Five Tips for Designing a Better Small Horse Barn

Construction & Contractors Articles

Most every horse owner dreams of having their own 40-stall barn with foaling stalls, heat, and a shower in the tack room. But in reality, budget and space constraints mean most horse owners have to settle for something a bit smaller. With careful planning and the right design, your four- or six-stall barn can be as an enjoyable as a luxury breeding stable. Here are five tips for designing a better small horse barn.

Always include extra stalls.

If you currently have two horses, plan for a four-stall barn. If you think four will be your limit, build six stalls. There are almost certain to be times where you need to house a friend's horse for a week while she's between boarding stables, take in a rescue you feel sorry for, or keep the neighbor's pony while their barn is under construction. If you don't have enough stalls available for these last-minute add-ons, your barn will feel small and limiting. With the extra stalls, you'll have more pride in your barn because you know it's set up to handle whatever horses life may bring to you. You can always use the spare stalls to store wheelbarrows or extra tack in the meantime.

Build storage into your tack room.

The tack room often turns into the gathering place where the humans hang out and chat. Visitors will understand that stalls and aisles get dirty, but it's an unspoken rule in the equestrian community that the tack room must be tidy. If your tack room is just an empty space, you'll be forced to rely on folding saddle racks and big, clumsy tack trunks for storage. So, have wall-mounted saddle racks, bridle racks, and plenty of shelves built into your tack-room walls. The matching look will make fellow equestrians who visit your barn swoon.

Make sure there's adequate ventilation.

Horses kept in well-ventilated barns have fewer health issues, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. When you have several horses kept in a smaller barn, the barn tends to get stuffy and humid if it's not specifically designed to vent properly. Not only is this bad for the horses, but it can really cause those urine smells to intensify in the summer. Make sure the team that's designing your barn includes a good roof ventilation system. Eave and peak roof ventilation works well throughout the seasons. Make sure your design also includes several large doors so you can open them and let the breeze flow through when weather permits.

Consider creating hay storage in a separate building.

Storing hay in the same barn as your horses tends to create messes, especially when your barn is small and the hay storage is almost forced to be right near the stalls and tack room. Designing the barn so it's easy to get in and stack large quantities of hay is also a challenge. Your barn will stay a lot neater if you build a separate shed for hay storage. Use a wheelbarrow to bring the hay over for each feeding, or store just a few bales at a time in a spare stall.

Include personalized details whenever possible.

This barn might be small, but it's yours -- and that's something to be proud of! Including some personalized details in the design will make it feel more like your own. For example, you could hang shoes from your first horse above each of the stalls (with the heels pointed up so the luck doesn't drain out, of course). Have each horse's name burned into the wood on the front of the stalls, or name your barn and have its name boldly displayed above the front door. If the barn feels like home, it will never feel too small.


22 September 2016

Adding a Man Cave to Your Home: Tips

I have always loved baseball, and when the world series arrives each year, I enjoy inviting my friends over to watch the games. As our family grew, it became difficult for all of our guests to fit in our living room. We decided that we needed a dedicated "man cave" in our home, but we didn't have an extra room to build it in. We thought long and hard about how we could add it, but we finally decided to turn our garage into the man cave and have a carport built onto our home to park our cars under. I have always been interested in learning more handy-work, so I enjoyed watching the contractors build both the man cave and car port. I thought I would start a blog to share what I learned during the building process to help other homeowners!