Help with reconfiguring run-in sheds? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 04-10-2019, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Help with reconfiguring run-in sheds?

I've learned so much after having the horses at home nearly a year! One lesson learned is that the way I had the sheds placed is not really working for the horses. Here is how they are currently set up:

The single shed never- NEVER- gets used. Since the horses are turned out 24/7, I originally put it off on its own as I thought that if I needed a separate "stall" type area, e.g., for a sick or injured horse, I could easily separate it from the rest of the sacrifice paddock with temporary fencing and/or a gate across the front. (I do have a barn, but it's a 1/4 mile walk down the road from the main turnout pasture, and in the winter, it can be an anxious, icy walk.) OK-so, that was my rationale, but practically speaking, it means the two more dominant horses stand in the main 2-stall shed, and the submissive girl just stands outside the 2-stall shed through all kinds of snow and nasty weather. This single shelter is never used.

Except this one time

Another lesson learned during the very wet fall and now slow melting spring is that we need to improve the footing dramatically, in both the sacrifice area and the sheds themselves. Sadly, all that nice grass in the summer pictures is long gone and this has become the sacrifice area. So, while we're investing in having pros with equipment back there digging up mud and leveling things out, I'd like to have the single shed dragged to a new location where it will get used. That's where I'd love your advice! Would you:
1. Drag it back to the double shed and tack it onto the end (the right side of the picture)
2. Drag it back and put it perpendicular to the double shed and create an L?
3. Drag it back but keep it somewhat separate?
4. Something else I'm not thinking of?

Because of the way the rain/wind/snow moves across that field, I don't think it's an option to drag the single shed back and turn the opening around facing the double shed, it will be inhospitable in there on stormy days as the weather will just blow right in.
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-10-2019, 01:09 PM
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I would place the single shed at a angle near the larger shed.
Closer in proximity that the segregated horse still feels part of the herd but also to use that single shed as a protection of the elements if he decides not to go under-cover but stay closer...
The end walls unless you remove them are going to keep making it a straight line not work to me...segregation, alone is what the horse is trying to not have.

Try to keep the breeze so there is air movement but not directly into the sheds as that then also puts the weather nasties inside where you wish the horses to have shelter abound.
You may need to sink a fence post and actually build a short wall fence so the horses not try to fit through a space not quite intended for their passage.

Closed backs facing northward, possibly angled again so the cold of arctic winds is reduced and offers that wind break for the horses...
Exactly how to place them and where is something only you can fully determine depending upon the lay of your land and other sheltering things such as trees, hills and gulleys.
Placing of structures to be positive through the changing seasons is a science...
Curious to see what you decide to finally do...please share when you complete your project.
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-10-2019, 01:22 PM
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We have our buildings set up as a shed row and really like it like that. In case you would ever need to separate a sick horse you could use electric step in fencing and create a run in front of the single building and separate it away from the double building but the horses could be near each other. So I would tack the single building on the end and not put it at an angle because at an angle if one horse stands in front of the double shed it prevents access to 2 sheds at one time and I would not leave a gap between the building as that is just inviting someone to get squeezed in the gap.

We have done this for a portable cattle shed - laid a really big foundation of large gravel with railroad ties around the perimeter (so gravel does not spread and had Ag lime put on top of the gravel - the cows had to step into the 3 sided shelter (not a big step) but it kept the floor from flooding. For us that building lasted a few years until the cows demolished it by rubbing on it, licking it etc. Cows are terrible!
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post #4 of 16 Old 04-10-2019, 01:49 PM
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1. Drag it back to the double shed and tack it onto the end (the right side of the picture)
That could work very well for you and like Carshon says, you could use step in hot wire to separate it, should the need ever arise.

2. Drag it back and put it perpendicular to the double shed and create an L?
How is the double one situated now? Back to the North? And are your prevailing storm winds from that same direction? If so, I wouldn't think the L configuration would work very well, unless you also get storms from the West and can put the single one with it's back to the West and attach the corners to stop the North wind with the double.

3. Drag it back but keep it somewhat separate?
Separate is what's not working now, for horses it doesn't seem to matter, 5 ft or 50, separate is BAD and gets you eaten. In fact, if you do drag it back and attach it to the double, I'd see about opening the ends that butt up to each other so that there's no more than a 1/2 wall between them.

4. Something else I'm not thinking of?
I'd put some road fines in and around both sheds to keep out the mud and goop, put mats down inside over the rock and let it be. Very low maintenance.
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post #5 of 16 Old 04-10-2019, 04:45 PM
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I'd put it at an angle to the other. They still may not use it, but you'll have to see. Space it back far enough one horse can't guard both, and put a fence between them if there isn't room for the horses to pass easily between. Two sheds together like that offer a lot of different options for wind protection, even if they stand on the back side of the shed(s). Buildings placed together also allow winds to swirl which could be bad (winter) or good (summer fly protection). We couldn't figure out why our horses stood out in one spot near the silo until we went out there on a hot day... the breeze swirling around the silo and against the barn made a windier spot that kept the flies off nicely as long as they stayed in that one 10' area or so.

With three horses, they're likely to all stay together even if it means one is left out in the weather. Four horses and they are more likely to 'pair off'

If nobody will use that shed, it might make more sense to turn it into a feed/tack room or dog kennel or chicken house or what have you.
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-10-2019, 06:54 PM
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I wonder if the single shed will get used even if you place it right next to the bigger one. I feel like the odd one out will still stand outside the big shed near his friends. But I'd try it just to see if it makes a difference, and if not, I'd turn it into something else as @SilverMaple says.

My three share an open double stall with two openings, but on really cold, miserable nights, I will put Harley in the third stall to make sure the other two are under cover for the night. I have seen Kodak stand outside in the rain and snow, especially when there is food in the big stall so while they usually share, I like the option of separating Harley when I need to so I can be sure that no one will be forced out.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-10-2019, 11:12 PM
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I would go with option 1.
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-11-2019, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the feedback and things to think about.

This morning when I was feeding I was trying to imagine where scaredy cat would eat in the "shedrow" setup. Currently: "second in command" is in the left of the double, scaredy cat is in the right of the double, and Bossypants gets almost no "grain" (ration balancer) and finishes really fast, so she currently gets fed off on her own in front of the single shed. Scaredycat is easily pushed off her food and I think she might be anxious in the middle, so she'd likely go in the new end space. I'm not sure where I would put Bossypants in the shedrow setup, I guess maybe in the middle; I'd probably need at least a rope/stallguard over the front of her stall so she didn't eat and then leave the stall to start harassing everyone else. But then she could reach over the partition and harass the one on her left, so that might not work. Hmmm....I do still have to babysit them in the current setup to make sure she doesn't finish and come run the others off, so continuing to have to monitor them eating wouldn't be much of a problem since I'm already supervising.

The excavator guy is coming out tonight to walk the field. It's covered in snow and frozen this morning, so he can't start until things melt more, but we're hoping to get on his list for early this spring (whenever that is )
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-11-2019, 10:25 AM
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I would put them together, either in a row or with one on the right angle. You could then put some sort of hard standing in front of the shelters so they don't end up with a knee deep bog to go through
You should bear in mind though, some horses will never go in a shelter when they share the area with other horses.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-11-2019, 10:26 AM
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If you need to be there keeping peace at feeding time with your current set-up, still going to need to do this with any future setup unless you fence or segregate the underlings and they not then reign supreme over each other.
A long gate that you can close that single wide with swung open or closed keeps bossy-pants in till others are done, then she is let out...
No matter how you place them together the issue is still a issue for someone...

If the guy who is coming to look over the land is a pro ....
He may have other ideas that would work better and easier than what you are thinking...
Ask him/her...
Grading land is something they do, they see and they can imagine things we have yet not explored...and can present pro and con to each you ask his opinion of I bet...
Good luck and let us know what he has for suggestions...might be something totally un-thought of, unexplored and so much easier a solution.
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