Horizon Structures Series Presents: What To Choose For Equestrian Facilities ~ Pavilion, Pergola or Gazebo?

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The benefits of adding a pavilion, pergola or gazebo to an equestrian facility are obvious. Shade, seating, focus point/gathering area are all pros to adding an outdoor living structure to an outdoor horse arena or horse show venue. But what to choose – a party pavilion, an elegant pergola or a graceful gazebo? How much will it cost and where should it be sited?

The main factor in the decision of which of the 3 options to choose is the matter of cost. As you might expect, in general terms the most budget friendly is the simplest to build, the pergola. Followed by the gazebo with the pavilion option generally being the most expensive. However, there are so many options to choose from in size, style and materials (traditional wood or maintenance free vinyl, shingle or metal roofs) plus add-ons such as cupolas and weathervanes, it is easy to manipulate the price point between the three options to favor the individual’s budget.

A major consideration in the decision-making process should be the planned use of the structure. Here is a quick lowdown on the pros and cons of each structure:

Gazebo Pros

  •  Reasonably budget friendly (when ordered with floor minimal site preparation required)
  • Portable (especially useful for varietal placement within a competition jumping area)
  • Aesthetic appeal of traditional design
  • Full shade and shelter from rain
  • Can be screened to provide bug-free environment
  • Offers privacy
  • Less distraction to horses from the movements from occupants
  • Optimal 360-degree view
  • Enclosed space secures safe space for children and pets

Gazebo Cons

  •  Size restriction of the enclosed space limits size of gatherings
  • Permanent concrete pad required if ordered without floor
  • Hard to keep clean of dust and dirt
  • Site must be level and well drained

Pergola Pros

  •  Cost effective
  • Myriad of options regarding size and shape
  • Can be built adjacent to existing structures for ease of access
  • Offers benefit of ‘green’ living with climbing vines and scented plants
  • Can be easily combined with pavilion to extend covered space
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Minimal site preparation needed

 Pergola Cons

  • Offers some shade but no protection from rain
  • Limited options on roof style
  • EZ Shade or some other blind or shade curtain may be needed to defray sun glare on sides
  • No protection from pesky bugs – may encourage nesting of wasps/hornets or other unwanted visitors
  • No protection from wind
  • Must be permanently sited
  • Lack of privacy

Pavilion Pros

  • Large choice of styles, sizes and roof shapes available
  • Superior protection from rain and sun, but not from wind.
  • Easy to add cooking fixtures/TVs/hot tubs under cover and easy to clean
  • Sides can be sealed with overhead style doors for all season weather protection and security of contents
  • Supports multiple size gatherings and pergolas can easily be added to each side for more space
  • Effective extension of living space when placed adjacent to existing building’s entry points

Pavilion Cons

  •  Requires permanent siting
  • May require shades or blinds to protect interior from sun glare or driving rain
  • No protection from flying bugs or nesting insects
  • Generally considered a more expensive option than its counterparts
  • Requires careful choice of location in areas where high winds are common and/or additional engineered securing of rafters/roof to supporting members.
  • Lack of privacy

Where Should It Go?

There are several aspects to carefully consider when selecting the optimal siting of an outdoor living structure on an equestrian property.

The use of the structure will usually determine its location to a large degree. For example, a gazebo placed at the short side of a dressage arena for the instructor to use for shelter during lessons would be better placed on the long side for ease of communication with students and best view of horse and rider. However, if the structure is placed away from easy access to/from the barn, visitors to the structure may be distracting to the horse and rider.

The height of the selected site for construction of the outdoor structure is also important. Siting a pavilion on higher ground than the arena will provide an optimal view of the activity within the arena. This is especially important for equestrian event venues. For example: The HITS Saugerties, NY facility is one among many professional locations that has competition arenas enclosed with low walls, surrounded by elevated lightly sloping grass with pavilions set on top of the hill where people can come and go without distracting the competition while offering prime viewing of the activity within the rings.

General considerations should include:

  • Ingress and egress to the site for delivery and set up of the structure. Note: Large gazebo units are commonly sold in kit form to facilitate assembly on site as too large for over the road transport.
  • Ingress and egress when in use including parking availability and access for the physically challenged. The addition of steps or ramps may require additional space.
  • Possibility of visual or noise Interference with horse and riders during lessons from users of structure. On the plus side errant noise can serve as a training exercise for the young competition horse who must get used to such distractions.
  • Distance the structure is placed from direct horse activities for horse and rider safety. Consider the height of rooflines, gutters if installed, sharp corners of structure or change in footing materials around structure.
  • Distance the structure is placed from horse activities that may cause dust or pose risk to occupants from errant horse behavior such as bolting, rearing/kicking out. Consider adding a fence or wall between the structure and the arena for additional protection.
  • Maintenance of the area surrounding the structure e.g. mowing widths and garden care access.
  • Prevalent wind direction to optimize cooling summer breezes while minimizing the invasion of driving rain to the interior of the space during inclement weather.
  • The arc/path of the sun direction during high use season.
  • Visibility for supervision of activities within structure from existing buildings/barns.

Ask A Professional

There are so many variables in the world of outdoor living structures that affect the price. It is wise to resource a professional company that offers a complete selection of all types of structures in a myriad of materials. Don’t be tempted to just buy something you see down the road. It pays dividends to explore all your options and if buying multiple structures a discount is often available.

Things to look for from the outdoor living structure retailer:

  • High quality builds that utilize first class materials and offer a huge variety of options
  • Clear ‘to the penny‘ written quote (not estimate), that includes set up (if not a kit) and delivery
  • Clearly written, easy to understand contracts with reasonable deposit requirements
  • A specific timeline for delivery
  • Informative website that is interactive and quickly provides options
  • Friendly customer service that addresses your concerns and offers solutions
  • No 3rd party delivery services/set up. Work with a professional entity that has ‘hands-on’ product knowledge and will both deliver and assemble on site.
  • Warranties of hopefully 5 years or better
  • Good references and unedited/tamed reviews
  • Financing options

Remember it is not always the cheapest initial price that should dictate the decision-making process. A good quality product that is properly installed will offer better longevity, lower maintenance expenses and more enjoyment than a poorly constructed or conceived structure.

Do your homework and remember shopping online is a fun option but it is always smart to check in with the retailer before buying and get a feel of who they are and how they operate.

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 About Horizon Structures:  One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –

Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com

Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Media Contact: NAS@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com
Tel: 607 434 4470

Photos are available on request.

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
Content Creator | PR Partner | Seasoned Writer | Brand Builder |
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British American|
Grand Prix Dressage
Competitor/Coach/ Clinician|


Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.