DIY: Lean-To Horse Shelter Farm

Updated April 17, 2017

Providing shelter and a wind block is one of the basics of caring for a horse. A horse should have a place to go in bad weather to get out of rain, snow and wind. If you are planning on keeping a horse and there is no shelter available, a lean-to horse shelter is an ideal, inexpensive alternative to building an entire barn. With a little hard work and a plan you can build a lean-to shelter for your horse.

Measure out the area where the lean-to will be built. The area needs to be as flat as possible, free of large rocks and plants. The size of the lean-to is up to you; however, a 4-by-4 post and pier block should be placed every 8 feet for stability and support.

Place the pier blocks on the ground and secure a 4-by-4 post to each pier block. For an 8-feet-by-6-feet lean-to you will need four pier blocks and four 4-by-4 posts. The two front posts need to be about 6 feet tall and the two back posts need to be about 5 feet tall. This variance in height will create a run-off effect to the back of the shelter during rain and snow. Secure the 4-by-4 posts to the pier blocks using the metal hardware attached to the pier blocks with wood screws.

Frame the lean-to using the 2-by-4 boards and cutting them with the circular saw. The frame needs to be across the back and sides of the lean-to, leaving the front open. Frame across the bottom, middle and top of the back and both sides. Include braces located in the middle of the back wall to allow for stability. Use wood screws to secure each piece of wood into place.

Cover the framework with the plywood sheets starting at the bottom of the lean-to and working up. Measure and cut the plywood using the circular saw. Secure it to the frame using wood screws. You can leave a vented area at the top of the lean-to or cover the entire area with plywood.

Frame the roof area with 4-by-4 boards from front to back allowing for a 1-foot overhang on all edges to keep the rain and snow from dripping down the sides and back of the lean-to. Secure plywood on the top of the roof frame. Apply tar paper using a staple gun and roofing material using roofing nails for further durability and protection from the weather.


A lean-to can be divided and fully enclosed for a stall and hay and tack storage. Making several lean-to's and adding paddocks can create a stable environment.

Things You'll Need

  • Pier blocks
  • Treated posts (4 feet by 4 feet)
  • Boards for framing (2 inches by 4 inches)
  • Circular saw
  • Plywood sheets (3/4 inch)
  • Wood screws
  • Power drill with screw driver attachment
  • Tar paper
  • Staples and staple gun
  • Roofing material
  • Roofing nails
  • Hammer
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About the Author

Michelle Epperly is a freelance writer based in Southern Oregon. She has been writing on a diverse range of topics since 2005. She has written articles and SEO content specializing in nutrition, real estate, parenting and life coaching.