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Stable & Facility Design

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  • Stable & Facility Design

    I made a rough sketch of part of our new facility we plan to build. Shown here is the first phase out of four which includes a 32 stall barn, owners barn, training track, round pen, turnout paddocks for every horse, several grass turnouts, outdoor dressage arena, and a cross country course.

    Tell me what you think and what to improve. Its not a very good drawing but you can tell what everything is. In the end, theres going to be this training facility, a rehabilitation center, jumping facility, and dressage facility. So a big project over a long period of time.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  • Original Poster

    Similar facility can be seen here: http://www.horsesforcleanwater.com/f...atico-stables/


    • #3
      Originally posted by hiddenbrooknb View Post
      I made a rough sketch of part of our new facility we plan to build. Shown here is the first phase out of four which includes a 32 stall barn, owners barn, training track, round pen, turnout paddocks for every horse, several grass turnouts, outdoor dressage arena, and a cross country course.

      Tell me what you think and what to improve. Its not a very good drawing but you can tell what everything is. In the end, theres going to be this training facility, a rehabilitation center, jumping facility, and dressage facility. So a big project over a long period of time.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      I say there is too much handling several times a day of horses going and coming from turn out paddocs, which takes much time/labor and more chances of injury to people and horses.

      I would have stalls with as large outside runs as is possible and sensible, to take the place of the small turnouts.
      Also indispensable to a training barn, especially running horses, is some kind of hot walker or exerciser and I don't seem to see one there.

      Our local rider's club, where the handicapped group works from, has several very large rows of stalls with large runs.
      If a horse is not exercised some day, he is still moving around and interacting with the horses around him, without anyone needing to handle him for turnout.
      That kind of management seems to work very well for most kinds of horses, some competitive at the top of their sports.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for reminding me to put that in there. Im am re-doing the sketch right now and will post it over again. I was also thinking of a water-exerciser from Kraft in addition to some hot walkers.

        I am not starting with an indoor arena but will plan to have 2 similar to this one http://nwequest.com/glosten.html and http://riverrunranch.com/facilities.html. Does anyone have any suggestions to add? What would your dream boarding stable be like?



        • #5
          I think the most important things to keep in mind are: 1. The health and welfare of the horses--large windows, nice turnout, good ventilation etc. 2. As easy to work as possible--makes it easier to hire and keep good help. Where will manure go? 3. Parking and vehicle access. You should be able to get 18 wheelers of horses or hay in and out easily. You need to go visit a bunch of large places similar to yours and find out what works and what doesn't!


          • #6
            Any buildings or arenas, try to go for a true clearspan beams, not truss type ones, unless you will provide for some kind of covering to keep birds out of there.

            Our hay barn has two big doors and the hay trucks can come in one, stack the hay right off the trucks to the side and drive off thru the other.
            Then, there are tractor attachments today that will handle unloading and stacking small bales.

            Whatever you use for storage, think that what and how we feed may change, small bales, big rounds, big squares, bagged, in bulk.
            The same with bedding, so make storage areas flexible, so you can handle all kinds of materials thru there without needing to remodel.

            What kills the profit in any horse operation is the amount of labor you need, horses being very labor intensive.
            Labor will add to your expenses tremendously.
            Try to minimize labor where you can, like in the landscaping and maintenance, steps to care for the horses and procure supplies, etc.

            You can't ever have a large enough parking area, give that the most you can.
            If you have boarders, they too need a place to store their horse trailers, generally part of the parking area.


            • #7
              I would question why you would want 32 individual turnout paddocks? Yes, there are times that I have horses that need individual turnout, but horses prefer to be in groups. Our place has four small paddocks that can be used for individual or "pairs" turnout, they are fairly big, about 150 x 100 or so (roughly). THen we have two slightly larger (about 300 x 100) turnout that works for up to three. Then two fields that are bigger yet can accomodate up to four each. Then two really big turnout pastures one is probably 2 acres and one is about 4 acres. This gives us enough "options" with about 20 horses max at any given time. We have a good layout, which I will post once my ariel photo jpg file gets here, not as large of property as your must be, but the way it is laid out makes for maximum efficiency and minimal walking during feeding and turnout (still get PLENTY of exercise!)


              • #8
                If you really think you need that many small individual turnout pens, how about make them so each two or three have top and bottom gates that connect them and if you are not using them all, you can make a larger turnout by opening several up into one?

                Our horse pens are individual, but we can open gates so if only one horse is there, he can have them all to roam in and they love that.

                Even when all horses are roaming thru all the pens, it helps them stay smart about gates and how to get around and where to stand and keeps their brains busier and gives their feet more exercise.


                • Original Poster

                  I really like the layout of this facility, http://riverrunranch.com/gallery.html. They have big turnouts for each horse. Does anyone have any ideas of the best way to build a barn for that many horses. I can narrow it down to 20 for now.


                  • #10
                    Plan a barn/shop/garage to park your machinery in. You do not want any gas powered vehicles parked in the horse barn or the hay storage area. A hot muffler can start a fire with hay dirt. Gas storage should also be separated from buildings if possible.

                    Any consideration for a sprinkler system? Not always possible in the northern areas where it gets cold, but something to think about.

                    We attended a Fire Safety clinic that covered horse facilities. It was for training the local First Responders to deal with horses in emergency settings, but horse owners were invited to help in communication with non-horse Responders. Help horse owners THINK like Fire folk and modify things so help could work if there was a fire or horse down with injured rider out in the countryside. Learned how to pull a stuck horse, one in a hole, roll one over, keep from getting hurt while doing that!

                    Have to say it was an AMAZING two day Clinic and changed how I look at EVERYTHING on the farm now.

                    As mentioned, you need a BIG driveway, parking area, Firetrucks are not small or lightweight. Water supplies at hand. You have got about 4 minutes to get horses out of a burning barn, before it is too hot to survive. They die of smoke and heat inhalation, lungs burned out. The middle barn horses probably won't make it out. YOU will die also, if you try to save them with no protective equipment and oxygen. You need an emergency paddock to turn out into, loose horses WILL run back in. Drive NJs horse is the ONLY one I ever heard that LEFT a burning barn, others just don't go even with the doors open. Fire Clinician said all the above, he NEVER saw one leave by itself.

                    Blockage of aisleways, non-working doors and exits, greatly hampers getting animals outside. Get your "stuff" out of the way!! Conduit protected wiring, done to code, no overloading circuts with fans, heated buckets. Remove dust from light fixtures, hay chaff from storage areas, aisleways you are driving thru. Ropes for emergency halters are faster to put on than a real halter! Hung at hand for quick use. No trick door closures, locking ideas for gates. Those horses will be left. All my lead ropes now have BIG carabiner clips so fire folks can work them with his gloves on. That clip will snap on any part of the halter to lead a horse outside. Fire folk are NOT allowed to take any protective gear off once they are working a fire. Small clips, button snaps, not good with insulated gloves.

                    After you get stuff drawn up, go to the Firehouse and ask for critiques from the Fire management folks. They SEE things VERY differently than we do. Notice all kinds of special details about exits, layouts. You have to make your choices then, easy to use or most safe in case of fire? I am sure the Fire Folks would love to have a layout of the barns, farm, so they can go in prepared when called. Invite them out as things get completed, for a walk about to be familiar with your barns.

                    As I said, going thru stuff with Fire Folk is a real eye-opening experience. Clinic changed how I think now, have my stuff set up in the barns.


                    • Original Poster

                      Do people care if a barn is a modular barn or a wooden barn? The modular barns can be half the price and there are ways to paint over the connectors and make them look a little better. I would get wooden fronts but the inside is the kick proof material they all use.

                      I have been looking at BarnPros as well but havent decided. I am trying to find a efficient way to house all the horses but havent had that much luck.

                      Thanks for the advice on the fire safety. I know they like modular barns because they dont burn well.

                      Thanks for the help!


                      • #12
                        Our vet clinic that does all that embrio transfer and cloning, so has a large amount of horses in and out, built several barns for all that reproductive work and those barns were all modular and very nice, practical barns, that have held up well to heavy use.

                        Now, if you want to wow high end clients with your first class facilities, then you probably would be better off spending the money in those firms that have the knowhow to produce that kind of planning and facilities.


                        • #13
                          All those little paddocks have a high chance of turning into a icky mud/manure mess. At least that is what I have seen at every facility that has a mess of little paddocks. They are too small to get a tractor with a bucket or a skid loader into to scrape out well, and picking them out by hand is very labor intensive and tends to be something people do not do a very good job with.

                          You will need some paddocks or pastures that do not have a shared fence. Some horses just do not do well sharing a fence line.

                          I also echo that you do not need a turnout for each horse. Some training horses will get no turn out, some lay up horses may be on stall rest. Some horses might do better with half day turn out. Other horses can go out together.

                          Besides plannig for firetrucks and semi trucks for emergencies and deliveries remember to plan all gates so that you can drive a tractor pulling an implement through them.

                          I have found hot walkers to be one of the most underused, space wasting devices any farm ever installs. If you are the trainer and you know you will use this device on a daily basis that is one thing, but on farms where it is just there that is mostly what it does is sit there. Same with treadmills, both the regular kind and the water kind, if you are going to be the one making sure these devices are used on a regular enough basis to pay for themselves that is one thing, but just to have them to say you have them you will probably find that they get little use (and these are two devices that really need someone experienced in using them to train horses to work on them safely, not something I would let any ol boarder have access to).

                          I would also say with a facility of such scope that you should look into a professional planner. If you have found a facility you like ask them who built it. You may want a place just like that, but a professional would probably make sure to take into account the lay of your land and waterflow and prevailing winds and such. I worked out of a fancy estate that the drainage work was not done correctly around the barn and indoor arena and the first big rain in the fall after the place was finished both the barn and indoor flooded! A lot of money had to be spent on drainage work and repairing water damage that should not have if things had been planned better.


                          • #14
                            Hot walkers are used very much in race training barns, mostly to cool horses off.
                            In western barns, like cutting ones, some to warm up horses, to cool them off and at times to have colts go around with the first saddlings, before they ride them.

                            It took someone cooling a race horse a good ten minutes, that now can happen on the walker and the groom can be doing something else.


                            • Original Poster

                              Updated version here:

                              Theres going to be more pasture turnouts. I reduces the number of individual paddocks and tried to use the new space for TO. Nothings to scale really. The warm up track is WAY out of scale. I put in a 20 stall barn, some with attached paddocks and those will be the ones that are on minimal turnout.

                              I want a 4 stall barn for myself and my horses and use it for hay storage as well and add a overhand for the tractor and vehicles. Nothing nice really. Most of the time my horses will be in TO and I prefer they stay out over night sometimes too.

                              I dont want to build the nicest facility around, I just want it to be nice enough for people of all levels and functional. This part of the center will be for me, general boarders, and my horses in training so it wouldnt be widely used.

                              I will now work on the next part of the design which would be the dressage part. I am thinking a indoor arena with stalls to the side, attached paddocks, then 12 additional sand ones with shelter, lots of 1-2 acre grass turnouts then a few 4 acre group turnouts.

                              Tell me what you think of the re-designed training facility posted above. Thanks for the help!


                              • #16
                                I would put the large barn where you have the dressage arena. I would want the barn in between the turnout areas to save steps/time. Also cut down the number of small paddocks and make them larger. This will cut down on injuries if the horses are playing/bucking etc. It would also make them easier to maintain, fertilize, spray etc.. Also make sure you have large enough gates so fertilizer trucks and tractors can get thru easily (14 feet is a good size) If you are putting in shelters, you could also have some horses on night turnout, so you could cut back on the number of small paddocks. I would also lane all the paddocks and pastures, it's more expensive, but will also cut down on injuries and fence repair. Exciting stuff planning your facility


                                • #17
                                  I would build a separate storage building for vehicles and tractor, the risk of fire would make me nervous. I also wouldn't do attached runs, I just don't like the damage a horse can do to a barn and vice versa. I do have an overhang on my barn where I stored my horse trailer, designed so I could just pull thru. It worked great till I needed more stalls, so built 2 back there and now store hay there as well. If I could I would have a separate building for the hay also.


                                  • #18
                                    Also, don't forget washracks, grooming stalls/area, shavings storage, and manure. Will you have a service to remove manure, or plan to compost or just spread on pasture if your area will permit that?

                                    You will need labor/staff for this large a facility. You might want to consider living quarters over the barn if possible.

                                    Also might want to consider narrowing down the type of facility. Are you three day eventing or racing etc. Different disciplines tend to like different set ups and might not mesh that well.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      The facility is going to have 3 separate areas. A dressage part, jumping part, and then the combined training facility for me. Barns will be leased out. One big entrance to the farm and three smaller ones but all connect through a road that goes around the farm.

                                      Dressage facility will be based off http://riverrunranch.com/facilities.html. Jumping facility will be based off http://wildturkeyfarm.com/woodside.html. And the multi training will be based off the old Simpatico Stables Facility in Redmond, WA http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...09012&t=h&z=18. I do 3-Day and the race track is just for exercise and working.


                                      • #20
                                        First things first, when you go to put in for permits you will have to have a topographical survey and site plan - that's every lump, bump, tree and drainage. Then you start plopping stuff on the map. Otherwise you may try to put your barn in a vernal pool because it fits there best. Some states this is far less of an issue than others, where it can land you in more hot water than murder. Hopefully this place is board flat.

                                        I don't like your parking area that much. (in post 15) Ideally you'd have a huge wide two lane at least entry and a pull through for the semi's, which would give you two entrances one at each end of that parking lot. The nicest places I've been to, public facilities of all kinds, have tons of space devoted to vehicles and parking and not too many sharp corners or dead ends. Things need to flow.

                                        I agree about shifting the barn and dressage arena, or swapping the track for the pastures and shifting the barn back. Handling is money, try to do it as little as possible. I'm not sure about the sand turnouts, they seem pointless
                                        What kinds of setbacks are you having to abide by? Standard in the country here is 50'. We are putting in portables here at home as the best spot is within the setback, and if we have to they can be shifted.

                                        Hoping I haven't misread anything, and I'd love to see more!
                                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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