If you are keeping your horse at home you will need to provide some sort of shelter. This could be in the form of a stable or a run-in shed. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of housing.
Loose Housing, Loafing or Run-In Sheds - Advantages
- Less work for the owner. Sheds may only need periodic cleaning that may be done with a tractor.
- Horses choose when they are in the shed.
- Better ventilation therefore healthier for lungs.
- Less risk of fire.
- Some designs are portable and can be moved according to weather, drainage or to another pasture to allow the grass to recover in one area.
- Relatively low building costs.
Run-in Shelters - Disadvantages
- No way to contain a horse that needs stall rest due to injury or sickness.
- Not able to monitor how much horse eats and manure production as accurately. (Horses should produce approximately eight piles of manure a day, less can be a sign of a problem.)
- Horses may have to be separated if concentrates are fed.
- Handling such as grooming and saddling not as convenient.
- Horse may not choose to come out of bad weather when they should.
- Depending on wind direction, horses can still be exposed to drafts.
- Dominant horses may not allow lower status herd members into the shelter.
Stables and Barns - Advantages
- Horses requiring stall rest easily accommodated.
- Grooming, saddling, training may be easier.
- Complete shelter from wind and weather.
- Lower status horses not threatened by dominant herd members, and horses can be moved if threatened.
- Horses may stay cleaner i.e.: Stabling before a show the horse can't roll in the dirt.
- Feed consumption and manure production easier to monitor.
Stables and Barns - Disadvantages
- Higher costsfor building and maintenance.
- Stalls need daily mucking out.
- Greater risk of fire.
- Higher dust levels, ammonia, and poorer ventilation.
- Horses can become bored and develop vices more readily in stalls.
- Horses must be exercised daily.