by Nikki Alvin-Smith
The design stage of your horse barn is the perfect opportunity to consider how you’d like to best manage the time needed to complete horse care tasks. Smart planning moves now can save both time and labor later. Here are the top 10 horse barn design tips to keep your horse operation working efficiently that will translate into providing you with more time to spend doing what you love, riding, training and ‘loving on’ your horses.
- The low profile or high-profile center aisle barn offers great access to horse stalls no matter what the weather: This design eliminates the need to dig out stall doors during snowfall. Entranceways placed at each gable end also mitigate any snowfall from the roof from impeding access to the interior of the barn.
- Incorporate exterior wall Dutch door design to each stall: The Dutch door exit to each equine living area facilitates an option for quick turnout of each horse with minimal handling, either to a small enclosure/ paddock outside or to a greater expanse of pasture beyond. This will reduce bedding expenses and the labor and time needed to clean stalls.
- Incorporate an overhang shelter: The addition of an overhang to the long sides of the building, with access from Dutch doors mentioned above, provides an additional protection to the bedding materials in the stall from rain and snow when the top door of the stable is left open. That means less mess to muck out. Leaving the top door open defrays boredom in the stabled horse and allows passive ventilation for the barn and imports healthy fresh air. Expense wise an overhang is a relatively cheap way to also provide handy parking for motorized vehicles such as UTVs and offers safe tool storage.
- Place hay and feed storage areas at the ends of the barn by entranceways: Delivery of feed and forage to the storage area on ground level with close access to the large main barn entry doors saves time walking it back and forth to a central location. At feeding times, a UTV or wheelbarrow can be loaded up for the entire aisle delivery and move along the line in one easy sweep. This minimizes the mess in the aisleways caused by walking back and forth from a central location as well as expediting delivery time.
- Place tack rooms/offices/break rooms/grooming/wash stalls in a central barn location: This allows a maximum opportunity for supervision of activities at these locations, is a more secure site for expensive tack and equipment and saves much running back and forth between tack storage and grooming areas. A horse left alone on the cross-ties is always a recipe for disaster so keeping your horse in view is also a good safety option.
- Install feeder and hay bins in front stall walls: Utilization of hardware that swings feeding bins and forage baskets in and out of the stall space without the requirement to enter the stall saves time. Ensure the feeder bin has an insert for easy cleanup.
- Faucets inside the barn: Frost free faucets placed inside the barn eliminate the need to trudge in and out of the building to source water. It also facilitates easy hose access if needed for barns without wash stalls.
- Automatic waterers: While automatic waters require careful monitoring to ensure they are in optimal working condition, are kept clean and that the horses are consuming enough water, their inclusion into a barn design saves a significant amount of time filling water buckets.
- Add a loft space: For small bale hay storage, extra storage for winter blankets and show equipment, consider adding a loft space in the barn design. The loft area will preferably have a full staircase access option to mitigate the risk of use of a wall ladder. Hatches hinged in the ceiling above each stall can allow for easy, mess free distribution of hay supplies to the stables below.
- Consider a multi-use barn: Designing your horse barn for all types of horsepower and for multi-purpose use of different animals or business/hobby operations can save time and motion going back and forth between locations in order to complete tasks.
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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