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Q: What are the favorite features of your horse barn?

Jamie from Arizona – What I really love about my horse barn is that I (finally) got to build it from the ground up!  For decades, I’d worked in other horse stables that were inefficient or falling apart.  By the time I could build my own, I knew what was important and what to avoid.  Top picks for favorite horse barn features include good barn and turnout drainage, interlocking rubber pavers, and great quality stall dividers and barn material.  I also love the things that ended up saving me money in the long run, like my energy-efficient lighting and rubber horse mats.
That said, the horse barn accessories I’m probably most happy with are my Dutch doors and the swing out feeders. Ha!  I still smile every time I swing them out.
It’s the little things…

half wall horse barn

Half walls with bars are great for social horses, keeping them safe while allowing interaction.

Horse Lover from the USA – I have a pole barn structure so there’s great ventilation for my hot and humid climate.  My barn is 4 stalls… each stall measures  12’x12′, inside dimensions.  The feed/storage stall area is the same.  Each horse stall has lower walls of solid plank, with bars along the top half. The bars on top allow for nice ‘neighbor visits’ between the horse and also keep the peace when horses are being fed or are on stall confinement for any reason. The horses can give dirty looks but no touching or bickering is allowed! The stall doors are open on top, half doors, and situated that no two are next to each other.  This ensures that they cannot harass the neighbor horse…

My horse barn has great ventilation for my hot and humid climate.  The walls, bottom to top, measure 8 1/2 feet high, my barn height to the rafters is 12′, not including the peak.
My storage stall is the same design so it doesn’t get too hot or muggy, either. This stall holds equipment and can fit 2 tons of hay easily, when stacked properly. Even when filled to capacity with all “my goodies” inside my storage stall, I have ample walk-around space.
In winter I put up heavy clear panels that allow light but stop that cold breeze making the barn warmer.
The barn has an overhang {built more like Shedrow Horse Barn} of 16 feet which allows the horses to come stand under the roof for weather protection.  This is great for getting out of the heat and rain, or just to lie down and rest in the shade if they wish. The backside of my barn also has an overhang of 4 feet, so stays pretty dry inside.
Around the barn, I put up wooden plank fence.  The fields are wire fenced so no barb wire for my horses! All gates are wide enough so farm equipment can easily pass through.  There are no outside perimeter gates on my property. You must drive through my personal driveway to access the barns and pasture space.
OK…so the one thing I wish I had known to do when building….
The barn has a metal roof.
When it rains it is horrible noisy, for me! No idea if the horses mind, but they are under cover if it is nasty out.
I wish I had put some type of insulation on the roof panels to cut the noise of rain. That insulation may also have made the barn a little cooler or warmer depending upon the season.

Nana D  from the United States – The best things about my horse barn is the European look of the stalls and setup.  Everything is heavy duty steel and brass… it’s beautiful!  It reminds me of my childhood, when I visited my grandparents.  The doors have a nice dip so the horses can be more social and look around if they’re bored.  The walls are half walls, which also allow great interaction.  Most have bars but one or two of the stalls is really reinforced with bars completely between the stalls, so if one of the horses gets aggressive, we can prevent any troubles.  In general, though, we run a tight ship and my horse team works and gets along well.

JCnGrace from Indiana – This past Saturday, I saw something new – a barn door that ran pretty much the entire length of the barn. Flip a switch and the door raised automatically, using motors and a ratchet system. You could stop it wherever you wanted.  It could create an overhang. Think how nice that would be on really hot days where you could open it enough to let the air move but still have the overhang block the sun. I guess it’s a pretty expensive system though. I’m adding it to my list of things I’ll have if I ever hit the lottery.

Kilts from Pennsylvania –  I like our barn a lot.  Here’s what I like most:

hay loft horse barn

Hay lofts like this will save time… and your back! Simply drop the hay in the stalls below.

The hay loft opens to the stalls below so you can throw hay directly into the stalls without making a mess all over the aisles. Having no ceiling above the stalls helps with ventilation too.
– The stall floors are packed stone dust with fitted rubber mats on top. This surface drains, is easy to clean, and is much more forgiving than cement, but it doesn’t get dug out like a dirt floor, and because the mats are fitted, they don’t move, or lift out of place.
– Cement aisles. Our cement has not been slippery. It’s just easy to clean, remains level, and is not dusty.
– Built-in saddle racks on the wall of the tack room. This makes for more vertical storage, and eliminates the crowd of awkward folding racks that were in a lot of the tack rooms where I boarded.
– Real stairs! I hate having to climb a ladder to get into the hay loft.
– Removable yolks in the stall doors, so the horses can have their heads out or be locked in.
– A row of lights on each side of the aisle instead of just one down the center. This makes it easier to see when grooming your horse after dark or before dawn.
– Our no-climb fences require minimal maintenance.
– Stone dust in high traffic areas keeps mud to a minimum.
– Smaller, stone dust paddocks are great for turnout to prevent overgrazing of pastures, and churning up mud in wet weather.
– We have an actual feed room with a door. This is great because you don’t have to sacrifice a whole stall for feed storage or leave your feed somewhere where a loose horse might get into it.
– Feed holes in the stalls with corner feeders, so you can feed horses without having to go into the stall.

Horse Barn Wash Stall

Wash stalls may sometimes collect extra equipment. If this happens, it may be time for another storage building!

Here’s what I don’t like:
– We are lacking storage for wheel barrows and pitch forks. We store that stuff in the wash stall and have to move it all every time we want to use the wash stall.
– There are only a few spigots, all close to the barn, so we have to drag huge lengths of hose all over the place to reach outdoor water troughs. Would be nice to have a few spigots out by far away turnouts.
– Buildings, gates, manure piles etc. are spread out. I’d arrange things a bit closer together for convenience and to save time not having to walk so far.
– Because things are spread out, there’s a lot of lawn in between things. Too much mowing!
– We only have 1 run-in shed. Run-ins are great, because you can just leave your horses out whatever the weather. Right now we have to rush and bring the horses into the barn if storms roll in because they have inadequate shelter. Someday we hope to remedy this.
– We have very few trees, therefore not a lot of shade. This is another thing that I hope to fix soon.

From the USA to Canada and Australia, we can count on experienced equine enthusiasts for the best advice.  From good barn lighting to social Dutch doors to convenience in the hay lofts, having ideas and words of wisdom before you start building your custom horse barn is always a good idea!

Do you have an questions or horse barn favorites you’d like to add?  We’d love to hear about them in the comment section below!