Horse Barns 101: Do Horses Need a Barn?

Josiah Stoltzfus

March 16, 2023      Guides

White Horse Barn with Gray Roof and Wooden Doors

Deciding on purchasing a horse barn to accommodate your horse can be difficult. We understand that your horses are important to you and that you want what’s best for them. That’s why we wrote this article to help you make the right decision.

Do Horses Really Need Shelter?

Not all horses need shelter, this depends on a few factors. Things like environment, horse breed, and the horse’s health all play a role in whether a horse requires shelter. Here are some scenarios where it would make sense to utilize a horse barn:

Thin-Coated/Clipped Horses

Certain breeds like Arabian horses, thoroughbreds, as well as any clipped horses can have difficulty tolerating cold temperatures. This is where a horse barn can be beneficial as you can provide some protection from the cold.

Extreme Weather

If you live in an area where temperatures can get extremely cold or hot, you want to be sure that your horse(s) can tolerate the climate. You can ensure their comfort and safety with a horse barn, whether it’s keeping them cool in the shade, or indoors away from the cold, horse barns can aid your equestrian friends.

Donkey Accommodation

Accommodating a donkey can prove to be difficult as donkeys don’t have a waterproof coat and therefore shouldn’t be kept outdoors.


Horses are susceptible to many things in the great outdoors that can be harmful to their comfort and overall well-being. This includes things like wind, flies, and the sun. Wind can make a horse skittish, as well as impair their ability to hear.

Flies can cause all sorts of issues for your horse like biting and causing sores, depositing larvae, and spreading disease. Also, horses can be susceptible to photosensitivity and sunlight can cause redness, scabs, and other health issues. Horse barns can keep your horses away from the wind, give you a place to hang up fly traps, as well as keep your horse in the shade.

Horse Age Accommodation

When horses are at a very young age or at a very old age, they need extra care and attention. Young horses, for example, are susceptible to the cold and will be better off indoors. Older horses also have increased vulnerability to wind and precipitation, so giving them a place to stay dry is recommended.

Sick/Injured Horse Accommodation

If your horse becomes sick or injured, it will require extra care. This will include many things from changing their diet, to raising their feed and stabling them. A horse barn can help you keep your horse indoors and safe as they take the time they need to rest and recover.

Horse Barn Benefits

A horse barn can be a great investment for you and the livelihood of your horses. From weather protection to extra storage, let’s go over the benefits of horse barns.

Early Training

When your horses are young, they can be a bit difficult to manage. A horse barn can help you with their grooming as well as early training until your horse is ready to roam free on their own.

Easy Monitoring and Protection

Whether you’re keeping track of your horse’s feed consumption or manure production, a horse barn can help you immensely, not to mention, when it’s time for cleanup, everything is in the stall. Aside from keeping track of your horse’s overall health, it also protects your horse from potential predators.

Weather Protection

Depending on the climate you live in, the weather can have a negative effect on your horse’s well-being. If you live somewhere particularly hot, it may be a good idea to provide your horse with some shade to prevent overheating. Also, being outside during rain, snow, or high winds is not favorable for your horse either. A horse barn can help you with all these scenarios.

Extra Storage

A horse barn isn’t just great for keeping horses, it can also double as a storage space. Store anything from equipment to extra feed and supplies.

Brown Horse Barn with White Roof in Forest

Horse Barn FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about horse barns.

What Type of Shelter Does a Horse Need?

In order to provide your horse with optimal protection from the outdoors, your horse would need at minimum, a 3-sided, well-constructed shelter. Check out our horse barns for some options.

How Big Does a Horse Barn Need to Be?

Depending on the size of the horse the recommended size of your horse barn stalls will vary. According to an article from Penn State University, the recommended stall sizes for a horse barn stall range from 10×10 to 12×12. You can check it out here!

Do Horses Need a Heated Barn in the Winter?

While you may think that heating your horse’s barn in the winter seems like a good idea, this is far from the truth. To heat an enclosure, you require an almost airtight space, this is the opposite of what the horse needs. Just keep the winds blocked by barn walls and your horse will do fine in a horse barn so long as the air circulation is good.

Keeping your horse barn well-ventilated allows for the reduction of moisture buildup, saving your hay, as well as keeping mold at bay.

How Long Can Horses Stay in the Barn?

Properly maintaining your horse is very important to your horse’s well-being, this includes giving them enough grazing time and not leaving them unattended for too long. Even though a horse can live in a stall 24/7, this is not good for the horse.

You should give your horse a minimum of 12 hours of outdoor grazing time and remember to not leave your horse unattended for more than 10 hours. It is important to interact with your horse and spend quality time to build stronger relationships and keep your horse happy.

How Much Value Does a Horse Barn Add to a Property?

The amount that a pole barn can add to the value of your home varies. According to many different appraisers, they can all agree that you can expect an increase in value anywhere from 50%-80% of the cost of the horse barn.


To wrap it up, whether your horse needs a barn or not depends on many factors. This can range from the climate you live in and the state and age of your horse. Not every horse needs a barn, but a horse barn can be beneficial to your horse. At the end of the day, it’s your decision to do what’s best for your horse. Feel free to explore our site and see our variety of horse barns styles, tips to design your own horse barn, and more!

Find Your Perfect Structure

Are you tired of clutter, sick of tripping over things, and wishing you just had more space. At Fisher Barns, we provide great storage solutions so that you can worry less about clutter and focus more on what’s important. Find your perfect structure today.

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