Horses are generally housed in stables, but if the owner has only one or two horses, or is limited on space or resources, a horse shed may be the answer. A horse shed is essentially a smaller version of a stable in which horses can be housed and fed. They are often fairly simple structures made from inexpensive materials, but like any other housing structures, they must be built properly and safely to ensure the well-being of the horses.
A horse shed often features one side that is open-air, and a gate can be attached by a hinge to this end. This allows easy entry and exit, and the gate can be closed to keep the horses securely inside the horse shed. The other walls must be made from a solid, sturdy material that can withstand the kick of a horse. Otherwise, the horse may kick through the wall and tear off any siding material on the outside of the shed. Wood is commonly used, and the roof can be made from wood or less expensive aluminum or steel.
The floor of the horse shed can be made from a variety of materials. Many horse sheds are built with bare earth floors so waste can be easily cleaned. Bare earth is also easy on the hooves of the horse, whereas a harder material such as concrete or wood will be less forgiving. Concrete and wood can be used as a floor for a horse shed, however, and they provide a flat, even surface on which the shed can be built. The stalls within the shed are often covered in such cases; hay, dirt, or even wood chips can be used to soften the surface for the comfort of the horses.
Like other types of sheds, horse sheds must be built on a level surface. Many horse sheds are built on an elevated section of land so that urine and water can be rinsed away without pooling on flat surfaces. The area on which the shed is to be built should be relatively dry as well to prevent rot in the boards of the structure. If concrete footings are poured for the shed posts, the concrete should be poured below the frost line to prevent heaving in cold conditions.