by Nikki Alvin-Smith
Competition horses have special needs when it comes to their care and management. It makes sense to plan your barn design to factor in how to best manage these needs to make sure these noble athletes are kept as happy and content as possible while also maintaining good horse keeping for the equines that stay home.
Performance horses that are out and about can bring home more than just ribbons. Contagious diseases are just one concern. Injuries, soreness, stress, and anxiety are others.
If the barn building has not yet begun the opportunity to cater for the requirements of the competition horses in their own ‘wing’ is a great design choice.
This can be accomplished by setting shedrow barns at an angle away from each other, building a separate show barn altogether, or adding a center aisle row of stalls either in a second row or at a right angle within a large barn.
The advantages of a separate wing to accommodate competition horses are many:
- Quarantine practices are made simple for keeping horses that go back and forth to show grounds apart from their compatriots left at home.
- Competition horses’ needs for extra feed rations can easily be implemented throughout the day without disturbance to other stabled horses’ routines.
- Tack and equipment can be stored separately to ‘home’ horses.
- Extra security can be added to the special wing such as video monitoring and passcode entrances.
- Additional electrical outlets can be placed by each stall together with extra brackets and places to hang haynets/IV fluids and hydration care.
- The ‘wing’ can be fitted with fly control and fire protection systems.
- Special storage for blankets/tack, high end exercise or medical treatment equipment can be set up handy for daily use within the space of the ‘wing’ without worry of it being tampered with or damaged in a busier barn area.
- A ‘show’ tack room, working day equipment area, specialist grooming and bathing stalls with heat lamps etc. and feed room can be incorporated in the build. The assigned tack room will make it easy to load the show trailer and secure and access the specialist and expensive tack and equipment that may be needed for competition. While the feed room will help ensure no cross contamination or misuse with other hay supplies, grain rations, or supplements on the property.
- It is straightforward to site specialist footing turn out paddocks or lanai’s close to the competition barn separate from the main pastures on the property used for ‘home’ horses or a hot walker can be added.
- A separate ‘show’ barn can be sited close to the home on the property for security and monitoring and ease of access.
When it comes time to show there are many resources available to help the neophyte competitor best manage the stress their horse(s) will experience and to help elevate the health and safety of their charges. For example: Taking water buckets the horse uses at home to the show ground to encourage horses to drink off site.
There are also many methods to promote top performance via good practices. Obvious ones such as never introducing any new tack or equipment to horse or rider at a show. Always strive to work with familiar equipment when competing.
The not so obvious protocols include taking more than one thermometer in case it breaks to double check your horse’s health throughout the competition, and if your horse is shod carrying a full set of spare shoes with you in case of need.
In my experience competing internationally, I know the challenges of keeping your equine partner healthy and happy and at peak performance when off site is exponentially increased when travel abroad is involved. But whether you compete over the pond or at a local show down the road, the best way to manage your horse’s welfare are similar. Planning ahead is everything, and that includes the right barn design.
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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:
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Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.