The Sunday Review: Shelter Logic Corral Shelter

OVERVIEW:

On this edition of The Green Horseman’s Sunday Review I selected ShelterLogic’s Corral Shelter. I purchased this in 2018 as a temporary shelter for Happy and Blade to use our first summer while we made arrangements and constructed the barn (Run-in Shed, really). In May 2018 we had just finished fencing the first paddock. We added drainage. I purchased a 60ft round pen. We had a good start. It wasn’t glamorous but the horses’ needs were met and they were happy. That summer I didn’t have to pay board so my funds were cleared up to go toward the barn and expanding the paddocks.

ShelterLogic’s Corral Shelter comes in 2 sizes…10ft and 12ft to fit the appropriate fence panels. I bought 12ft because my roundpen panels are 12ft. I used three of my own gate panels (The shelter is just the topper that sits on top of the panels). The shelter itself costs $299.

At first the horses didn’t want anything to do with the shelter. It creaked with the slightest wind. The noise rain made on the cover was different and they weren’t sure about that either. They did eventually come to love it but it took some getting used to.

The corral shelter I purchased has a steel powder coated frame the tubing is 1 3/8″ (34mm) hollow tubes. We were able to assemble it within a couple hours. It was large and clunky and at a minimum would require 2 people simply for it’s size. The fabric cover is a 7.5oz ripstop fabric that’s heat treated to resist sun damage and is waterproof. The shelter stands 5.5ft above the corral panel. To mount onto the corral panels each side has 4 plastic cups that straddle the fence panel. Ratchet straps are used to hold them secure. A few more ratchet straps are used on the corners and are attached to anchors that screw into the ground at each corner.

The anchors are extremely important. While in the process of moving the shelter we detached the shelter from the anchors. Right after, a neighbor stopped by to say hello. It was a sunny day and the breeze was mild, barely 5mph. In the 10 minutes we stepped away the mild breeze managed to lift the corral shelter just enough to give it a twist. One corner was sitting a foot off the ground. Thankfully there was no damage and we got the shelter moved and re-anchored in its new location.

We made it to winter and all the way through winter 2018/2019. We enjoyed another year with the shelter and the horses appreciated it. Sadly the first storm we got in December 2019 resulted in a catastrophic collapse. We had worse snow storms in the previous year. We had terrible wind storms. The shelter remained anchored and in place without issue. This storm in December, however, led to the shelter’s collapse taking with it one of my corral panels.

Naturally I was very upset when I came home from work to see the skeletal remains of my corral shelter. I had sung its praises to everyone I could about it prior.

I reached out to ShelterLogic only to be immediately dismissed with “…as stated in your manual, this shelter is not live load rated. We suggest removal of the cover when inclement weather is forecast.”

Ok, the product shows “shade” structure…says shade structure. I went back to review the manual and nothing explicitly states (that I found) a live load rating or otherwise. In fact I found an excerpt that states to remove snow from cover with a broom. I never had a chance with this storm as we received a foot while I was at work…and we had received more in the past without issue.

Cleaning up the remains I found that the fabric cover was still in great shape. The metal joints had all rusted and collapsed in on themselves. It was truly a bitter disappointment because I used this in the paddock that has less accessible shade.

Even so, the shelter was 18 months old and their warranty only covers 1 year EVEN IF they were to have covered it.

There’s that feeling of pissing away $400 (if you count the damaged corral panel too).


PROS:

  • Works well for sun in ideal weather
  • Cost effective

CONS

  •  Weak
  • Company does not back product
  • Not rated for snow loads
  • Not great in wind
  • Not convenient to take down during inclement weather
  • Without the siding kit or side protection this does not protect from rain
  • Without the siding kit the rotation of the Earth and position of sun changes the shade throughout the day, the horses didn’t move with the shade and it didn’t keep anything cooler
  • The horses didn’t use it as often as I expected.

Tips:

  •  If you purchased this and wanted to keep it long term I would highly recommend to take this down anytime the forecast calls for inclement weather. It’s not ideal.
  • You must absolutely make sure the anchors are properly secured as deep as they can go. Even a slight breeze is enough to lift the shelter without proper anchoring.
  • If you use it put up sides…buy the siding kit, hang shade curtains around it….something. You will be a lot better off for it.

Alternatives:

Sadly, there are very few options similar to the corral shelter without either DIY handiwork or dishing out more money…well more than 2-3 times the cost of the corral shelter with panels.

  •  Noble Panels – I don’t know the quality or price but I have an inquiry in to find out
  • Shady Shelters – Under $1k but smaller in size…provides shade and that’s about it

Final Word:

What was a fabulous idea turned out to be a bitter disappointment.

I put my faith in the brand because I have heard many great things about ShelterLogic products. I have seen many of their products in the snow and some products ARE load rated. Why they would do the same for the Corral Shelter and not explicitly say so on the product description and specifications page (on the website) has fouled my opinion on the whole company itself.

Maybe it’s my high standards but I believe if a company like ShelterLogic builds its reputation on strength, durability, and reliability it should stand behind all of its products or at least make it very clear otherwise; not just hide behind the fine print when problems arise.

Essentially the ShelterLogic Corral Shelter is really only intended for shade…without the enclosure kit the rain blows right in. It’s not rated for wind or snow. Even as a shade structure ShelterLogic Corral Shelter is simply okay. It provides shade but the horses have to move with the sun to stay in the shade (and they don’t).

There are not a ton of geographic locations that I know of that can be compatible with year-round use of the ShelterLogic Shelter. With it being just Zac and myself (and working well over full-time hours) we don’t often have enough time in the day and making time to take down the entire unit and packing it up for the winter was not something we anticipated needing to do. To make it more difficult at the time this shelter collapsed we were working such opposite schedules that he and I saw each other once every two weeks. If we were to take it down it would have to be a full tear down since we don’t have enough storage to simply move the canopy inside. Essentially it is a MAJOR pain in the rear end.

I whole heartedly wanted to sing my praises for the ShelterLogic Shelter but sadly I cannot. I cannot recommend this for most people and would sooner recommend that you spring for the more expensive run-in shed.

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