Equine Run-In Shed Upgrades

Need or want to update your horses' run-in sheds? Try these tips to plan for the best results.
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Animal Arts run-in shed winter

There are many plans out there for building your perfect run-in shed.

Sometimes necessity dictates it’s time to upgrade run-in sheds. If yours has fallen into disrepair, is broken or is just plain worn out, replacing or repairing the structure is important for your horse’s safety. Or, it might just be time for a facelift because you want to match the latest design trends, according to equine facility designer Lachlan Oldaker.

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Oldaker said the first step in approaching upgrades is inspecting the run-in thoroughly to assess how extensive the repairs will be. Can a few boards be replaced or a new roof put on and all is okay, or does it need to be taken down and replaced?

“The first priority in any assessment should be the safety of the horses, checking for broken items, loose or protruding nails, hooks or screws,” she said. “Those types of items should be addressed first before upgrading any aesthetic needs.”

Depending on your budget and your barn’s needs, Oldaker offered these ideas for upgrading the basic run-in shed:

  • Buy a front gate that folds against the side of the run-in. Gates allow for easily separating a horse from the herd or confining a horse when needed.
  • Install lights and electrical outlets to make working in the area after dark easier.
  • Put in a floor grid mat in and around the shed and bring in gravel screenings to cut down on mud in these high-traffic areas.
  • Add gutters and gravel drain beds with subsurface drainpipes and upgrade drainage swales to help direct water away from the sheds.

Budgets are always a factor. Establish the amount you’d like to spend before beginning any project. Oldaker recommended creating an upgrade wish list to help you gather costs for the upgrade and set priorities.

“Not everything needs or can be done in one pass, depending on budgets,” she said.

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