Horse Lean-To's: In-Depth Cost & Breakdown

Josiah Stoltzfus

September 8, 2022      Shed Tips

exterior of red horse lean to in South Carolina

If you’re looking to buy a horse shelter on a tight budget, a horse lean-to is a great option. While not extravagant, it is also not a simplistic run-in. A horse lean-to is a great fit for a horse shelter that keeps your horses protected from the elements, but at the same time does not break the bank with extravagant horse stalls, a center aisle, etc. Let’s start by introducing the basics of a lean-to horse barn. 

What is a Lean-To for Horses?

In simplest terms, a lean-to for horses is basically a run-in shed + a large overhang. A lean-to for horses is typically 4-sided (just like a shed row barn) with a long overhang, typically supported by wooden posts. The overhang’s purpose is primarily to protect your horses from the elements, such as rain, snow, etc.

There is a bit of unclarity between lean-to horse barns and shed row barns. To further distinguish what a lean-to for horses is, we’ll show the differences between 3 common (and similar) types of horse barns: shed row barns, horse lean-to’s, and run-in sheds. 

Type of Horse BarnDistinguishing FeaturesPrice
Lean-To ShedOffers best protection (of 3 choices listed); large overhang$$$
Shed Row BarnNo extensive overhang; takes up less space than a horse lean-to; easy transport; easy oversight$$
Run-In ShedBest ventilation (3-sided structure); easy to manage; gives horses independence to walk in and out of stall$

How Does the Cost of a Horse Lean-To Compare to Other Horse Barn Styles?

To best analyze this question, we’ll show you where the horse barn lean-to’s compare to 5 other styles of horse barns that we offer here at Fisher Barns

Horse Barn StyleFeaturesCost
Monitor Horse BarnMost popular Fisher Barn horse barn, includes second-story loft, 2 sliding doors, full second-story loft$$$$$
Trailside Horse BarnSmallest center aisle horse barn, single-story$$$$
Lean-To Horse BarnLarge overhang (choose overhang length), Pine board & batten siding, $$$
Shed Row Horse BarnCheapest enclosed Fisher Barn horse barn, available with tack room$$
Run-In Horse BarnCheapest Fisher Barn option, large open front$
exterior of horse lean-to shed with concrete walkway

What is the Cost of a Horse Lean-To?

The cost of a horse lean-to will vary depending on custom options and size. Here’s a list of some of the main custom options and sizes that would affect the cost of a horse lean-to.

Main Custom OptionsCustom Option Prices (scale of 1-5 “$” signs)
Metal roof$$$$$
Sealed Architectural Print$$$$$
Add. Leans (with or w/o gable ends)$$$$$
Concrete Pillar Anchoring Hardware$$$$
Felt paper underlayment$$$$
Hurricane rafter ties$$$
Simple Shed Print$$
Siding Options$$
Single Door$

Fisher Barns offers horse lean-to’s in these sizes.

Fisher Barn’s Main Horse Lean-To Sizes
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 24’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 28’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 32’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 36’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 40’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 44’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 48’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 52’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 56’ L
(16’ or 20’ or 24’ W) x 60’ L

We hope you now understand what a lean-to for horses is. With that in mind, let’s continue on to the dimensions of a horse lean-to. 

Keep in mind that you’ll also need to invest in a quality foundation for your horse barn.

At Fisher Barns, we do require a concrete pier foundation to be built before we install a lean-to horse barn. Foundation piers will cost an additional $2,000-$3,000 to your horse barn project, depending on the horse barn size and location.

What are some Standard Features of a Horse Lean-To?

Because we can’t speak for other companies and what features they offer for their lean-to horse barns, we’ll list for you our horse lean-to standard features:

Photo Credit: KT Custom Barns

How Tall is a Lean-To for Horses?

A lean-to for horses is about 8 ft. tall at the back and slopes up to around 10-12 feet at the front. A horse lean-to should typically be several feet taller towards the front to keep your horse from rearing and hitting his head on the ceiling.

At Fisher Barns, our lean-to sheds for horses range between 8’-10’ tall at the eave, meaning the back of the horse lean-to’s start at 8’-10’ tall and slope up so that the front is generally several feet higher than the back. 

Bottom line is that your horse lean-to should never drop anywhere less than 8 ft. It’s actually better to set the bar even higher and choose at least a 10’ stall height. Ideally, the taller and more spacious your lean-to horse barn is, the better. Here are 2 reasons why a taller lean-to horse barn is better than a lower one:

1. Air Space

The lower the roof, the less air circulation will be in the stall. A healthy respiratory system is critical to a horse’s well-being. Therefore, a higher ceiling height provides better air circulation and ventilation.

2. Head Safety

Sudden noise, patting your horse, hand or bucket-feeding–these are all triggers that could spook your horse. If a horse becomes spooked in his stall, a common reaction is rearing up on its hindlegs. This is especially dangerous if you have a low ceiling height because your horse could easily injure his head on the ceiling. Therefore, keeping a higher ceiling height also keeps your horse farther from injury. 

How Do You Build A Horse Lean-To?

If you’re a DIY’er and enjoy the challenge of a new build, a horse lean-to is a great project that would save you from having to pay a contractor to build the structure.

Here’s a great video that further explains how to build a horse lean-to.

How Big of a Lean-To Horse Barn Do I Need for 2 Horses?

A space of 10’x10’ or 12’x12’ is a good and safe stall size per horse. So for 2 horses, you would need a lean-to horse barn that is at least 12’ wide by 24’ deep.

Like we said, figure on just adding 12’ per horse. Here’s a list to quickly analyze how big of a horse lean-to you’ll need for the number of horses that you have, based on a space of 12’ wide by 12’ deep per horse.

Number of HorsesHorse Lean-To Dimensions (12’x12’ per horse)
212’x24’ + 1 Extra Window & Stall Door
312’x36’ + 2 Extra Windows & Stall Doors
412’x48’ + 3 Extra Windows & Stall Doors
512×60’ + 4 Extra Windows & Stall Doors

What a Horse Barn Lean-To Looks Like

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words” so here is an example of what a lean-to horse shelter looks like from Fisher Barns.

screenshot of mahogany lean to horse shelter in 3d builder

To get a better understanding of what a lean-to shed for horses consists of, we’ve put together a list of the structural details of the lean-to horse barn featured above. 

Structural DetailsStructural Details (Continuation)
Style: Lean-ToTrusses: Standard Truss
Base Size: 24‘x24′Leg Height: 8′
Architectural Shingles: CharcoalSiding: Board & Batten
Trim: Black4’x7’ Dutch Door (Qty. 2)
Siding: Mahogany (Stain)28”x24” Single Hung Window (Qty: 2)
Door: Navajo WhiteCupola: 24”x24” Cupola
Window Frame: WhiteRoof: Black
Frame Spacing: 12′ Max SpacingRoof Style: Architectural Shingles
Roof Overhang: 10″ Overhang (all sides)Roof Pitch: 3 / 12

We’re not trying to force you to buy our products, but we thought this breakdown would be helpful in understanding and visualizing what a quality lean-to horse shelter looks like, including the specs and details. 

Here are two takeaways from the question, “How big of a lean-to horse barn do I need for 2 horses.”

How Deep Should A Horse Lean-To Be?

A horse lean-to should be at least 12’ deep in order to give your horse enough of space to move around freely. We’ve got more on the proper dimensions of a horse barn lean-to above.

Why Is A Lean-To Shed Beneficial?

A lean-to shed is beneficial because it is affordable, simulates an actual horse barn, and gives your horse(s) protection against the elements (unlike run-in or shed row barns). 


A lean-to shed is especially beneficial due to its affordability. When compared to Trailside or Monitor horse barns, a lean-to shed is only a fraction of the cost.

Simulates Horse Barn

A lean-to shed is also beneficial because it simulates an actual horse barn. While an actual horse barn might be decked with a center aisle and stalls on each side, a lean-to shed for horses has one side of stalls and an overhang to cover the “center” aisle. 

Protection Against Elements

Another reason why lean-to horse barns are beneficial is that they offer sufficient protection from the elements. We’ve talked about this already, but let me remind you that a lean-to shed supplies an overhang that covers the walkway adjacent to the stall fronts. This allows you to feed, visit, and talk with your horses in peace, even on a rainy day.

exterior of red horse lean to shed near woods in SC

We Offer Horse Lean-To’s

We are happy to say that we offer horse lean-to’s. Here’s an overview of the specs and details of our horse lean-to shelters. Keep in mind that you can always design your own lean-to for horses in our 3D Horse Barn Designer…for free!

First off, here are the general specs and details. 

General SpecsStandard Features
Min. size = 16×24White Pine Board & Batten Siding (Paint Optional)
Eave height = 8’Lifetime Architectural Shingles
10” inch overhangOak Kickboard 4′ High
Roof pitch: 3/12Powder Coated Steel grills on Partitions
Standard Truss1 Door & 1 Window per Stall
12’ Max SpacingAvailable in sizes from 10×12 to 12×48

Here are the structural details for a Fisher Barn horse lean-to.

Structural Details:Structural Details:
Style: Lean-ToLeft Side: Fully Enclosed – Siding: Vertical Board & Batten
Base Size: 24‘x24′Right Side: Fully Enclosed – Siding: Vertical Board & Batten
Architectural Shingles: CharcoalFront End: Fully Enclosed – Siding: Vertical Board & Batten
Trim: BlackBack End: Fully Enclosed – Siding: Vertical Board & Batten
Siding: Mahogany (Stain)Back Porch Gable Wall Details: Fully Enclosed – Siding: Vertical Board & Batten
Door: Navajo WhiteFront Porch Gable Wall Details: Fully Enclosed – Siding: Vertical Board & Batten
Window Frame: White4′ x 7′ Dutch Door
Roof: Black3′ x 7′ Shed Door
Frame Spacing: 12′ Max Spacing28″ x 24″ Single Hung Window (Qty. 2)
Roof Style: Architectural ShinglesCupola: 24″ x 24″ Cupola
Roof Pitch: 3 / 12Roof Overhang: 10″ Overhang (all sides)
Trusses: Standard TrussLeg Height: 8′

We do require a concrete pier foundation to be built before we install a lean-to horse barn.

red lean to shed for horses

To Recap…

Well, that’s a lot of info on horse-lean to’s! We hope you learned more about the cost, size, benefits (and more!) of lean-to’s for horses. As we mentioned earlier, we’ve got a 3D Horse Barn Builder where you can make free horse barn designs…and save them for free! 

Or, you could request a quote on a horse lean-to, and we’ll get back to you ASAP! And if you want a broad overview of our best horse barn styles, read our guide. Thanks for joining!

Design Your Horse Lean-To! Get A Free Lean-To Horse Barn Quote

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.

3D Shed Designer Current Inventory Explore Our Sheds Signup for Deals