I am moving my farm to a new facility at the end of the month; and am looking for some ideas to winterize the barn. It is super open and airy (converted cow barn). Previous owners would nail plastic over the top half (which is welded wire) for the winter. I am curious if anyone has used barn curtains, like FarnTek offers. I think a roll-up curtain would be a much more practical and convenient solution....
I hope your horses have nerves of steel. I tried clear plastic curtains for my open barn, and the wind incessantly poofed them in and out, scaring the bejeezers outta my horses. After two weeks I still couldn't convince them that the plastic wasn't the Crystalline Entity from Star Trek. So I ended up taking down the curtains, putting the horses in expensive waterproof turnouts, and beginning work on a new barn with actual walls.
I love an open barn, but they can be worse than useless in windy/rainy situations when there's insufficient overhang.
Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life
I agree, it hinges on your horses' nerves.... I've seen the heavy plastic flaps work really well but they are the original horse spookers. Maybe one of those farmtek buildings all the way over the top of the barn, like a snow roof? They still ripple in a strong wind but in a more generalized manner instead of RIGHT THERE.
At my old barn, we would shut down half of the barn in the winter and keep all the horses on the "main" side. The BOs would stack hay or straw bales (the huge square ones) from the floor to ceiling to seal off the unused half, and then hang huge black tarps in front of them. The hay prevented the tarps from blowing out and added valuable insulation.
It worked really really well. The barn was not heated, but the body-heat from the horses kept the barn above freezing at all times, even though they were only inside at night.
We have an old traditional dairy barn which we use only for feeding in straight stalls. All the windows in it were broken when we acquired the farm. We replaced the windows with translucent plastic panels (called patio panels). These are corrigated, rigid and not too expensive. They have served our needs well in a quite cold winter climate. We don't remove ours (only use barn for feeding)
but they could easily be set up like old fashioned storm windows and installed and removed seasonally.
Two years ago, when it incredibly cold here I hung tarps around the stalls. Used bungee cords and hay strings secure the tarps to to top rail around each stall. My horses seemed to appreciate the wind break somewhat warmer stalls.
"Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
Courtesy my cousin Tim
I have the farmtek roll up curtains and some strip door sections. My horses snorted at first and then got over themselves after about 2 days.
I like them a lot - my barn is a bank barn and the 'cellar' is a huge run in, open all the way across (100 feet). I have 4 curtains and the 2 end sections have the strip doors. It keeps it much nicer in the winter when it's windy. For the past 2 summers I've actually left 2 of them rolled down because it seems to offer a more temperate spot for them.
You do need to be sort of handy and have a second person when it comes to setting them up, but it's possible to roll and unroll them by yourself. The strip doors you can do by yourself. They are not as long-lasting and need to be put back up every so often.
Farm Tek was very helpful in getting me what I needed - most of their roll up systems involve diagonal wires from top to bottom - not going to work for horses!
I did have to use some yankee ingenuity to adapt to my barn, but they do work and the horses totally get used to them.
We do have a problem, that those strips in our fierce winds tend to eventually get beaten into pieces.
We have now replaced parts of our open front with some panels we made and kept the strips to smaller openings and in the summers, we may duct tape several strips together, to keep them from beating around too much and let more air under there:
Open barns are great, but we also found out that having some of it closed, as we did with our panels, gave the horses a better, shadier place to be even in the hottest of summer.
Horses voted with their feet, standing there, behind those panels.
We have not had not one horse yet be afraid of the strips or not go thru them.
In fact, some love to go thru them to keep flies off their bodies or stand there and let the strips "massage" them.