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Building barn at home-advice needed

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  • Building barn at home-advice needed

    Husband and I are starting to seriously think about putting up a barn on our property. We only have a couple of acres so really not ever looking to have more than 2 horses and a mini.

    Husband is a a builder and we have someone who is going to mill logs off of our property into boards for us, so labor and materials is not a huge factor. However, the flat area where we’d like to put the barn is somewhat limiting so trying to keep a smaller footprint. The mill needs a materials list in the next couple weeks so we need to finalize a basic layout/footprint.

    These are the 3 layouts I have in mind:

    36x30 with 3 12x12 stalls on the long side, 1 of which will be used for storage. Then on the opposite side a 12x6 tack/feed room, stairs to the loft and a storage area for bigger items (tractor, snow plow, etc.).

    36x24 with 3 12x12 stalls on the long side, 1 would be used for tack and feed. I would have loft stairs somewhere as well.

    24x30 with 3 10x12 stalls (current horse is only about 15 hands and they will have access to in-and-outs unless weather is extremely bad), again, one stall for storage, would probably be used as tack/feed room in this set up, and I would have stairs to a loft somewhere as well.

    Regardless of footprint the aisle and any additional storage space will be concrete and the stalls will probably be crushed stone with mats.

    I know there have been lots of threads on barn building/design and layout but was wondering if anyone has a similar set up to what I’ve posted above and what are the pros and cons?


  • #2
    My 20/20 Hindsight advice is to maximize pasture & give up as much "useless" lawn space as possible.
    I am on 5ac & wish I had done perimeter fencing, leaving maybe 1/2ac for the house & gardens.
    Who needs to mow a lawn?

    PROS:
    *for me, never having to turn horses in or out - they have free access to stalls 24/7/365.
    Even in the Polar Vortex Winter they preferred Out over In most days.
    *frost-free hydrant inside the barn means no frozen water EVER.
    I have heated buckets in the stalls & a 50gal barrel just outside the front door to the barn - kept liquid with a sinking de-icer.
    CONS:
    *left too much lawn to mow (now contracted to a landscaper)
    Otherwise I am most happy with my setup.

    My Herd is presently 16H TWH, 13H Hackney & 34" mini.
    As it is, I used about 1/2 my acreage for 36X36 metal pole barn with 2 12X12 stalls along the East (least exposure to weather) wall & 10X10 mini stall added last year.
    I store a year's worth of small square bales on pallets across from the stalls, leaving me a 12' aisle.
    No walking up & down from a loft.
    300 bales take up about 2/3 of the space, leaving me plenty room for a tack/ feed area & to store my wire mini cart.
    Barn is centered in sacrifice paddock, that opens to pastures either side.
    Large field is around 1ac, smaller field 1/2ac-ish.

    Layout:
    (this is when brand new, there is now grass in the pastures - converted from corn/bean fields)




    Here's the stalls when brand-new (15yrs ago):




    The Herd of 3:
    (note grass growing through gravel-over-geotextile in the sacrifice area)





    Mini stall in progress:

    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's my advice -- spend a lot of time thinking about the entire horse setup layout, what you need, and do everything you can to make it as efficient as possible.

      I spent probably a year working on mine. What I did is (with the help of my engineer dad) make a to-scale layout of my property on graph paper I put where the house would go (that was set) and then (to-scale) made cutouts of potential things I wanted -- so, say, a 30x30 barn, and a 36x36 barn, and a 200x100 arena, and 40 foot runs coming off the barn, etc. Then I moved them around and planned. I'm talking placement, useage (how do I make this chore-friendly with the minimum steps possible? how do horses get what they need with minimum handling?), drainage issues, etc etc etc.

      I ended up with a sheds-with-runs that go to a paddock that go to pastures. Everything is modular, and everything is incredibly easy to use, whether it's winter or summer, wet or dry. People talk about spending hours on chores every day. Well, I have 3 horses and chores take maybe 3 hours a WEEK. I can move horses around, separate them, etc all without a lot of handling.

      Whenever friends come over they always comment on how useful my setup is. It's been about 5 years and I'm happy as a clam.

      That being said, I wanted a barn like yours and got run-in sheds instead. It was cheaper. I totally wanted a 36x36 three-stall barn with runs and all the hay/tack/play area I could want. Hope you get yours! :-D

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd go a bit bigger than I think I want or need right now. I'd think about adding an overhang to my stall side if they'll have in/out access to minimize bedding loss, and mud. Are you considering access to mud free paddocks and pasture?
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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        • #5
          we keep our miniatures in stalls that are much smaller than 12by12 ...we even took a 12by12 suddivided it into two 8by6 for the miniatures

          From Experience... if you have a 12by12 stall available a horse will be found to occupy it, so if you really only want the 2 horses and a mini that third stall can be downsized considerably

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          • #6
            clanter Murphy's Equine Law?

            Even though my mini has - to quote another COTHer - the Taj MaStall, he goes there so he can get his grain. Period.
            Otherwise he can be found sharing a stall with the 16H Walker.
            Who is The.Most.Tolerant.Horse.Ever.
            He routinely shares hay with the little monster.
            Sometimes all 3 hang out in a stall.
            Lately mini scarfs his grain, then meanders in where big horse is still working on his, and tries to poke his nose in the feedpan.
            "You gonna finish that?"
            Horse just noses the pan away.
            Why there is not mini-mincemeat, I do not know.
            He is smart enough to not try that with the pony.
            Then there would be blood!
            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

            Comment


            • #7
              kelo - would you post photos of your layout? Thank you!

              SCM1959

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SCM1959 View Post
                kelo - would you post photos of your layout? Thank you!

                SCM1959
                I was going to ask the same thing!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SCM1959 View Post
                  kelo - would you post photos of your layout? Thank you!

                  Well, I would rather not post photos of my property, but here’s what I did. I prioritized hands-off horse keeping and quality-of-life issues important to me (horses able to move around, eat free-choice, etc). Then my choices came down to financial constraints – if I had more money, I would’ve built a 36x36 barn, for example.

                  But the point of my message is to really spend the time working out what’s right for YOU, because what you all need is probably different from what I needed, and depends on your land and weather, etc, but it’s worth the effort.

                  My facility covers about 3 acres, and was built to house three quiet, adult, medium-size horses that all get along.

                  To start, the entire horse property is perimeter fenced, and all the exterior gates are chained/padlocked for safety, so even if a horse were to get out of its run, or get loose while being saddled or ridden, it would still be safely contained.

                  I have a hands-free walk through person gate/access point, so when I go out to the horse enclosure, I don’t have to open (and forget to properly close) a gate to get in every day. It basically requires you to step in/squeeze sideways/step out and is one of my favorite things. Highly recommended!

                  Before any construction started, I had a dirt pad put in that sits under the entire “high use” area (including the horse runs/stalls, storage barn and surrounding work area). I had it compacted and sloped – so that it sits higher and drains.

                  There are three horse runs, side by side. Each run is about 40’ in length and about 22 feet in width, and each has its own run-in stall, which are made up of two buildings. Two of the runs share one building, which has a stall divider built in to form two stalls. The third stall/second building is separate, in case I need to quarantine a horse that needs shelter. The runs are made of welded pipe for strength and safety.

                  On one end of the runs is my “using” area, which contains my storage shed and saddling/work area. On this end of each run closest to my storage shed there is a large people gate. The storage shed is about 20 foot square and divided roughly in half. One half I store hay, and can get about a year’s worth in there. The other half has my tack/utility storage. I have all kinds of shelving and hanging systems so everything is organized and has a place. So I bring my horse out to the working area, tie him up to the hitching post next to the storage barn and don’t have to go very far to groom/saddle/etc, maybe 20-30 feet to get to everything.

                  At the other end of each of the runs is a large tractor-size gate which feed into one paddock, which is approximately square in shape. The paddock is about 66 feet square, and designed such that if I wanted to have a round bale in there I could, and the hay guy could easily deliver it while the horses were contained in their runs. But also if I need to clean a run, I can move one horse out into the paddock, or use it as a small riding area, etc.

                  The paddock feeds into the first pasture. In this pasture, I have my riding arena (which is not fenced).

                  Behind the arena, there is a cross fence and a gate to the back/second pasture. The horses live mainly in the runs, and are turned out to pasture about once a week (more if we have grass).

                  I also have a bunch of portable panels, so that I can separate/create stalls or paddocks/etc as necessary in all these areas if I have a guest horse, or sick horse, or unfriendly horse, and I can separate horses out to the pastures, or lock them out if I want to rest something, etc.

                  Also, I put down rock/gravel in the work area and paddocks, combined with the pad and slope, so that there are no mud issues – everything stays dry even in torrential rains. The runs have pea gravel – small and rounded – and I’ve never had hoof problems from it. Periodically refreshing the runs is necessary, I’ll estimate a load every 3 or so years.

                  I currently have small square slow feeders in their stalls and large water tanks, so I only need to deliver hay to them every 3-7 days, and fill water every appx 4 days. Technically, if something were to happen and I had to go somewhere, I could leave them without any attention for 2-3 days and they would be completely fine.

                  But I feed (grain) and check them/their runs every morning, which takes approximately 10 minutes, and clean runs every 1-2 days, which is just scooping poop up as I don’t have sawdust to sort through/dispose of, adding about 10-15 min. A full round of maintenance, including cleaning/resetting water and hay, would be max 45 minutes. Of course, most days it’s far less.

                  It’s been 5 years, and as I said, I only have a few hours of chores per week.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Libby2563 has posted pics of her place in the past, may be searchable. Not any of those layouts is an exact match to hers but essentially the same needs met. Her blog is also a great resource.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      2DogsFarm, I'm considering doing my perimeter fencing like yours - are you happy with that set-up? Would you do it that way again if starting from scratch? Is any of it hot? Thanks!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Overhangs on both sides of the barn, one side gives you covered paddocks, the other side covered area to park equipment. We put stalls on one side and tack room and feed room on the other, along with an alcove that hat a washing machine and sitting area.

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                        • #13
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                          36x36 center aisle barn. The south side has 3 stalls with dutch doors that lead to an 12' overhang that is matted. The North side has a 12x12 tack room with washer dryer and utility sink, 12x12 wash stall, 12x12 feed room that has stairs that lead to the loft. The center of the North, East and West sides of the barn have roll up doors to encourage or block the weather. I have shade cloths of the E, W and all around the overhang to allow wind, but block the heating from the sun.

                          Directly behind the barn, I have a 36x110 foot long sacrifice area. It has a french drain and footing. I have 2 paddocks that have been subdivided into 1/3s that are on the E and W side of the sacrifice lot. This allows me to rotate 3 horses over the paddocks. They have 4-7 days of grazing on each paddock. This allows plenty of time for them to rest over the growing season. The sacrifice area was a HUGE asset this past winter and spring when we had a yearly rainfall of 72" (normal is around45"). They spent from December-April in the sacrifice area. It was big enough for them to mill around, but small enough for me to keep picked/cleaned up daily. The overhang provided a dry place for me to feed them hay.

                          On one side of the sacrifice paddock/ overhang, I fenced off a 12x50' "medical" paddock. I have a 32 year old pony that gets a lot of mush to eat daily. This was a great way to allow him to eat in peace, but still be with the herd.

                          The only thing I had to adjust with the layout after having the horses here for awhile was to add a divider to the remaining 12x24' overhang. I have one VERY dominate horse and he felt the need to manage the entire area. Which left the other gelding always being on high alert and being pushed out of the overhang. Placing a 12' fence panel in the center of the overhang made all the difference. Now the dominant one only feels its necessary to control a 12x12 area.
                          Last edited by jawa; Sep. 3, 2019, 02:12 PM. Reason: added photos

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                          • #14
                            jawa WOW I love it!

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                            • #15
                              EquestrianRunner Thank you.

                              I have boarded at several private barns and had friends that either had their own barns or leased small private barns. I picked the things I liked best out of all of the barns I have been in.

                              I would eventually like to mat the center aisle, and there is room to do that and no interfere with doors, etc, but the pocket book was getting a little thin and I prioritized the footing in the sacrifice area over mats in the aisle. I am SO GLAD I did after the non stop rain. My farrier commented all year how wonderful my horses hooves were holding up. Most folks didn't have the option of having good footing or improving what they had once it became SOOOO wet.

                              The only thing, after one year of being in the barn, I would change is to have more pasture. We would like to purchase a bit of land neighboring us, but there is no counting on that happening, so I make due.

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                              • #16
                                jawa - really appreciate those pictures. Your setup off your stalls is a design concept I have not seen and I'm designing my new barn and turnout right from it and think thanks to you I've found the holy grail.

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                                • #17
                                  PaddockWood The medical paddock is 12 x 60' attached to a 12x12 stall. I can change the size of the paddock by using a 12' fence panel, or use the whole thing. It is lined with 2"x4" wire so that it can also be used as a dog run should I need it. The entire sacrifice paddock is 36'x110'. At first I only had footing in a 36x60 area. This summer I added another 30' of footing. I have another 20ish ' of footing to finish the whole area, but it will have to wait for another year.

                                  The horses know which of the lean in to enter their stalls at feeding time. This makes letting horses in to eat pretty simple. Both of my barely horsey sons can feed for me if I need them to. Dump feed in stalls, let horses in and lock them in stalls to finish. Turn horses out when they are finished. It's not a completely hands off set up, but as close as I could manage with the layout.

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                                  • #18
                                    jawa on the first picture, I think it is the North side? Is the overhead door in the wash stall? Looks like the feed room is on one side and tack room is on the other? Based on the people doors and description. Is that part of the drain concept? There is a barn around here that instead of having a regular drain in the wash rack they have it exit out into the driveway but not sure where it goes from there?

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                                    • #19
                                      EquestrianRunner The North Side of the barn as a roll up door for the wash stall. To the right is the tack room with washer/dryer and sink and toilet on the same wall as the wash stall. To the left of the wash stall is the feed room with stairs up to the loft.

                                      The drain for the wash stall is in the center, all slope toward the center, and the drain daylights about 50feet away from the barn into the woods. In one area it parallels the french drain coming from the sacrifice lot. Both daylight in the same area.

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