Whether you are building a new barn, or refurbishing an old one, there are many things that you need to keep in mind as you make your designs

Whether you are building a new barn, or refurbishing an old one, there are many things that you need to keep in mind as you make your designs. Here are five important things you will want to consider as your make your plans.

1. Will you be Boarding or Keeping your Own Horses?

If you are looking to board horses, you will need to plan your barn with more amenities that you might have considered if you only planned to keep your own horses. Boarders choose their facilities according to what the barn offers, and this includes “extras” such as wash stalls, bathrooms, grooming areas and indoor arenas. While these may cost more at first, you will be able to retrieve some of that money by charging a higher board rate than you would be able to otherwise.

2. What type of Flooring is Best?

Dirt floors are easiest of course, but be aware that it does not take long for the dirt to get worn down and need repair. Stone screenings drain well and pack down to a hard surface, but horses can still dig holes, so the screenings need to be replenished eventually. Cement can get slippery and while adding texture helps, it tends to wear off over time. Asphalt also is a decent floor, but it is hard on the legs. With both cement and asphalt the stalls usually need rubber stall mats to protect the horses when they sleep. Interlocking brick looks great at first, but over time the bricks shift and become uneven. Take your time to explore all your flooring options and choose one that is both durable and safe. It might cost a bit more, but not having to re-floor the barn every two years is worth it.

3. How will you Distribute Water?

While the hose and bucket method works well enough, it is labor intensive, and leaking hoses are terribly frustrating in cold winter weather. Many barns set up automatic watering systems, which are practical, but hard to keep clean. Another neat option is to set up a system that has piping and taps for each stall, allowing you to fill the buckets at the stall. The buckets are easily removed for cleaning as necessary. Whatever system you use, it is essential to have a reliable source of water at the barn, which doesn’t freeze in cold weather.

4. Plan your Exits

There is nothing more frustrating than having a barn that you can’t get in or out of. Be sure that you not only have adequate entrances, but that they are accessible. There should be at least two entrances at least four feet wide through which horses can easily pass, and one or more people entrances in addition to the horse ones.

5. Be sure to Include Storage

You will need a place to store your hay, your extra grain bags, and your extra tack and equipment. There is a lot more to a barn than just the stalls. If you have tractors or other farm equipment, you should plan a place to store them out of the elements. Without adequate storage space, you will constantly have to struggle to supply yourself with hay and grain, which you will not have room to store in advance.

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