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How to Build a Stable

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Five 4-by-4-by-10s, pressure treated

  • Six 4-by-4-by-12s, pressure treated

  • Twelve 2-by-4-by-12s, pressure treated

  • Twelve 2-by-6-by-12s, pressure treated

  • Concrete

  • Large plastic bucket

  • Fifteen 4-by-8 T-111 siding sheets

  • Exterior wood screws, 10d, 3-inch, 7-pound container

  • Exterior wood screws, 1 1/4-inch exterior wood screws, 3-pound container

  • Nine sheets of 4-by-8 plywood

  • Metal roofing sheets or roof shingles

  • One gallon exterior paint or stain

  • Measuring tape

  • Construction string

  • Wooden or metal stakes

  • Hammer

  • Angle ruler

  • Spray paint

  • Gravel

  • Level

  • Power drill

  • Circular saw

  • Post hole digger

  • Ladder, 20-foot

  • Sandpaper, 80 grit

Rescuing or buying a horse can be a wonderful opportunity for horse lovers, but sadly, horses don't arrive with much horse paraphernalia. For this, they'll rely upon you. If you're fortunate, you may have a ready-made habitat in the form of a barn or stable, but if you don't, a simple run-in shed can house a horse or two and keep them safe from inclement weather.

Measure a 12-by-24-foot area for your run-in shed. Your shed will be wider than it is deep; consider this shape when taking your measurements. Face the entrance toward the south to avoid inclement weather and wind that normally blows in from the west and north. Choose a level area, or if your area is only slightly sloped, it's best if your land slopes away from your shed. Use your measuring tape for this step and mark each corner with a stake.

Wrap your stakes with the construction string and measure again to make sure your run-in shed will be the correct size. Run another string from front to back to split your shed in half widthwise. Using the angle ruler, check your corners to make sure the angles are 90 degrees.

Spray paint along your string to outline the dimensions of your shed, including along the string that splits your shed.

Using your angle ruler, measure a 45-degree angle along one end of each of your 10-foot 4-by-4s. Cut these angles using your circular saw.

Dig a post hole 3 feet deep and three times the diameter of your post, beginning in the rear right-hand corner. Sink one of your 4-by-4-by-10 posts, with the shorter end of the angled top closer to the rear of the shed, fill the hole with about 6 inches of gravel, and use your level to make sure the post is plumb. Use scrap wood to create braces at a 45-degree angle. Attach the scrap wood to the post with the 3-inch wood screws and power screwdriver.

Dig post holes along the back width of the shed in the same fashion as in Step 5. Dig a hole every 6 feet and sink a 4-by-4-by-10 in each of these five holes, with the shorter end of the angle facing the rear. Add gravel and brace them as you did in Step 5.

Dig two post holes 6 feet from your two rear corner holes, along the perimeter of your shed, coming forward toward the front. Dig one halfway between the front and rear of the line you painted to split your shed. When you measure, this post hole will be at the 6-foot point.

Measure 1 foot in from the end of each of your 12-foot 4-by-4s. Cut this foot off using your circular saw. Measure a 45-degree angle from each end you just cut, and then cut again to create the angle. Measure and cut a 45-degree angle at one end of the three remaining 12-foot 4-by-4s in the same fashion.

Sink the three shorter angled 4-by-4-by-12s into the three holes you dug in Step 7, making sure the shorter end of the angle is toward the rear. Secure these posts in the same fashion as in Step 5.

Dig three holes, two on each front corner, and one at the center, along the front of your shed's perimeter. Sink the three remaining 4-by-4-by-12s in these holes in the same fashion as in Step 5, making sure the longer end of the angled board is at the very front.

Attach the 2-by-4-by-12s to the outer perimeter, running horizontally, to stabilize your frame. Attach one row, 4 feet up from the ground, along the right side, left side and rear of your structure, using the 3-inch wood screws and the power screwdriver. Go all around the structure at this 4-foot height. Use your level to check each board before you attach it to make sure everything is plumb, and make sure to check each 4-by-4 to ensure they have remained plumb. Attach another horizontal row of 2-by-4-by-12s at a height of 6 1/2 feet along both sides of your structure.

Mix your concrete according to the instructions. Fill each hole to the top, and allow your concrete to dry per the manufacturer's instructions.

Attach 2-by-6-by-12s at the roofline along the front and back widths of the shed. Secure to the 4-by-4s using the 3-inch wood screws You'll attach your roof support rafters to these 2-by-6-by-12s.

Create your roof support rafters by attaching a 2-by-6-by-12 every 3 feet, beginning at the outer edge of the sides, running front to back. Place these boards on their edges, and secure them by angling your 3-inch wood screws into the front and back 2-by-6-by-12s you attached in Step 13, and into the 4-by-4s along the edges of the sides of the structure.

Attach your plywood sheets across your existing rafters, using your 1 1/4-inch wood screws and your power screwdriver. Beginning in the right rear corner, lay one sheet with the 4-foot length running along the right side, and the 8-foot length running along the rear width of the shed. Continue laying out your sheets one at a time, all facing this direction. Secure to the rafters using your 3-inch wood screws and power screwdriver.

Add your metal or shingled roofing.

Attach 2-by-4-by-12s along the perimeter of your structure, flush with the ground. Secure to the 4-by-4s using 3-inch wood screws and your power screwdriver.

Measure the height of the rear width of your structure and trim six sheets of your T-111. The height of the rear of your structure will be shorter than your 8-foot T-111 sheets, because the tops of the 4-by-4s are angled.

Attach your T-111 siding along the exterior of your structure using the 1 1/4-inch wood screws and your power screwdriver. Begin at the right rear corner, and attach each sheet with several screws to ensure the siding will withstand inclement weather.

Once you've attached your sheets, you will have a gap at the roofline on both sides of your structure. This can remain open for air circulation or closed by measuring these gaps, cutting your T-111 to fit, and attaching in the same manner you used in Step 19.

Paint or stain the exterior of your run-in shed.

Check the interior of your shed for any rough edges that my injure your horses. Sand these with sandpaper.


  • For an aesthetically pleasing interior, use 2-by-6-by-12 boards to create interior walls.


  • Keep all power tools away from children.