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Building Florida horse barn

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  • Building Florida horse barn

    I'm sure your all sick of me by now. More questions!

    We're in contract on a property in Jupiter florida and we're starting to plan the barn.
    I have two main questions.
    1) Do I need ac in tack room and/or feed room? Also dehumidifier or fan?
    2) We won't be pouring a concrete pad just putting matts down. Do we need to put down gravel/stone dust first or can the mats go right on top of the sand soil?

    Barn will be tall and airy. Will one fan per stall be enough or should we plan for two? Also are ceiling fans safe to have in the stalls so long as they are high enough? Seems like they would provide much better circulation and airflow than the enclosed corner fans.
    Hudson Valley's Premier Tack Shop

    Life is happening for us not to us

  • #2
    You do need AC in tack and feed rooms! If not, mold will be everywhere and feed will spoil quickly. Make sure you get fans that are rated for outdoor use and that are tough. High humidity is tough on machinery. Check with others in your area re drainage with regard to your mat question. You probably want to put something down or you may end up with uneven depressions under the mats. In Central Florida we put down stone dust/concrete screenings and that has worked well. We initially put down a clay/sand mixture but that didn't drain well.


    • #3
      You should also look into a fly spray system. We didn't put one in initially but the flies were awful (we tried lots of other solutions) ... we finally put in a spray system and its been a god send.


      • #4
        You need AC. If you have AC no need for dehumidifier. Mats on sand will not remain level. Remember much of FLorida (Including the Jupiter area) was originally a sand bar (perhaps deposited on a coral reef) - the sand we generally have is old "beach" type sand, as it has been deposited by the ocean. Therefor, it is not angular - it is well weathered and "rolly". Hard to walk in, easy to move around under a mat or under your horse's hooves.... Bear with me here: A friend has crushed concrete as a base under his arena OVER the "sugar sand". It is stable and has lasted a long time. So, I would recemmend crushed concrete under your mats.


        • #5
          Yay congratulations! Glad you found something again so quickly!

          I am in Ocala, do not have AC or dehumidifier in tack/feed room, and for three years have had zero problems with feed spoiling or mold on tack. The only tack that gets moldy is tack that isn't touched for six months, and it happened like that in Ohio, too. I buy about 2-4 weeks of feed and hay at a time and the only feed that has been moldy was moldy when I opened the bag getting back from the feed store. I have a ceiling fan to circulate the air in the feed/tack room. If you want to store 6+ months of feed or hay, yeah you might need some help with that.
          I'd definitely recommend some kind of compacted aggregate under your mats. Sandy soil doesn't typically compact well and you'll probably have a lot of mat shift problems.

          In stalls, I think most people do a high velocity fan, but if you can afford to do that with a ceiling fan, might as well. The ceilings fans (usually) are best for circulating air and providing a slight breeze, but maybe aren't super cooling on those really really hot days. The corner high-velocity fans are usually best for keeping them cool and keeping the bugs off.
          Custom tack racks!


          • #6
            Wanted to add that whatever fans you get be sure they have sealed motors for fire safety in a dusty barn.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the tips! We'll put ac in the tack and feed room and will definitely be putting in a fly spray system. Figured we'd need the stone dust under the mats.
              Hudson Valley's Premier Tack Shop

              Life is happening for us not to us


              • #8
                I highly recommend Schaefer fans for the stalls. They have sealed motors and are built for agricultural applications.

                I do not think ceiling fans generally throw off enough air and they often do not have sealed motors. We have a ceiling fan in the aisle that is *ok.* The Schaefer fans are much better. Big Ass fans are awesome but very expensive
                Roseknoll Sporthorses


                • #9
                  Definitely put AC in your feed and tack. I have a mini split system with a wall mounted unit in each room. It's well worth the cost.
                  Yes, it's for the tack and feed longevity but it's also just nice to get out of the heat!


                  • #10
                    We lived in the deep South, for the tack room we had a mini split, expensive but worth it. In South FL it might not be of much benefit to have a heater so you probably could get away with an A/C, that will in itself remove the humidity.

                    Personally, I would pour a cement pad for the barn, I say this because when you get flooding rains everything will be a muck mess, that might mean your barn too unless you get the grade done well above the ground level. In our original barn it was raised but not enough, one tropical storm came thru and we had 5 inches of water flowing thru the barn/stalls, a major mess but it did have cement floors so was easy to squeegee the water out, it flooded with less water often enough that when we built the new barn it was raised well over 12" above ground level. It's something you might want to give a bit more thought to.


                    • #11
                      A/C for your tack is a must. If you don’t buy feed more than a month in advance you don’t need it in the feed room.
                      As said before, pour a concrete floor. Florida floods in the summer and unless you live on one of the very few hills you will have standing water.
                      I also suggest having a Shedrow type barn with isle in front with big overhangs to improve airflow but keep the rain out.
                      The soil/sand differs across south Florida. In some places you can basically till the land and you have an arena. In others there is coral and small rocks so you must spend more to put in an arena. If you do, make sure it drains very well and ideally have either make it higher than the surrounding land or put in a drainage ditch for the water to go to.


                      • #12
                        regarding an arena - if you are in an area with white, bottomless sand (much of central Florida is like this) consider using crushed concrete as your base. A friend has it in east Orlando area - his land is deep sand under the pastures. His crushed concrete arena (with suitable riding surface on top) is stable and does not work its way into the sand below. Well packed.


                        • #13
                          My feed/tack room are a shared space. No A/C. All my tack is in the house. You will definitely want A/C.

                          You may also want a stall with A/C. The reason I say this is that it would be wonderful to have A/C for when the farrier comes, or when treating an abscess, or when you are saddling up the horse, or untacking. In the summer, you may start over heating if you are not extremely careful.

                          The heat gets worse every year. High temperatures for longer periods, more severe lightning. Many storms with horizontal rain. My back porch has had it rain in so badly the water reaches the door to the house.

                          Every stall will need at least 2 fans. Unless you get drum fans. Make sure you have vents (cupolas in the barn).



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 4horses View Post
                            You may also want a stall with A/C. The reason I say this is that it would be wonderful to have A/C for when the farrier comes, or when treating an abscess, or when you are saddling up the horse, or untacking.
                            I have never heard of that before, what a great idea! Financially, though, I'll just add that to my "dream barn plan."

                            Custom tack racks!


                            • #15
                              One of my friends has a Friesian. She sends him to Ocala every summer to hang out in an air conditioned barn.


                              • #16
                                Someone I know has plastic curtains, so her Alpaca can have A/C in his stall. I thought that was pretty funny!