Horse Barns design elements for a shed row barn
Owning a horse is a dream for many. No matter if you are a small private barn or a larger horse facility, there are some very important design elements that should go into every horse barn. Horses are very active animals that seem to have an extra aptitude for accidents. A well planned horse barn can help eliminate some of them.
For private horse barns, the two most common types of barns are a shed row, a converted bank barn, or a pole building.
Horse Barn Plans
Horses are a passion with me. As a horse owner, wife of a general contractor, and a dressage instructor, I have often been asked horse barn design questions. Here are some main points and pointers for a home barn. There are of course horse barn plans and horse barn designs available, but below I have compiled my own list of important construction points. Many times we only have the opportunity to build a special building like this once, so make sure lots of research is done before you make your final decisions.
Horse Barn Superstructure
The main posts of the superstructure and any others that are buried in the ground should be made of pressure treated lumber. Horse urine and manure, and shavings are very acidic. The treated lumber better withstands this exposure. Also treated lumber should be used for sill plate, the first row of boards for the stalls, and any other place that will be heavily exposed to the shavings, manure, or water. The roof angle is typically a single slope. The lowest part of the angle should ideally have a clearance of at least ten feet.
Horse Stall Dimensions
If choosing a shed row, the stalls should be built with a width of twelve feet. A good standard size is 12’x12’. Even if a barn is only three or four stalls, it is wise to construct one of them a few feet longer. This larger stall can serve as a foaling stall or for stabled injured horse. A 12’x16’ are good dimensions for a larger stall.
Inside stall height should be at least 12 feet. High over head clearance reduces the risk of a rearing horse hitting its head. It also allows for sitting on young horses in the stall. It also improves air circulation and makes the stalls more inviting.
Shed row barns work well with Dutch doors. The option to open only half of the door allows the horses to look out, but still have the door fully shut in poor weather or at night.
Horse Stalls Resource try this hub
Horse Stall Walls
Every stall should be lined with kick boards to a height of about five feet. Some of the best lumber for this is rough cut oak. Many local lumber mills have lumber that is not good enough to make into furniture. Purchased in a bundle or by the truckload, this is the perfect material for building stalls. Other wood species, including some pines, are acceptable for stalls, but never purchase any Walnut, Cherry, or fruit tree woods. These species can cause a horse to founder when exposed to them.
Plywood is another option for the stall walls, but it is easier for the horses to kick through. Also it is much easier to remove one board if it gets kicked or chewed in half than repairing or replacing the whole sheet of plywood.
Above the five foot tall stall walls, between the stalls, chain link, bars, or 2”x4” wire should be installed. The open construction above the stall walls increased ventilation, makes the stalls more inviting, and also allows the horses to look at each other but not touch.
Surfaces of the stall walls and doors that a horse can chew should be covered in wire or metal plates. One set of board horse teeth can do as much damage as a whole tribe of beavers.
Shed Row horse barn kits
Shed Row Horse Barn
Roofing and Siding
Metal roofing or asphalt shingles are fine for the roof. The metal does make more noise when rained or hailed on. Asphalt shingles are cooler for the building at times, but with proper ventilation throughout the building, the horses are usually fine. When using a metal roof, consider adding skylight panels.
Metal or wood siding can be used on the building. The shed row barn itself should never be used as part of the fencing. If it is, one way to keep horses from chewing and rubbing on it is to mount electric fence insulators and wire in two strands on the outside of the barn.
For Horse Barn Accessories
Horsey proof windows for the horse barn
Windows are vital to good ventilation. Ideally each stall should have one or two windows. Glass in not a good choice, as the horses can push their noses through it and break the panes. A better solution is to mountplexiglass on the wooden window frames and cover it in one inch by one inch wire. The windows should each be hinged and also have a latch so that the window can be opened and closed. A twenty four inch square window opening is nice for the horses.
Prefabricated Horse Barn Kits, shed rows
Some companies even offer shed row horse barn kits, such as this one by MGC Buildings. I have never personally used one, but as with any prefabricated building, it does go together more quickly than building one on site. I would encourage a lot of research into the exact building materials a company uses for the barn, can it be customized in any way, and the stall, window, and door dimensions used in their plans.
Shed row barns are one of the most economical ways to build a quality barn on a smaller budget. For a private barn or only a few boarders, this type of construction is perfect.
And as always, Thanks for reading! Sue
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