Cori grew up on her family's small grain and livestock operation in Northwest Indiana. In 2018, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Marian University Indianapolis. Having shown beef cattle for 12 years at the county, state, and national levels, Cori chose to pursue a career in agriculture. Today, she serves as the Marketing Content Creator on the FBi team. In her free time, Cori enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, listening to live music, and traveling.
Deciphering between your needs and wants and determining how those will affect your budget can be exhausting. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you start to second guess yourself on building size, features, materials, etc. Grrr!
Don’t give up just yet. Sometimes you need a push in the right direction.
In this article, we detail eight design tips to consider when building your dream horse barn. From stall sizes to ventilation systems, we’ve got you covered. What once was an idea will become a reality in no time!
1) The More Horse Stalls the Merrier
When designing your equine facility, we recommend planning space for more horses.
Sure, you own four horses at the moment. But what’ll happen when you decide to purchase one or two more on a whim? Now, you’re out of space.
We’d hate for you to run out of horse stalls. Or worse, turn down opportunities to expand your operation because there’s no room to do so.
Even if you don’t plan on acquiring more horses anytime soon, you can always use the extra stalls as storage space. Who could say no to that?
Overall, it’s important to consider future growth and design your horse barn accordingly.
2) The Bigger Horse Stall & Aisle the Better
According to equestrian enthusiasts, an ideal stall size is 12’ x 12’. Of course, if you own miniature horses or ponies, you can get by with a smaller pen.
Nevertheless, a horse should always have enough room to get up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
As for aisles, please give thought to your mobility needs. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you have adequate space to move your animals from stall to stall or another area?
Is there room for you to saddle up your horse?
Can you drive a utility tractor or vehicle through the barn to unload feed or haul bedding?
We suggest 12’ and above for aisle length. Anything less will leave your horse barn feeling and looking constrained.
Altogether, cramped horse stalls and aisles are inefficient and hinder your building flow.
3) Add a Wash Bay for Your Horses
Like humans, horses need a shower too. Instead of tying them to the nearest tree, we recommend installing a well-designed wash bay.
The best part is that you can rinse your horses off any time of the year with a designated space inside.
As you map out a wash area, please consider the following factors:
A wash rack should be convenient to use. Since water is involved, you’ll want to make sure that it’s situated far away from tack and feed areas, as well as riding arenas. Trust us; you don’t want wet leather, feed, or riders.
If possible, we suggest placing wash racks near the laundry and restroom facilities. You’ll save money with water and sewer lines already there.
Although it’s costly, a concrete slab will provide a durable surface for washing horses. Score the top layer with a broom or rake to eliminate any slips.
Gravel may drain well, but most horses don’t like to stand on uneven flooring for long periods.
Drainage & Runoff
Drainage should be at the top of your list if you want to build a useful wash bay. Water runs downhill; therefore, you should locate your wash rack at a high point within your horse barn.
Next, you should make sure the concrete slab is even. Install a drain for wastewater to exit. Avoid clogs by keeping this area free of hair and manure (as much as possible). Runoff should be water only.
Water & Electricity
Water and electricity are a deadly combination. For you and your horses’ safety, please make sure that a licensed electrician installs all wiring.
Avoid electrical outlets near the wash stalls. If you install a water heater, you’ll need to store it in a waterproof cupboard.
When in doubt, always check with an experienced contractor or electrician for proper installation techniques. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: horse stall size matters.
Small wash bays are not only inconvenient but dangerous for groomers. Not all horses will cooperate. The last thing you’d want is to be in a tight space with an unruly animal.
As a result, we recommend 12’ x 12’ wash bays with built-in rails. This stall size is enough room for a horse to walk in and turn around, while the groomer easily (and safely) cleans those hard-to-reach areas. It’s a win-win situation.
4) Install an Air Ventilation System
Sufficient airflow is crucial for your animals’ health. Every equine facility should have a ventilation system installed.
Hay acts as an insulator. The larger the stack, the less cooling that occurs to counteract the heat.
No farmer, rancher, or stable owner wants to see his/her building and equipment engulfed in flames. Then, you add livestock to the mix. It’s an unfortunate and devastating occurrence.
With that being said, we suggest storing your hay or straw away from the horse barn.
8) Never Say Never to Extra Amenities
Perhaps, the best part of post frame construction is its versatile nature. Your floor plan includes the basic necessities: stalls, wash bays, and a tack room.
Now, it’s time to splurge on extra amenities that you’ll appreciate.
Add living quarters equipped with a kitchen, laundry room, and restroom. Don’t forget to include comfy furnishings (e.g., couch and TV) to enjoy after a long day at work. It’s your home away from home!
Take your equine facility to the next level with a well-sized indoor riding arena – no need to haul your horses somewhere else for a ride.
There are plenty of flexible horse barn designs that you and your animals can both enjoy. Don’t have room in the budget for these upgrades? No worries, you can always add-on to your post frame building.
If a floor plan catches your eye, but you’d like to make a few minor tweaks, please let us know. All of our post frame structures are customizable. No cookie-cutter floor plans here. Our equine facilities are built around your needs.
Also, you can design your pole barn with our online 3D Design Tool. Save, print, or email your floor plan to family and friends.
Are you ready for a quote? Submit your design to us, and a member of our sales team will give you a call to begin the estimating process.
If you're looking for more resources on building a horse barn or horse barn designs, we also recommend that you take a look at the Top 100 Equestrian Blogs.
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