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Your perfect barn?

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  • Your perfect barn?

    I have been blessed with the opportunity to build a brand new facility on 168 acres outside of Orlando, Fl. My question is, what amenities would you want in your perfect show barn?

  • #2
    Congratulations! Just my opinion, but I wouldn't necessarily want to develop all of the that acreage. I would plan the barn and turnouts for maximum efficiency and use the extra acreage for hacking out or growing hay. How many stalls? What kind of business? For show horses, you really don't want enormous group pastures. Paddocks depending on the number of stalls. If money were no object, I would have grass paddocks as well as "all weather" paddocks for wet weather. Indoor and outdoor ring. Plenty of grooming and wash stalls- there never seem to be enough.

    I also plan for efficiency. Manure managment convenient to the stalls. Paddocks around the barn to avoid long walks to turn out. Gates conveniently located close to the barn. I like to be able to see all of the horses that are turned out from the barn. I don't like huge pastures with the horses so far away that you can't see whats going on.
    http://patchworkfarmga.com

    Comment


    • #3
      I think I would prefer my facility to be located in the center of the property, or at least in the center of the turn-out areas, so that I wouldn't have to walk to a far corner to turn out. (Currently located on a corner, and that makes for a long walk to the far turn-out fields)
      My ideal barn would have an office space in it...something I don't have right now and wish I did. I personally like center aisle barns, and like center aisle barns with dutch doors and turn-outs off of them. I would also love a washrack in the barn, or conveniently outside it. If I had an indoor, or even if I didn't, I would like classroom space (or any open space big enough) in the barn or indoor, so I could hold meetings, classes, etc. Tackroom located centrally in barn (mine currently is)

      Comment


      • #4
        A lot will depend on what kind of facility you plan on having. If it is a private barn with just your personal horses you won't need to amenities a 50 stall barn with a busy, bustling training and boarding operation will need.

        But, like Jsalem said, no matter what size, design for ease of use and efficiency. I am running a farm now that was obviously not designed by the person who was supposed to do the work. It takes me 45 minutes to an hour to turn out 14 horses. I walk, on average, 4 miles a day doing that. That is, far and away, the biggest chunk of time each day! So, when designing the lay out of the pastures and paddocks think about a wagon wheel lay out, with the barn the hub. The best barns I've worked in had all the pasture gates within a few steps from the barn doors. I could turn out the same amount of horses in about 15 minutes, if that.

        Also, be sure to plan your driveway entrance so that BIG rigs can get in and out! And that they can maneuver easily. Either a drive all the way around the barn (good for feed and hay deliveries, too), or a big parking pad that even big rigs can turn around in.

        I would love designated areas for farriers and vets to work in with very good lighting, doors they can back right up to, and that is out of the way of the traffic of the barn and not clogging grooming and/or wash stall areas.

        If you plan on having boarders, plan for plenty of room for their tack and equipment and good people amenities (a bathroom, places to sit and chit chat or talk with a trainer, etc).

        EXCELLENT lighting throughout, especially in grooming areas, wash stalls, farrier or vet areas.

        You can never, ever, EVER have too much storage! Shelves, cabinets, bins, cubbies. If you think you plan for enough, add some more!
        Amanda

        Comment


        • #5
          It's the little things. I just went through this myself, although not as large of a scale. We live in Michigan, so I'm sure I'll have more suggestions for winter weather, but still good to keep in mind.

          - At least 2 outlets at every stall. Fans, heated water buckets, etc. We have cameras in the stalls so one outlet is for the cameras, the others are currently used for heated waterers.

          - Make sure your drain is large enough in the wash stall and properly placed. We had to redo ours (not really our fault, the concrete people were idiots and sloped it all wrong).

          - Heated tack room. Heated feed room. Both also have windows for ventilation in the summer.

          - Make sure to plan for areas to store hay, shavings, tools, wheelbarrows, extra trunks and blankets. We made the top of our tack room a storage area which really helps.

          - Seamless stall mats. Expensive and EXTREMELY hard to move and manipulate.... but SO worth it. (Seriously, just hire a crew) Stall cleaning is almost pleasurable not hitting seams.

          - Jump storage area either in an end of the arena, or directly outside.

          - Lots of people doors. In the winter/colder months when the barn is closed up, you don't want to have to walk alllll the way around the building, or be opening large heavy doors just to get in.

          - All weather/winter turn outs. These are priceless, especially is you can afford the proper footing for them. Also plan on outside outlets on the barn to run electric to these paddocks for water tank heaters, hot wire, etc. Or run power underground to these turn outs.

          - Water. Place it as close to central as possible in the barn. Hot and cold in the wash rack. Sink in the tack/feed room is nice but not necessary. If you can get water spigots outside by the pastures - do it!!

          - Generator hook up. Don't want to lose power and not have a way to power the well for water, or heaters in the dead of winter. Ours hooks up externally so the fumes and sound isn't inside the barn, but is still blocked by the wind/weather.

          I'm sure I'll think of more later... But until then I hope this helps!

          Comment


          • #6
            Why not run water to all the stalls? I was at a barn that had a light switch, electrical outlet and spigot at every stall.

            Whatever size tack room you are thinking of, double it .

            I'm not a fan of runs attached to stalls, because IME they just get swampy and keep odors close to the barn that you can't clean. My current barn has the paddock attached to the 12x30ish run attached to the stall, and they close the horses into the runs at night. The runs are sand/rock, so the pee is just...there. Always. I bought some Sweet PDZ to use in my boys' paddock, and it helps tremendously. If there are going to "runs" attached to stalls, I'd prefer they be covered or partially covered, so I don't have to step into a puddle (that happens right at the entrance to the stall) to catch my critter if he says he isn't coming in today, kthanks. This puddle happens in at any barn I've been in that has outside doors from the stalls, whether it's to a paddock or to a pasture, it's just traffic.

            Air conditioning in the bathroom. Heat and cool.

            Oh, yeah, a bathroom!!

            At least two wash racks for commercial barns. Fridays before horse shows are a traffic jam at the wash rack.

            Storage. Like another poster, make an out of the way place for people to store winter blankets. A barn I was at had it over the office and the feed room; and required people use trunks (cheapie ones from Home Depot/Kmart/whatever) to store things up there, generally blankets.
            COTH's official mini-donk enabler

            "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

            Comment


            • #7
              I echo a lot of the above but some of my priorities in my non-fancy but very nice personal barn:

              1. GFCI outlets on every stall, positioned so fans/heated water buckets (not so much a concern for you) are pluggable with no extension cords. Also useful for clipping, etc.

              2. Dutch doors to the outside, hinged doors to the inside. Bars/grill something to the inside so horses can walk through without being bitten, open to the outside. Access hole for dropping in grain to make chores easy. Central place to house a few days' worth of hay for ease of distribution. Everything easy -- water hookups near water troughs, auto waterers in fields, paddocks/gates designed to reduce walking. "stall" with direct outside garage door for manure spreader -- fill up, drag out with tractor, spread, back to its out of sight but perfectly useful location every day.

              3. HUGE tack room for the number of people whose tack you are housing. My 10 by 24 tack room is adequate for one person though I have another storage area in the loft. I like it to look nice -- matching saddle racks, bridle racks, tack hanging the same way....and the large space makes that doable.

              4. Gates/open system at end of aisles to promote air flow.

              5. Twice as much inside tractor/implement storage as you think you need. A home for every implement, inside and away from animal access, so loose horses don't get tangled in your drag/manure spreader/whatever.

              6. Well prepped, levelled, matted stalls with tons of bedding.

              7. Years' supply of hay storage space so I can buy in summer when hay is reasonably priced.

              8. Some sort of all-weather footing riding area, large enough for jumping.

              9. Safe, large paddocks with good fencing and super-sized run-ins (mine are 14 by 36 with all-weather footing inside, 2 horses in the field usually, max 4).

              Things I would like (but do not have since I purchased my barn already-built:

              1. 14 by 14 stalls. A decadent size but perfect for large WBs. Mine are 10 by 12 and only OK because my horses rarely spend time inside.

              2. Dutch doors to the inside so I could elect to let the horses have their heads in the aisle. Don't have this, don't really miss it, but I would prefer it.

              3. Ceiling fans/misters/fly control system (esp. important for you in Florida -- here in northern IN it would be a luxury I don't really need).

              4. In a boarding barn, individual lockable tack lockers large enough that the average boarder need not overflow. Communal area for boarders to hang drying saddle pads so they don't stink up the lockers and get left around to be unsightly.

              5. Full double fencing around farm with auto gate as extra layer of protection against loose horses. Accidents happen, the more layers of security you have the better. I am budgeting for this down the road but don't have it yet. If I were building from scratch it would be in the plans from day 1.

              Being in IN I would like a large, 100 by 200 indoor arena but it isn't going to happen for me...can't justify it for 4 horses and my own personal use. It is much more cost-effective for me to board the working horses out during the winter at a place with a nice indoor.

              Comment


              • #8
                Lots of great information from others already. Inside the barn, I'd have plenty of grooming stalls- there is nothing more frustrating than trying to get past 4 horses in the aisle cross-ties, or being in the cross-ties and constantly needing to move.

                I'd also have big wide aisles, wide enough to back a vehicle in (think vet's truck in inclement weather). Wide aisles make it easier and safer to pass other horses in cross-ties if there is overflow from the grooming stalls.

                Stall grates that flip open or closed (or racing gates behind a sliding door). There is nothing I hate more than barns with metal grates along the entire front of stall/door and horses can't get their heads out. Having a top grate that flips down to open (or installing gates behind the main door) allows the horses to have their heads out, but can then be easily closed when another horse is in the aisle or if there is a biter/stallion/etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Forgot to add to mine -- a fly control PLAN is so important for a farm. I feed Solitude starting early on in the year and have very few flies. I would add fly predators if I needed but I have so few flies it is not necessary here. Also goes for mosquito control -- eliminate breeding grounds (dump troughs often, no standing water around farm, etc.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Forgot to mention the aisle: I've found a 16' aisle is PERFECT. Horses can pass each other, can be tied in front of their stalls and still pass, trucks and tractors fit inside with room to walk a horse by if whoever did the driving didn't leave it mathematically in the center of the aisle (even then...slim horses squeeze by).

                    I like those hay corners, with the board across a corner of the stall? Keeps the hay where the hay goes, keeps bedding out of the hay, and in my case, slows Odie's consumption of the hay...he stills gets some but he has to work for it by rearing and leaning over, grabbing some and then pulling it out to eat. The corner thing is removable so if a horse poops in it, it can be cleaned.
                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      This is all wonderful tips! We are planning on being a full service barn (lessons, training, sales, etc). We definitely want to have a x-country course and room to hack around. The property is great, mature oaks and magnolia trees. I do want a covered arena, what would an ideal size outdoor arena be? My current arena is much too small, is it possible to build one too large? Also, turnouts, how large would be ideal? I currently have one acre paddocks as well as two large fields on my 40 acre property. I have two shed row barns which I hate, especially when it's raining as the drainage is poor. Any have a good rule of thumb as to how many grooming areas and/or wash racks per stall ratio would be ideal? I definitely am planning on having all the turnouts near the barn. I also was wondering what seems to be good placement for arenas? Behind the barn, beside the barn? Mine are currently next to each other but staggered. It works okay, but I wish they were closer.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If money is ZERO issue, then fly spray systems and automatic watering is awesome. http://www.kingbarns.com makes GORGEOUS barns and excellent footing is a must. An indoor jumping ring, outside jumping ring, and outside flatting ring with cavelettis/poles; both jumping rings with nice show quality jumps. A NICE bathroom. Office with Air Conditioning/Heating. Lots of storage near the wash racks and cross ties. If it fits into your program, communal supplies are a lot easier than everyone buying separate things. Just buy baby pads in bulk, have everyone have their own half pad, and have lots of schooling girths. Brushes can be communal, but ask that people disinfect them if a horse has fungus. Communal hoof picks mean that no one is constantly losing them. Communal shampoo & conditioner, a few bottles normal, and then one or two medicated (I like equifit AgSilver shampoo). Lockers are nice, but even if you don't put in lockers, make sure the tack tack trunks are organized. As for tack rooms, I like when the bridles are all one one wall, saddles are all on one, and girths and saddle pads all on the last. It's nice to have a sink and tack cleaning station inside the tack room as well as adequate outlets. I like that my barn also has a working horse vacuum.
                        I could go on forever, I have dream of a GORGEOUS show barn facility.
                        Mendokuse

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Locking sliding security screen doors. Insect screen on the outside with heavy duty metal security grill on the inside.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just spewing some ideas, I'm certainly no expert.

                            -Big Ass fan(s) in the covered arena
                            -A separate lesson barn with stalls for the older/hard keeper/injured lesson horses and a covered area attached with grooming stalls. Separate tack room just for lesson tack. With a covered grooming area, you can still have barn lessons when it rains and to stay out of the heat. Maybe even parking nearby so parents could pull up right there.
                            -Lockable tack rooms with heating and air conditioning. Large enough for boarders to hang out in when weather is crappy.
                            -Lounge with refrigerator and microwave for boarders and employees to store lunch and drinks in. Coffee maker, comfy seats, some reading material, wifi...could be a good spot for parents to hang too.
                            -Laundry facilities/service
                            -Bank complex and ditches on x-country
                            -Grooming stalls with fans to quickly dry a horse and outlets for clipping
                            -Two or more outdoor arenas with lights so there's plenty of places to ride during lesson time in the evening. The extra one doesn't have to be super big, and it's easier to control beginners in a smaller arena anyway.
                            -A place on the stall to hang a halter on. I really don't like that my barn doesn't do this, what happens if there's a fire?
                            -Tack shop on site when you run out of fly spray or your horse rips your last pair of bell boots. Have some cute little things for kids to buy if you ever do camps.
                            -A covered area with portable stalls if you ever plan to host shows.
                            -Bathroom with a shower. Boarders could come ride their horse in the morning, clean up, and go straight to work.
                            -Run-ins in the large pastures
                            -Keep as many big trees for shade

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              -Just little things, but my ideal barn would have a HOT water as an option (mine right now doesn't) .
                              -Also, a I have been finding the hot walker that a barn I am working at has VERY hand and their COVERED round-pen is ALSO very handy.
                              -A nice, lighted arena would be preferable.
                              -LAUNDRY room, I can't tell you how many poor coin-washers I have probably destroyed with blankets and saddle pads!
                              -An indoor because who doesn't want an indoor :3
                              -Windows in the stalls, that open to outside or stalls with run-outs. Also turn out would be super awesome for a horse that isn't focusing on show, show, show.
                              -Small, feed doors on stalls. And of course matted stalls!
                              -Concrete aisle's for easy cleaning..

                              Oh the list could go on and on and on! Those are just handy things to have IMHO.
                              www.thetexasequestrian.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Seriously think about your stall cleaning equipment. With a little more thought I could have had my outside Dutch doors made about 6 inches wider and would be able to dump shavings directly into the stalls with the front end loader on my little tractor instead of either hauling in with a wheelbarrow (ok for a single load) or dumping loader scoops of shavings in the aisle outside each stall door. I also have a set of manure forks at each end of the aisle so I can start at either end.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  quarantine area/stall/pen with separate water, manure disposal etc.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    What, in a DREAM WORLD? An aquacizer!
                                    ~Veronica
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A nice, heated viewing room attached to the indoor.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My two must-haves for safety reasons: Stall doors that open to the outside, and the bulk of the hay supply stored in a separate structure.
                                        <><

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