Horse shade shelters are popular places for horses to spend time. In fact, horses spend a substantial amount of time in the shade. A wild horse is accustomed to finding the sustenance, comfort, and protection they need, but a domestic horse is fully reliant upon their owner. Although it is unfortunately quite common to see horses without access to ample shade or shelter, it is important that domestic horses have continual access to a covered place to rest from the sun and elements. If you own horses or are thinking of getting a horse, it is critical that you provide them with a safe and comfortable shade shelter. 

Read on to learn all about the importance of horse shade shelters, horse shade ideas, and how to build a DIY horse shade shelter.

Importance of a Horse Shade Shelter

Horse shade shelters are important for a number of reasons. 

1. Horses Easily Overheat

The larger an animal is, the longer it takes for their body to release heat. Horses have large bodies that take much longer than human bodies to cool down. 

2. Digestion Increases Body Temperature 

When horses eat high-fiber foods like hay and grass, their bodies generate and release heat during digestion. In cold seasons, eating helps horses stay warm. In hot seasons, horses that do not have a shady place to cool down will skip meals. 

3. Horses are Susceptible to Sunburn

Some horses are completely white, and many horses have white or pink skin around their nostrils and legs. These white and pink areas on horses' bodies burn very easily. 

4. Horse Eyes are Sensitive to Sunlight 

One of the things that make horses special is their ability to see clearly in the low light at dusk and dawn. This special trait also makes the horses sensitive to bright sunlight. This sensitivity is most pronounced in domestic horses that commonly do not have much forelocks to shield their eyes.  

5. Flies and Pests Like to Bother Horses in Full Sun

The bugs and insects that like to hang around horses also like sunlight. Horses can escape the pests by relaxing in a breezy, shaded place.


Horse Shade Design Ideas

Horse shade shelters are simple designs that make great DIY projects. The most important design factors to consider are that the shade shelter needs to be as open as possible to provide ample air circulation, and the shade shelter needs to be large enough to accommodate all of your horses. 

Tree and Fabric Shelter

You can suspend a weather-resistant cloth between trees to create a simple horse shade shelter. While this is a viable quick fix, it is not a long-term or all-weather solution. 

Stationary Roofed Shelter

A stationary roofed horse shade shelter is built to stay in one location. The sturdy shelter includes a roof and open sides so that the horses can easily move in and out of the shade. 

Portable Roofed Shelter 

A portable horse shade shelter has a sturdy roof, no walls, and is mounted onto lockable casters. It is nice to be able to easily move the horse shelter so that it is always positioned over a patch of grass that the animals can enjoy.


Tools & Materials for Building a Horse Shade Shelter


1. Pressure-treated wood posts

2. Wood screws

3. ONDURA® Premium Series panels

4. ONDULINE┬« screws 

5. Casters and screws (optional)

6. Concrete (optional)


1. Drill

2. Hand or circular saw

3. Hammer 

4. Pencil

5. Measuring tape

6. Sandpaper

7. Work gloves and protective goggles

8. Level

9. Shovel (only necessary if you are sinking the shelter into the ground).

Steps in Building a DIY Horse Shade Structure

While DIY horse shade structures come in a few different shapes and sizes, there are a few critical steps involved in building a basic, sturdy horse shade structure. 

1. The first step is to select or create your design. Take note of the measurements, all necessary tools and materials, and the quantity of materials needed. 

2. The second step is to acquire all the tools and materials needed for the project. 

3. If you are building a stationary structure, dig the holes to sink the posts into the ground. Position the posts inside the holes and fill the space with cement. 

4. Construct the frame of the horse shade structure. 

5. If you are building a portable structure, attach the casters once the frame is complete. 

6. Install the roof by following the Ondura Premium Installation Guide

7. Finally, celebrate the completion of your DIY horse shade structure with a grand-opening ceremony. Invite your horse to your shelter and allow them to enjoy their new shady spot. 

Now you know how to build a horse shade structure. 

For more DIY inspiration and high-quality materials, visit the Onduline site today.