Customization of your new horse barn is an important and fun aspect of barn shopping. While it is always smart to purchase your equine abode from a company that includes lots of extras as standard features—such as kickwalls, windows and gable vents—it is equally essential that you don’t forget an addition to your project that will make the world of difference in its daily use. It is better to pay a little extra now to include the particular feature in your design that you want than to regret its absence later.
Here, in no particular order, are the top 5 barn upgrades that make all the difference to both the usability and the pleasure that can be derived from their addition:
1. Stables and Stalls
The size of a stable or stall matters a great deal when it comes to the frequent task of mucking it out and working alongside its equine occupant. A few extra feet provides room to maneuver and offers an extra level of safety when working in the confines of four sturdy walls with a 1,200 pound critter.
Horses enjoy freedom of movement for both physical and mental health, so having the opportunity to circle around a stall rather than always step sideways to move is a plus for their comfort. The larger the stall space, the less likely a horse is to become cast in the stall.
The provision of an additional stall or two can also be beneficial not just for horse housing but also as additional overflow storage space for feed, hay, bedding supplies and equipment such as pitch forks and muck baskets. The extra space can also be used as a tack/grooming stall and/or wash stall.
2. Don’t Forget The Gutter
Uncontained or undirected water flow can be an impediment to the use of any building. It can damage the foundation of the structure, migrate under walls to flood stalls and tack rooms, and can cause ice, mud and annoying puddles at entrances and along the side of the building.
A roof discharges large amounts of water at one time, so if there is no gutter system in place, the water will splash on the ground and cause a channel along which the liquid will inevitably find its way to the lowest point on the graded apron, where it will puddle. The aesthetics of the barn siding might be compromised by the appearance of mud-splattered walls as a result of the water splash.
If the barn facilitates inside/outside access for its horse inhabitants, then despite even the best efforts at French drain systems, the area will inevitably become saturated and mud mayhem will result.
Gutters and downspouts are not expensive, so add them rather than forget them.
3. Lofty Ideals
The provision of a loft space with easy access (a staircase rather than a wall ladder), offers valuable storage for small square hay bales, tack, supplies or even an office/living area.
It is sensible to include some form of passive ventilation and natural light source to service the loft as this will facilitate more pleasurable use.
4. Dang—I Wish My Barn Had An Overhang
The ubiquitous presence of an overhang on horse barns is not without good reason. It is a reasonably priced addition to a structure that encompasses many benefits. Horses that have exterior stall door access to a view with Dutch doors can have their heads out in the fresh air in all types of weather. The stall bedding stays dry no matter what direction the wind shifts or what Mother Nature pours down from above, and the whole building is cooler in hot weather as the overhang protects the walls from the heating effects of the sun.
The shelter from an overhang also offers extra storage for expensive assets like UTVs, ATVs, or trailers and can be utilized for storage of barn supplies or under cover space for tacking up/grooming duties.
At the end of a long, hot day in the saddle or instructing students in a dusty ring, a few chairs placed under the overhang can provide a place to sit and sip a cold beverage. The shaded seating is always a welcome respite for a few moments of peace and quiet during a busy work schedule.
5. The Cupola
The cupola is a traditional method of increasing the passive ventilation in a barn. A cupola looks pretty on a horse barn, especially with a weathervane atop, but its value in improvement of the air quality within the barn during all types of weather is a boon for both horse and human.
About Horizon Structures
One horse or 20, 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 play sets.
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 our website at https://www.horizonstructures.com.
This article was authored by Nikki Alvin-Smith.