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how did you build your small barn to make it EASY

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  • how did you build your small barn to make it EASY

    looking to build a 2-4 stall barn or shedrow to make it super easy and fast to take care of the horsies. Please tell me your best ideas

  • #2
    Pick your feed room location with care to make it easy to get to when deliver and central for feeding ease..a back door as well as front door is a good idea.

    Water and electric outlet (GFI) placements so what ever the situation every stall has an outlet and you don'y need to have a mile of hose or carry buckets to far.

    If its in the budget skip something else in favor or a small hot water tank in feed or tackroom, ceiling those rooms, water heater adds some winter warmth.
    Put a window in tackroom for summer ventelation.


    • #3
      I built mine as a row barn (five stalls) with aisle in front. Stalls have front and back doors. Back doors of two stalls open to one paddock, and paddock opens into pasture. Back doors of other three stalls open to second paddock, which opens into second pasture. Paddocks are about 100 x 100' and serve as sacrifice areas to save pasture when it's muddy.

      Also, stalls have stall-grid floors, which is the best of both worlds. They stay flat like matted floors, but drain like clay floors.

      Just a couple of ideas that I was glad for.
      Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


      • #4
        Where are you and why do you want a barn?

        If you need a barn to stay out of the elements, it makes more sense to get an enclosed barn, like a center aisle one, maybe with two stalls on one side with access to pens outside, feed and tackroom, maybe one more stall, or wash/farrier/vet room, or storage room, whatever, on the other side of the aisle.

        A center aisle barn is your most efficient as far as protecting the most space with the least materials and you can make those as airy as you wish and still close them in if you need to.

        Now, if you don't care if some times rain gets to the inside, if you don't have to be out there working with a horse where you have considerable protection, if all you need is a place to put some horses in there, even if they are still outside, a shedrow barn would work just as well.

        Our race training barn was shedrow style in a square, with an open middle, as so many were built in the 1950's.
        It was never that practical when it rained or snowed, would have been much better to work in as a center aisle one.
        It was a serious fire trap too, with only one main entrance.
        If we had kept training out of it, we were going to put up a roof over the open middle, open one end up with a large door and close it in as a regular barn.


        • #5
          I have a 3 stall shedrow set up. The two end stalls open directly to pastures, and the pastures connect behind the barn. For the most part, I use the stalls more as "run-ins" and the horses are out 24/7. This, to me, is the primary advantage of such a barn.

          If my non-horsey family has to feed, they simply throw feed over the fence (buckets hanging on fence) or through cutouts accessible through the center stall.

          The center stall was originally a tack/feed room, but it was entirely too dusty. If you are planning to use a stall for storage, you will need to install a floor and ceiling and walls to prevent that. Mine had grills so the horses could see each other, but that just lead to too much dust, so I tore the floor out and made a 3rd stall, and my tack and feed are now in a seperate enclosed shed.

          I have 3 12x12 stalls, with a 12' overhang in front - I highly recommend adding that overhang. Stalls and the area under the overhang are matted. It gives you a workspace. Still not protected from the elements in the worst weather, but very handy for when the farrier comes and it's raining, etc. I have toyed with the idea of using chicken house curtains or similar to close it in during the winter. The other 3 seasons it is perfect.

          I had a hot water circulator installed so it runs hot water from the house. Takes up no space if you don't have room for a hot water heater. Space is definitely at a premium in shedrow set ups.

          I have several of those hooks that hang over a fence or stall door to hang bridles/halters on. I have a set of crossties and I use the space in front of the center stall as my 'ready area" to tack up. I have a seperate post with a blocker tie ring that I use for baths.

          Eventually I would like to add an additional stall and a large tack/feed room in front of what I have which would give me an enclosed aisle. It's not fancy, but it is very efficient.


          • #6
            Our small barn opens up right into the pasture, and the stalls open through a run-in area, which makes things really easy.

            Most of the time, we just don't use the stalls, which is good for the horses, keeps the bedding budget down to almost nothing, and reduces the mucking requirement a lot. We just have to pick up a few poop piles now and then.

            And if we do use the stalls, it's very easy to get even hard to catch horses in and out.

            People can enter the barn without entering the pasture, into the feed and storage room, which has the halters hanging by the door where they're easy to reach. Feed room has a gate opening into the run-in area, so it's easy to get in and out to feed without even having to get your feet muddy.

            You can sort of see the barn in this photo: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/27045...00789832nyugMc

            The barn is symmetrical, with storage areas on both ends, past the large openings. One for feed and hay, one for tack. The two big openings both go into the same run-in area, This way, it's somewhat closed in, but if someone decides to be bossy and come charging in, everyone else can escape out the second door. The front half in the middle is the run-in, the back half in the middle is the stalls.

            I also have rubber mats in most of the run-in, so the poop won't freeze to the dirt floor.

            Obviously everyone's needs are different, but I love the way we have our barn set up, and it is perfect for the way we use it.
            "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
            -Edward Hoagland


            • #7
              I have a center aisle with stalls that open to private paddocks and paddocks that open to private (or semi private) pastures. Super easy! Paddocks are great because the horses don't have to be locked in their stalls and it gives them extra room to move around if they are in for the eves.

              I added overhangs a few years ago and I absolutely love them!
              I used to allow horses access to their stalls 24/7, but that ended up being a lot more work because they would use their stalls as a bathroom all the time. With the overhangs, even if they are locked out of their stalls, they still have a place to escape the elements. I also feed their hay outside under the overhangs (except in summer) and that keeps everything so much easier for cleanup!

              Agree with what's been said about the outlets and ceilings.


              • #8
                Curtains is what we had to use in parts of our shedrow barn, or rain and snow would pile there under the aisle and sometimes into the stalls there.
                We had canvas curtains in those days and worked fine for that, but made that part of the barn very dark.

                I was thinking that the simplest and easiest is the "mare motel" model, where stalls are only three sided, the other side open into an outside pen.
                Those are very easy to take care of, clean after, feed in and the horses have room to move around and that is so much better for them.
                The fronts of the stalls are still into an aisle and the other side of the aisle you can have the tackroom and storage room, etc. all under a roof, the aisle protected to work with a horse out of the elements.

                If you later see the need, you can finish enclosing one of the stalls, or all and just have a door to the outside pen.


                • #9
                  If you're in an area where you don't get much winter, a shedrow barn can help keep your building costs down (roof width is a big factor).

                  In terms of ease of care, incorporating a run-in under the roof, and paddocks that connect to each other is hard to beat.

                  My last barn (NE Indiana):
                  36x36 with 9x36 attached lean for hay storage

                  2 2x12' stalls with heated Nelson waterers and mats, 3x3' dutch windows at back/sliding doors to aisle

                  12x36' matted run in at one end (could be divided with gates into two more 12x12' stalls), opened directly into 50x100' stone dust paddock (which opened directly to a 14x110' run out to an 8 acre pasture)

                  12' center aisle (concrete with inset mats)

                  8x12' h/c wash stall (concrete with inset mats)

                  12x16' heated tack room, including mud sink (concrete)

                  12x12' sliding double doors at either end for driving through

                  5' wide doors at each end of lean for good hay ventilation/ease of loading (one end opened directly into stone dust paddock)

                  New barn in Landrum, SC:

                  24x24' run in... divider wall allows division into two stalls with gated fronts + run in area

                  12x24' tack room/office

                  12x12' h/c wash stall

                  12x36' hay/equipment storage (enclosed at one end to block weather)

                  If you look at it from overhead, you would see tack/office and wash at "front" of 24x36' with hay at back, then 24x24' run in to right.
                  Patience pays.


                  • #10
                    24/7 turnout. Mine have a horse porch for shelter and access to the stalls at night--the stalls open out into the sacrifice paddock.

                    Sacrifice paddock attached to main pastures--open gate, horses turned out.

                    Automatic waterer.

                    Feed hay outside.

                    I can, if necessary, keep my horses fed, watered, turned out and on auto-pilot indefinitely in less than 15 minutes a day. Of course that would be without picking up poop, doing general chores, etc. and the place would look like holy hell after 3-4 days, but it is DO-ABLE in a pinch. I do clean up the stalls/horse porch/sacrifice paddock virtually ever day, but I can skip that, no problem, waiting for a day off if I have to. The horses are still fed, watered, safe, outside, and comfortable even if I only have a tiny sliver of time to spend.

                    My setup also allows someone with virtually no horse skills to do the very basics if necessary and keep them safe and well for days at a time if something happened to me.
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #11
                      My Daugther designed our barn....it is L shaped.

                      I have a shavings bin that can be accessed from inside as well right beside it I have a bit of hay storage (holds about 10 bales).

                      My tack room is in the corner and is sandwiched between two of the stalls.....when auto waterers are frozen I can run a hose from the sink to the stall

                      Each stall has an attached gravel paddock......they are all feed in their stalls and have automatic waters.......when I am away for the day I can set out several different feedings and have my non horsey relatives come down and simpley "kick" in a meal and close their doors.

                      Here is a layout picture

                      Picture from the outside



                      • #12
                        We have a 8 stall shedrow barn. The dimensions are 20 x 100. there is an 8' aisle infront of stalls, stalls are 10 x 12. At one end is an enclosed 20 x 10 feed room with a rollup door on front and a regular door opening into the aisleway. Next to it is a 10 x 12 grooming stall. Directly in front of the barn we put a building that is the tack room. At the other end of the barn is a "garage in a box" for now that we store hay in, eventually will replace it with a metal building that has the rollup door in front and side door opening into aisleway for hay storage. at that end of the barn just about 25 feet fro the barn is our roundpen. Then about 100' feet from the front of the barn is our arena. Everything is "centrally located' making it VERY easy to work. I bought an arial view back before Christmas but it hasn't arrived yet, I do plan to put on my website tho which shows the layout really well.

                        Here are some pics, some of this is during construction:



                        • #13
                          Unless you build your barn of a non chewing material letting horses be turn-out against your building walls means...chewing, kick dings, playing with gutters, and damaging window trim etc erosion against footers allowing water and rodents access as well as deteration from manure and urine if it sits along building, plus bugs. JMO


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
                            Unless you build your barn of a non chewing material letting horses be turn-out against your building walls means...chewing, kick dings, playing with gutters, and damaging window trim etc erosion against footers allowing water and rodents access as well as deteration from manure and urine if it sits along building, plus bugs. JMO
                            I don't have any of those issues......we have proper drainage and slope so water is carried away.....we have no standing water 24 hours after rain stops.......paddocks are picked daily so no manure build up.......my shake barn has 3 neat rows of electric so I have not had any chewing.......next time though it will be concrete blocks......so I have no up keep. None of the horses poop or pee up against the building because of the electric.



                            • Original Poster

                              awesome ideas

                              thanks for the ideas. I have a friend with a shedrow barn with a 12' overhang in the front that is the aisle. The aisle has crossties and a rubber mat floor. The tacktruncks are against the stalls. Its a pain in the winter, but really nice the other seasons. And CHEAP which is nice too.

                              I am concerned about them chewing on the dutchdoors and stalls from the sacrafice paddock side. Do you paddocks all have electric?


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
                                Unless you build your barn of a non chewing material letting horses be turn-out against your building walls means...chewing, kick dings, playing with gutters, and damaging window trim etc erosion against footers allowing water and rodents access as well as deteration from manure and urine if it sits along building, plus bugs. JMO
                                True! My barn is steel, and ALL exposed wood surfaces (mainly the posts holding up the horse porch) are clad in no-chew galvanized strips made for that purpose. Same with all exposed wood in the stalls.

                                The exposed surfaces do get quite dirty, and need pressure-washing every year. I do have the space between the steel siding and the inside walls filled with scrap lumber so a stray kick might make a small dent but a hoof cannot punch through.

                                The only chewable thing in my barn/paddocks is ONE STINKING RAIL between two gates that is unprotected by my hot rope fencing. Sure enough, the weanlings have half devoured it. So I strung a patch of hot rope over it this week--took them 30 SECONDS to find it, get zapped, act mortally offended and find another source of entertainment!
                                Click here before you buy.


                                • #17
                                  I lease a two stall barn with center aisle and overhangs on each side that are about five feet deep. I did not build the barn, but it's very convenient for me to easily take care of two horses by myself and in all weather conditions. There are pics on my website- link is in signature.

                                  Here are a few things I would change though, or things you can think about when you are building yours:
                                  - our center aisle is concrete, and they poured it like they would pour a footing for a house, so it is VERY slippery for the horses, esp. those that are shod. either get builders to rough up the surface, or plan on buying a roll of rubber mat to put down in aisle.
                                  - put another drain inside barn to plan for use as indoor wash rack in winter
                                  - more electrical outlets than you think you need- esp. one in top of each stall for plugging in fans in summer
                                  - a tiny bathroom would be amazing- we don't have one!
                                  - washer/dryer hook ups- even if you dont have them now, you might want them in the future!

                                  Here are a few things I LOVE about ours:
                                  - stall walls are gorgeous pine paneling, and very easy to clean/wipe down
                                  - stalls are well drained and have great mats- which i could never live without now
                                  - all "edges" in stalls are covered in metal so there are no chewing surfaces
                                  - barn has lots of windows and is well ventilated in summer- we can close the windows from the outside in winter and barn stays pretty warm.
                                  - there is a large fan on one end of barn that does an excellent job of pulling air through barn in summer and keeping it cooler. LOVE that fan.
                                  - full size hot water heater is a must- even for just two horses!
                                  - stall have very tall height and there is NO risk of a horse hitting it's head at all- even if they rear.
                                  - 12x12 stalls with built in hay racks in corner- NOT near feed bucket or water so the hay doesnt pollute those surfaces/buckets
                                  - feed doors that open from outside stall so i don't have to go in stall to feed- very convenient, and hardware is such that i can secure it open so horse can use it as a window to put head out into aisle.
                                  - overhang on each side of barn is great to store hay and wheelbarrows etc and provide protection from sun/moisture
                                  - barn is short enough and hose is located in a place where i can service all buckets/troughs using ONE hose with access to hot water- so great.
                                  - tack/feed room has an elevated floor (small step up from aisle) and a separate door that helps keep the aisle mess out of that room and when i blow out the barn- stuff doesnt blow into feed/tack room!

                                  have fun building a barn! i have a notebook with my barn plans from way back to when i was about 12- one day i will get to build my own!
                                  Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
                                  Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Melissa.Hare.Jones View Post
                                    My last barn (NE Indiana):
                                    36x36 with 9x36 attached lean for hay storage

                                    2 2x12' stalls with heated Nelson waterers and mats, 3x3' dutch windows at back/sliding doors to aisle

                                    12x36' matted run in at one end (could be divided with gates into two more 12x12' stalls), opened directly into 50x100' stone dust paddock (which opened directly to a 14x110' run out to an 8 acre pasture)

                                    12' center aisle (concrete with inset mats)

                                    8x12' h/c wash stall (concrete with inset mats)

                                    12x16' heated tack room, including mud sink (concrete)

                                    12x12' sliding double doors at either end for driving through
                                    This sounds very much like the barn that I'm going to have built this spring!
                                    Mine will be 36x40', with a 16x36' run in at the south facing end - entrance to the run in will (probably) be an 8' opening with a regular gate across it, and hopefully a garage style door as well (if the weather gets REALLY nasty).
                                    2 12x12' stalls on the east wall (will open to the 12' aisle and hopefully have dutch doors on the back/east wall as well with access to the sacrifice paddock).
                                    West side of the aisle will be a 14 or 16x12' hay storage bay at the north end, and a tack room either 8 or 10x12' (with a door to the outside as well as the aisle) between the hay storage and north wall of the run in.
                                    North end of the aisle will have a big slider.

                                    Got the idea for the attached run-in from a friend that I barn sit for that has something like it - it's really nice to be able to toss hay and fill the water trough (both in the run in) for her two horses without having to walk outside when the weather is unpleasant.


                                    • #19
                                      Here's what I learned - go as big as you can afford as it will never be big enough! A separate, enclosed feed room and tack room are on my wish list for my future barn.

                                      The following is my musings on how I could have done this better...

                                      Center aisle for my convenience, farrier work, veterinary work and exterior doors for 24 hour turnout. Saves on bedding and keeps horses moving and healthy.

                                      The mats described with the drainage... they give the benefit of the matted floor with better drainage.

                                      Hay and shavings storage with easy access. I wanted a loft as we buy hay in "smaller" quantities - only 50 bales fit in the barn as it is now. A loft could have tripled the quantity of hay I could store but that required special trusses...

                                      Easy access to electricity and water - for hooking up electric fencing fencer, general usage and the inevitable repairs (like my current leaking, frozen hydrant that will need addressing when the ground thaws). On a side note, I am going to have the strongest arms ever after all the buckets of water I am lugging from the house. I guess that saves me money on a gym membership...

                                      Good, reliable lights are great for when you have a sick horse needing attention at 12:30AM... or when the farrier arrives at 5PM and it is pitch black out because it is December...

                                      Wiring that is rodent proof. Despite my requests and complaints about wiring, hubby went cheap. My newly graduated electrician son said BX cable (my great great uncle's barns and outbuildings had that beautiful wiring) is overkill but there are similar, metal covered wires that rodents can't eat through.

                                      Good ventilation - again, my hubby went low end - 84 Lumber kit built by construction crew who wanted extra (beer) money, built in 3 days.

                                      Construction was good but our kit did not have rat guards for the lower panels and no proper roof ventilation (you have to ask for those features, I guess). Dampness freezes on the metal roof and drips water down, usually at inconvenient times. There is a people door that has been blown out of its frame three times by wicked winds on our hill. The big slider is tough to close and with no windows in the barn, makes it dark so it is open for ventilation as well. Sliders on both sides of that dreamed about center aisle would be excellent...

                                      My horses have access to touch each other over the stalls - been 10 years like this and no fights or quibbles, even at meal time...

                                      I have a "mares only" barn (stems from the fact I have two sons and a hubby so to balance the testosterone inside, I go out to my own private "Estrofest" in the barn) and the veterinarian and farrier have commented on how relaxed everyone is when they visit...the girls line up like planes at O'Hare to get their hooves trimmed. Even for shots and Coggins they line up to get "stuck" and they hang around afterwords to comfort their stablemates. My horses are odd enough to like the veterinarian and want to hang out near her for most of the time.

                                      Drainage is important - nothing like flooded barns or mud that is knee deep.

                                      Areas easy to hit with the "Webster" to get rid of dust and cobwebs.

                                      Great post!



                                      • #20
                                        We have a security light on the end of the barn which comes on from dusk til dawn. I can actually see where I'm walking when I go out to feed at night.