Traditionally a lean to horse shelter is composed of three standing walls covered by a sloping roof. The fourth wall being left open to allow free access for the horses to go in and out of the shelter. Often this type of building is also referred to as a horse run-in, or loafing shed. This is a very easy and affordable way to provide protection for your horses.
The most obvious benefits of this type of horse shed are, protection from the weather and elements. In the cold winter weather the walls and roof protect your animals from strong wind, snow, rain, and sleet. In the warmer summer months it provides protection from the harsh sun, as well as becoming a shady cool spot that will give relief from the hot temperatures.
Other protection benefits a lean to shed will offer compared to a normal horse barn. They offer better ventilation due to the fourth side being an open wall, thus providing better air flow. This greatly reduces bacteria, mold, and dust buildup that can typically happen in an enclosed stall or conventional barn. A properly maintained in good condition horse shed will provide a safe and healthier environment for your animals.
Overall a run-in shed helps protect your animals in many ways including protection from insects and flies the prefer the sun over the cool shady areas. The freedom of having the open wall allows horses to enter and exit at will. This can be particularly helpful when trying to escape a dominant horse or biting insects.
To offer your horses the best protection and benefit possible from a lean to, there are some points to consider during the set up of the shelters. Three very important and major points to pay attention to are:
1. Drainage. The area in and around the building is going to have a lot of hoof traffic. If it is situated in a low or flat area, it will quickly churned into a muddy mess during wet rainy times of year. Look for a high piece of ground, or some place where there is a slope for drainage. Remember that the slope of the roof determines which direction the water will run off.
2. Wind. Determine which direction the prevailing wind blows from, especially during the cold winter months. The open side of your lean to should face away from the wind to supply the best protection for your animals. While we are on the subject of wind, be careful to keep everything away from trees and power lines that could blow down in a strong wind storm.
3. Sun. If at all possible your lean to horse shelter should be situated in the pasture where it will have the morning sun, and still provide the most shade during the hot summer afternoons. A well situated building is sometimes the biggest source of shade in a horse pasture.
All things considered a lean too is a wise investment for providing comfort and safety to your livestock.
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