Barn vs Run-Ins

Looking for some feedback for those who have their horses out 24/7. I keep telling myself I need a barn for feed, tack, grooming, etc. My horses are out 24/7 so their stalls will really only act as shelter. I’m trying to determine the most cost effective and functional set up, barn vs. run-in.

For those who have their horses out 24/7, do you feel you NEED an actual barn structure? I’m in the foothills of NC, so the weather is not extreme on either end.

My barn is set up with private paddocks off each stall. This allows me to separate the horses but not have to confine them totally. It makes it easier when one needs restricted turn out because of an injury or even when waiting for the vet or farrier.

Having an inside space to work with the horse when the vet or farrier is there is always a plus. You do not have to worry about scheduling around the weather or what you are going to do about light when you have the vet out for an evening emergency.

I am not sure this is the most cost affective set up but it works out well.
A large run in with one stall for medical containment would probably be more than enough.

It all depends on how much time you want to spend maintaining a barn. Horses are more than capable of living out 24/7.

I’m in North Alabama, so we might get snow once a year. Other than that our extremes are lots of rain and hot summers.

I have run in (shedrow) stalls. I think I have locked my horses in their stalls overnight once in the last year. And that was only because it was a steady rain for 24+ hours with temps in the mid 40s. I keep my tack in a small metal shed that connects to an overhang off an old time general store building, so it’s like having my own tack room. Hay and grain are kept inside the store which is nice because windows have screens and it’s got real doors, so we don’t have to worry about too many bugs or furry critters.

We want to build a real barn at some point, but that’s more than likely going to be 10+ years down the road. I know if I build it I will use it, and I’m not overly anxious to have stalls to bed and clean. Granted not having a real barn makes winters a little more labor intensive (having to plan for blankets, feeding in the rain, feeding after dark, no hot water wash rack, mud, etc) but since our winters are ‘mild’ in comparison to most I can deal with it for a few months.

ETA- all of my horses have their own stalls, so I separate them during feeding and for vet/farrier visits. They are just more like run in’s than real stalls.

I’m in Minnesota, so I do have weather extremes here. I moved my 3 horses home 1.5 years ago and they are out 24/7. My gelding hates being stalled (he’s a stallwalker) and the two mares prefer to be out, but don’t object to stalls.

Yes, I feel that I NEED a barn. We planned on putting the barn up last fall, but had some zoning delays, so now it won’t happen until this spring. Even though my horses will hardly ever use a stall - I want the option of having the stall. Last year we had the polar vortex and I would have had the horses stay in over night. This winter the weather has been better, so I wouldn’t have needed the stalls for cold weather reasons (knock on wood… so far!), but for various injuries and random things, I really wish the barn was already up. Having the vet out without an actual barn is a pain - not having electricity or appropriate space for floating, etc. One of my mares tail’s is disgusting (seriously, how hard is it to move it when you poop?!). If I had a barn, I could wash it and leave her in until it was dry.

I’m tired of having my tack/supplies in the house. I want those things in an actual barn, and not a closed off portion of the shelter.

Just my opinion, I know many people get by without a barn and are totally happy. I’m just not that person - I’m definitely pro barn.

Yes I need a barn. I have had my horses on my current farm since last November and still don’t have a proper barn. We are a building one now and I can not wait to have it done.

Why I need a barn:

  • separating horses for eating is really important, I am currently feeding three horses in the field and their eating requirements do not match their pecking order so it can be a little sketchy at times
  • my horses hurt themselves, have abscesses, whatever and I NEED a stall to be able to lock them in.
    -the courtesy of an out of the weather place for vet/farrier etc
  • ability to have dry legs for the farrier during mud season

There are many other situations where my barn less existence has given me problems but those are a few off the top of my head

If you could do a run-in/stall shed row style, I think that would be ideal. If crap never happens, probably a stall wasted. But a colic, injury etc. you are left with nowhere to confine. Also, what about ice. Do you want a place for them in case of ice storm, hurricane remnants (very bad storms) or any other type of weather?

My barn is set up with stalls that have attached covered paddocks that open directly into the pasture. Horses can come and go as they please; yet can be kept in when the weather is bad. I like having a center isle barn so the vet and farrier have an indoor place to work and like having a tack room and feed room in the barn. To save on costs you could do a shed row barn with a tack/feed room that also has a covered porch area for vet/farrier.

Do you have a dedicated space for hay, feed, tack? A place to confine a horse for veterinary treatment or injury? A lighted, safe place for said treatment? A place to quarantine an animal?

I need a barn. Our climate dictates it, but I also like being able to separate my horses for feeding, care, rest and drying out. I have retired show horses who simply are not totally comfortable outside 24/7, so I need stalls for those guys.

My horse, donkey and mini donkey are outside 24x7. They have a deep run in. I am in SE SD, so very similar to MN and IA, which are a stone’s throw away.

I ran electricity and water to my drylot (where the shelter is). My farm light is also over the drylot. I can add additional light easily, or use the garage (mat it) for the vet.

The other big factor is my shelter belt, assuming a north or west wind is about 100 feet deep and mature. It has been awesome. Except on the random south wind days.

I need another run-in stall for layups and I am planning on building a tack room in-between (so connecting the three). However, that won’t happen next summer. Next summer I am building a tie-stall/wash rack, doing more fencing and my manure bins. :slight_smile: I think I will board my riding horse next winter and keep her in training, but this type of cart helps:

Instead of a barn, I want to build a machine/toy shed, but would allow an area for vet work, etc. Then add onto my house garage with insulation and heated water out there. This is better resale in my area.

Of course I would love a barn. But I’m doing a lot less chores than my barn-friends. I also only have one, young horse who has always lived outside and isn’t in training, clipped or even blanketed.

I would hate to be without some kind of a barn for colic/injury/vet, etc.

My horses live out 24/7 and have just a run in shelter. It was originally 12x24. When I bought a 3rd horse we added on. The new section is a 12x12 area that is a “stall” and a 10x12 area that is the feed/tack room. The stall has an open front with gates that swing in against the walls when I don’t need a horse confined. I do use the stall daily for feeding. The feed/tack room is fully enclosed and has lights. I would like to add an overhang to the structure. We also have a machine shop that can be used for vet work if necessary.

I have seen run in sheds that have an attached feed/tack room and can have just one “stall” or more depending on the length of the building. You can divide into stalls by putting metal gates between the stalls and across the front if you need to keep a horse in. Here are a few websites to check out Horizon Structures, Alan’s factory outlet, Capitol Sheds.

Yes. “I” need a barn, despite all my horses live outside 24/7, and have access to run-ins. I need a grooming stall with hot/cold water to bath horses before shows/clinics. I need a tack room next to the grooming stall so I don’t have to carry my saddle/bridle back and forth the house. It also turns out very handy when trimmers/farriers obstinately have appointments in downpour (ever notice that they seem to always happen in the worst of weather?) And at the few times when we had sick horses, the stalls turned out to be invaluable.

Looking for some feedback for those who have their horses out 24/7. I keep telling myself I need a barn for feed, tack, grooming, etc. My horses are out 24/7 so their stalls will really only act as shelter. I’m trying to determine the most cost effective and functional set up, barn vs. run-in.

For those who have their horses out 24/7, do you feel you NEED an actual barn structure? I’m in the foothills of NC, so the weather is not extreme on either end.[/QUOTE]
I do think everyone needs an area for feed, hay , tools and tack. I have seen some efficient ones that were enclosed on one side but the other side was as simple as coral panels for stall paddock that a good portion was under a large overhang. It’s all in what you can afford.

I can only speak for me, but regarding severe injury–I would just have my horse stay at the vet’s. If they have room it’s really not horrible $$ wise. I also have a boarding barn 10 miles south that would take her and charge accordingly for temporary stay. They offer that as a service and I have boarded there before–very knowledgeable horse people.

These are all things to figure out before you bring horses home, imo. :slight_smile:

I do have a hay barn.

This is what I have. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada. Two run in with a tack/feed room on the end. Each run in is 10x10 and the tack/feed room is 6x10. I have power to the barn with lights in each stall and tack room.

Here are some photos. The red run in is what we started with and you can see what we added on.
You can see the door to the tack/feed room inside the run in.

More info: The cost to add on the extra 10x16 when all said and done was about $700.00. I will try and get a photo today of it all done.

Here is a photo of a nice run-in with tackroom and feedroom.

I have a 32 x 40, five stall hip-roof barn. Combination tack/feedroom. Hay storage is in the mow. The upper doors are large enough to have round bales put up. Load them from the front, and roll out the back for our own tractor to move where we want. My horses live out 24/7, with access to the barn if they want in. Stalls are great, as I can bring them all in for feeding, and not have to worry about the piggy ones getting into the senior horses extra feed.

Totally depends on what you want. I used to have a “barn” that was more of a run-in (no center aisle) with a separate hay barn that I kept grain in trash cans. Taking care of horses in the winter and in thunderstorms was not a lot of fun.

Now I have a really nice 6 stall barn with an indoor wash rack with hot water and separate feed/tack room that has a tile floor and finished walls. (I also have an apartment that no one lives in but nice to have that bathroom and washer/dryer.) 4 of the stalls have runs off them that open up into the pastures. 2 of the stalls are “inside stalls” that have windows that can be closed.

It is SO much nicer to be INSIDE doing my chores during bad weather. If it is cold with a stiff north wind, I can shut the doors and feed and clean stalls without absolutely freezing. If it is pouring outside, I am inside the barn and dry while I need and clean stalls. In the winter, I hook up a hose to the wash rack and can easily fill buckets with warm water to encourage the horses to drink. In the summer, my horse that doesn’t sweat well can stay in one of the inside stalls under fans during the day.

Now, did the horses and I survive the many years with more of a “run-in” set up - sure. Would I go back to that - NO! But, at the time we built the other place, I couldn’t afford to build the barn I have now. And it took a bit for me to spend the money to build my current barn. But, I have not regretted it for a minute - I love it!

Thank you all so much for you input. The main thing I like about the run-in style is the openness of it, as opposed to a small stall door. I would set up a small corral around each “stall” so they could be fed separately or contained if necessary.

I would be running water, electric and hot water to any structure and I would have some kind of covered wash rack.

Geez! Decisions, decisions.