Most of the time I really don't mind not having a "real" barn. I don't have to clean stalls every day, which seriously saves not only my time, but the cost of shavings for three horses. Shavings tend to be the biggest cost for most horse owners! My horses lives outside 24/7 and seem to be quite happy about it. I don't have to worry about them going stall stir-crazy or acting like complete idiots after they've been cooped up for some time.
But when it rains and rains and rains, I do wish I had a barn. Not necessarily because I think the horses would be happier in stalls, but because it is such a pain in the butt to scrape the mud from them before I ride. It would also be really, really nice not to have to slog through the water and mud to feed every day. I don't think the horses really care too much though, but a real barn would certainly be a convenience for me!
Gabe's shed was completed about a month after he came home and he LOOOVES his house. It's 12'x16' and I keep it bedded for him. He sleeps in his run-in. He stands in his run-in when he gets tired of standing in the rain and it stays pretty dry in there unless the wind is blowing the rain sideways. We built up the floor about 8 inches with gravel and fines to keep it out of any standing water. We do get a lot of rain!
It's nothing fancy, but it does it's job. I clean it out probably twice a week and bed only with straw. Gabe definitely takes advantage of the straw bed and in the morning you can see his body impression in the bedding as well as plenty of golden wisps stuck to his body. I also feed him in there. He is a big pig when it comes to his hay and likes to pee on it if I feed him on the ground, so, he gets his hay out of a net. Nothing wastes hay faster than a horse who has a bizarre need to pee on it! He makes a mess of his hay net hay, too, but because the mess is in a corner, he can't really get to it to pee on it, thank goodness! I'm considering one of those small hole mesh hay nets to keep him from pulling so much out of it at once.
Now...we bought all the materials for two run-ins at the same time. The first one was built in less than a month.
The second one? Well....it's still not completely done and it's been well over a year!
At least it has a roof and footing, right?
What is really, really frustrating is we've had to buy all new siding for the second run-in because apparently, sheets of wood don't do very well lying outside in the elements for a whole year. Grrr...
Calypso seems to really appreciate having the shed to stand in. Chief, not so much. He won't go into it unless enticed, Calypso stands in there pretty frequently.
I am hoping (and crossing my fingers!) that the siding will go up on their run-in some time this weekend. Once we get the walls up I'll have to add another four or five inches of footing to it.