Thursday, July 14, 2011

Debating Horse Barns

(post by Jason)

Melissa and I have been doing a bunch of thinking about what the next barn at the new farm needs to look like and be able to do. As most of you know, we've already built one fully functional horse barn at the new farm. The question at this point is do we need another fully functional horse barn, just like the one we already built, or would another type of structure suit our purposes better ?

In many ways that count, I like our horse barn. It was designed to make the work easy and to be comfortable for the horses when they need to be inside. But ours is a very non-traditional boarding operation. With a few exceptions, our horses don't spend any real time in their stalls. Most of the horses live outside on pasture. With the exception of farrier days, when someone needs to see the vet, and when the dentist comes, the stalls stand empty. When we think about allocating financial resources as wisely as possible it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend that much money on another "single purpose" structure that stands empty most of the time.

To be sure, anything we build needs to have a place to hold horses temporarily; perhaps a few stalls and a crosstie area for when the farrier, vet or dentist needs to pay a visit. But I don't think it needs to be designed as a typical horse barn would be. Horses aren't going to live in it full time; they are going to come to it, stay a short time, and either return to be with their friends or move to our other barn which is designed for more permanent accommodations.

What I'd really like is a big, open, versatile center structure with two partially or fully enclosed sheds, one on each side. As I see it right now, partially or fully enclosed sheds might lend themselves to preparing feed, temporarily stalling and cross-tieing horses, and storing and accessing voluminous numbers of blankets and supplies. A large, open center structure could potentially store hay, feed, bedding, and odd pieces of wayward equipment, especially during inclement weather. It would also provide a safe, sheltered, cool place to work on horses, and could incorporate some portable stalls if it became necessary.

Since we are still undecided as to what sort of structure we are going to build, and since I'm always open to good ideas, I'm going to be very curious to hear what everyone has to say on this !



Murphy, Chili and Fuzzy

Alex, Darby and B-Rad

Dutch and Wiz

Cuff Links




Silver, Gus, Fonzi and Asterik on the run

Faune, Winston, Romeo and George were also having a good run


Bif said...

My old coach has "temporary stalls" available in his indoor should pastured horses have to come in... In the corners, there are two wood and bars stall panels (one with a door!) attached to lie nearly flush with the walls, but open up quickly and super easily into stalls. Not sure if this is a helpful idea, but easier than wrestling pipe panels around.

Jason said...

Yes MUCHO easier than wrestling corral panels around ! That's definitely something to think about !

Laura said...

Interesting point - why build another complete "proper" horse barn, if you don't need too?

I don't have much input really - I'm sure you guys will think of a great set-up. I do like the idea of temporary stalls - if there is a way to set that up fairly easily, it would make sense.

It must be very rewarding to desingn your barn/facilities from the ground up instead of trying to make an existing set-up work.

My barn owner renovated an old cow barn and had to raise the ceilings and do all kinds of work...

Candy'sGirl said...

I'd vote on a multi-pupose structure. It doesn't sound like you guys really use a traditional horse barn the majority of the time - and you already have one. I'd do something with some kind of portable/temporary stalls for the, what?, 3 days a year you'd need to stall *everyone* that you can also store vehicles/hay/have a cool/warm/dry/well lit place for building projects/farriers/whatever.

phaedra96 said...

I think a multi-purpose structure is the way to go. Plan it to be made into temporary stalls if they are needed; and how quickly and with how many people to manhandle(move) the temps. How will you store them. Wind, rain, snow issues? I have seen tornado-ish winds flip barn roofs back on them selves in the blink of an eye!

Monsters Groom said...

Here's a thought. If you build a barn exterior you could have it set up with sliding and folding walls so if you need the stalls there are fairly easy to set up but when folded/slid back the area would remain open for storage of equipment. The front stall walls could be set on tracks from the celing hovering slightly above ground level with slidepins at the bottem to hold them when they are in use and the side walls hinged on the exterior barn walls to fold out when needed again slightly above ground level with slidepins at the bottem and slide bolts on the ends to hold them in place. You could also leave the side panels stored away and create on large run in type stall. Depending on how many stalls you want would depend on hoe many tracks you would need. Or the other option would be both front and side panels are hinged together off of the wall to fold out and create "L" s starting at on end of the barn. If you use rubber mats they would be left down year round and you throw down shavings as needed in the temporary satlls.For blanket storage depending if you hang or fold blanket you can create a pulley drop down system be it shelves or hooks from the celing to store them out of the way and away from rodents.

SpectrumDiva said...

What about the octagonal structures they have at broodmare farms in Europe and (copied by Hilltop farm in the US).

I think they are designed around the same concept- not as much stabling needed, more access areas and more work areas.

Heather said...

Here's an idea. Rather than putting more than one or two stalls in the open barn area, why not put two or three small (16x16) paddocks in the area outside the barn.

Horses can just as easily wait in one of the paddocks for their turn for a bath. And in a crunch, a paddock of that size could hold two horses for a short time.