How to build a three-sided horse shelter

Updated March 23, 2017

A three-sided horse shelter can provide cover for your horses or other large livestock in the pasture. Cheaper to build than a barn, it gives your horses a "run in" to get out of weather while remaining free from lockdown in a stall when it is not necessary. Three-sided sheds are simple structures that do not require a lot of complicated cutting or expensive hardware to construct. You can erect this on your own in a single day.

Strip the sod and level the ground where you will build your three-sided horse shelter. Use a rake to level the dirt.

Measure and mark the four corners of your shelter, keeping maximum depth to 16 feet for stability. Drive a spike into the corner points, and wrap a length of string around the entire circumference. Use a ruler laid diagonally across opposing corners and pressed up against the spike to be sure each of the four corners are the same and square.

Dig a 6-foot-deep hole at each corner point for the supporting posts. If your building will be deeper than 12 feet, plant additional support posts along the sides of the shelter no more than 12 feet apart. If your shelter is going to be longer than 12 feet from side to side, plant additional support posts between the rear and front sides of the shelter no more than 12 feet apart.

Use a level to ensure the posts are straight when planted. For extra stability, use quick-dry cement in the postholes when planting them. Rear posts should be at least 5 feet above ground, and front posts should be at least 6 feet above ground.

Nail 2- by 4-inch planks along both sides and rear of three-sided shelter: one at ground level; one at roof level at the height of the rear post (5 feet); and one in the centre of the side and rear walls.

Nail a 2- by 4-inch plank on an angle from front to rear posts to form the roof braces. Nail 2- by 4-inch planks lengthwise across the roof braces every 2 feet from front to rear of the roof.

Cut plywood, metal or fibreglass sheeting with a circular saw to fit the slant of the roof on the sides; attach to framework. Cut plywood, metal or fibreglass sheeting to size for the rear of the three-sided shed and attach it to the framework.

Attach plywood, metal or fibreglass sheeting to the roof braces. If you're using plywood, cover it with tar paper and shingles, and paint the sides with animal-safe barn paint.

Things You'll Need

  • 4- by 4-inch boards
  • 2- by 4-inch boards
  • 3/4-inch plywood, sheet metal or fibreglass panels
  • Tar paper and shingles
  • Rake
  • Measuring tape
  • Posthole digger
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Level
  • String
  • Four wood or metal spikes (or four screwdrivers as temporary fix)
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About the Author

Tami Parrington is the author of five novels along with being a successful SEO and content writer for the past three years. Parrington's journalism experience includes writing for eHow on medical, health and home-related topics as well as writing articles about the types of animals she has raised for years.