No two barn projects are ever alike, that’s what makes upgrades fun. Stable owners can choose from an endless list of must haves and wishes. Sometimes upgrades are practical—a leaky roof must be patched, broken concrete must be repaired and worn out stall mats should be replaced.
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“If you are holding your stall door on with baling wire, then perhaps it’s time for some upgrades,” said equine facility designer Lachlan Oldaker.
Other times it might just be time for a facelift or upgrading to the latest design trends, adding improvements that support natural light and better ventilation. Or it might be that the focus of your business has shifted from one discipline to another or from competition to pleasure riding.
Not sure where to start? Oldaker shares ideas for enhancements:
- Automatic waterers
- New flooring
- Lighting and fans
- A tack room, new or renovated
- A covered arena
- Therapy equipment to support the training program
- An office area
- A new stable entrance
- Upgraded driveways and more.
“The first step in approaching upgrades is inspecting your barn thoroughly and making an assessment of items and equipment that are in need of attention,” she said. “The first priority in any assessment should be the safety of the horses.”
Check for broken pieces, loose or protruding nails, hooks or screws and questionable electrical items that could pose a fire hazard. Those items should be addressed first before visual changes are considered.
Finances are always a factor. Before starting any project, establish your budget. Create a wish list, gather costs for each and plan the timeline or phases for the improvement.
“Not everything needs or can be done in one pass depending on budgets,” she said. “A lot depends on the condition of the barn and how much needs to be done. Identify problem areas and define priorities.”