by Nikki Alvin-Smith
You don’t have to be an Olympic rider like Boyd Martin, to appreciate the benefit of taking an ice bath pre or post a workout or event. A water trough stacked with ice set in the corner of an empty stall can do wonders for post exercise recovery and improve circulation (though immersing yourself in such a unit takes some courage), but there are more options than that to keep yourself healthy at the barn.
All riders are athletes but many of us don’t treat ourselves as such and worry much more about the fitness, warm up and cool down protocols of our equine athletes than we do ourselves.
Let’s face it, finding time to get to and from the barn and complete chores plus finding time to train and ride can be difficult enough, without having to add a commute to and from the gym.
While training abroad I’ve often been tasked by the ‘trainer du jour’ to hop on a stationary bicycle set up in a tack room or enjoy post ride acupuncture or massage treatment at their barn location. As riders our level of fitness, body awareness and flexibility as well as mental acuity all factor in to how well we will support and direct our horses from the saddle. When the ‘gym’ or exercise space is conveniently located within the horse barn, it’s hard to say no to the logic of preparing ourselves better to complete the training of our horses.
Make That Extra Stall Work
The addition of one more stall to a horse barn build to accommodate a small gym or exercise area is becoming an increasingly popular choice for horse property owners.
When you consider how user-friendly the open dimension of a 12’ x 12’ stall or even a larger space, that can be matted, mirrored (many folks use horse arena mirrors), and designated as an area for working out or receiving alternative modality treatments is, it makes sense to utilize it.
Many therapies including medical technologies that are utilized on horses are also commonly administered by the right licensed professional to humans too. For example, consider how many equine massage professionals also treat people? Why not make that barn call fee more worthwhile?
The barn gym availability also saves money on expensive and often unfulfilled use of gym memberships. Its provision negates the need to commute to a gym and schedule attendance to their hours of operation and provides a private retreat for yoga, tai-chi or other fitness routines. Many horse barns already include a bathroom with hot and cold running water, so adding a shower unit is very straightforward if one is wanted.
The addition of a rather handy detached sauna on the premises can provide a means to embrace another level of fitness and health benefits. The long-standing use of saunas for equestrian athletes such as jockeys is well-known. A weight loss method, perhaps a hangover cure too with its detoxification powers, the sauna offers many more health benefits to the user. Skin rejuvenation, improved cardiovascular function, stress relief and pain reduction to name just a few.
When athletes have access to everything in one space then taking advantage of using all the services available will likely happen.
If you run a large boarding barn or equestrian facility adding a gym can provide a valuable opportunity to make additional income from the users of the gym and/or the option to offer add-on health services such as massage, reiki etc. Just be certain to attain appropriate liability insurance for its provision if you are charging for services.
If a horse barn gym appeals to you, converting an existing stall space may be the answer. For new barn builds adding a specific space for a gym room is very doable. Modular barn builds of saunas are also quick and easy to have delivered and set up. Just ‘add water’ and some lighting, and you’re ready to sweat out all those toxins and enjoy the relaxation and other health benefits a sauna provides.
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Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high-res photos.
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
Photos are available on request.
About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
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Grand Prix Dressage