, they were running laps. I finally fell asleep around 1:30 am, as I had been laying awake worrying. But if I were to stall them when it's windy (and they are prone to being spooky) would they be more or less scared?
I would also probably stall them when it gets extremely hot- there is a fan inside the shelter on one side, and I have another, just need to put it up. Or when it is pouring, and one (or both) of them are standing there getting soaked.
I know that this would settle my highly-strung nerves, but I am afraid that one of them could be hurt if startled.
How high should the divide between stalls be? Door type (should they be able to stick their heads over it or should there be bars)? How would I acclimate them to being closed up? Have any of you tried this?
Wow. Thank you for getting through this very, very long (and kind of rambling) post! I really appreciate it!!
All horses are different - first thing to remember in these sort of discussions
My own horses settle much better when they're in - I would have exactly the same trouble as you if they were out in windy weather and in the past I've had the one run through fences or jump them when she gets wound up.
To be honest my horses aren't the 'outdoorsy type' at all. They hate the rain, the heat, the flies, the cold..........I give them a choice and they are in as fast as they can get through the door
If they get on then probably a partition where they can see each other would be best - you can get grilles made to fill the gap if you don't want them socializing over it
I find that a lot of horses settle better in individual stalls than in a run in shelter where they seem to worry about getting trapped even by their buddies
That's what I'm TERRIFIED of is one of them going through a fence- one already mangled a metal gate- she had so much hot pink wraps on her (over her wounds) you could see her in the dark!
Everything you said makes perfect sense. Of my first two horses, one of them is still with us, and when we acclimated her and her sister to the run in shelter, it was sleeting, and we put some really nice, alfalfa-heavy hay right in the doorway, and then deep inside. When I left for school (I'd stayed home for two hours to help finish it up for them :-)) they were starting to creep inside. When I got home, my mom told me that she hadn't seen them all day, except for two red noses. So, they loved it.
I think that they've both been mainly outdoors for most of their lives, but they do seem to appreciate having shelter.
I'm just throwing this out - is it possible to set up some portable corral panels such that they are open during the day but swung shut during the night to keep your horses enclosed? If your shed is 12 x 20, I assume that you would need a 12 ft panel in the centre to divide it in half and two 10 ft panels (to be swung wide open during the day) to act as gates to close them in over night.
I'm not quite sure why you feel the need for stalls, unless there's something I've missed -I have 2 mares and a 14x14, 3 1/2 walled slant roof run in shed - there's just the 7' opening in the front. I have a gate which remains clipped to the inside wall (in case of emergency or illness...) We get some blow your mind, narly weather here in N MI, (mass blizzards/3' snows!) and I've observed that when my horses feel the need to go in, they just simply do! Sometimes when it's windy out, they'll gallop around the pasture for a bit, then go inside at will. It's spacious enough for the 2 of them to move around, and I have a hay rack attached to one wall, 2 different salt licks on another, and insulation on the metal roof. They love standing in there side by side with their heads peeking out, and it's a quiet, cozy haven - I love chilling out during rain/snow storms with them :)
Chevaux- that's a great idea, we've got some panels from a round pen. However, that is what the one horse slid into and bent, but I know that there are different densities in the metals, supports, etc., and the one that she broke is (I'm pretty sure) not the strongest available. The gate we have up now is the reinforced one. My only concern would be that they would paw at the metal panels that keep them in and separate the stalls- and my saddlebred can REALLY stretch her front legs- we had to put would on the lower 3 feet of one gate since she kept getting her feet stuck in it from pawing. (we have worked on teaching her to stop, but mares are bratty :-))
Northernstar- It isn't really for them, I suppose, since they're "hardy" and fine in the elements. I guess that it is more for my comfort- I get very worked up when they are spooky or standing out in a storm. And I do what you do all the time- it's great to just hand out with them!:D
I built 3 stalls into my run in shed and have room for 1 more mini sized if needed. They are built to be more open/airy and have dutch doors. Here are some pictures:
They have wire mesh (square type) where the windows are :)
I am confused. You say that your dad built this shelter, but now you want to treat it like a barn. GOOD idea. Why don't build around it and create a small barn? I live in IL and I know about swampy winters. When I have my horses stalled the LAST thing I want to do is haul feed everyday to their stalls. I have a big barn and I drop down the hay, and retrieve grain from the closed door grain room. With 2 horses you don't need gobs of storage, just enough so that it isn't an everyday haul. You get a LOT more snow than me. After 28 years of hauling something every winter day, I want my hay, grain and bedding stored in the summer for the next winter.
We have gates in our lean-tos so we can make stalls during feeding time but the rest of the time they are back open against the wall and the horses have the freedom to come and go.
My little hot-house flowers, that beg for any opportunity to be sprayed with the hose, high tail it to the barn the second any rain drops start coming down. LOL
I like Corporals idea. We extended the back of our barn very easily for not a lot of money - bought the timber and my son & DH did all the work
Having everything under one roof is so good especially in the winters here.
You might be able to keep the run in shed for when they just want to hang out in it and have stalls they can be shut in when you need as well.
In the UK we tend to do most stuff with our horses in a stable - grooming etc so its what I'm used too and I'd struggle to manage without one
The corral idea is good too but if you get a lot of wet weather it could get very muddy and churned up with 2 horses shut on it - maybe use gravel to create a hard standing?
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