Cover Your Assets ~ It’s The Smart Thing To Do
By Nikki Alvin-Smith

Cover Your Assets ~ It’s The Smart Thing To Do By Nikki Alvin-Smith

If you are a horse farm owner then you probably have an array of equipment to fulfill the duties of farm management. You probably own a few ‘toys’ too, just to make life more fun. If you run a horse business then each year you are depreciating this equipment on your tax return or taking a Section 179 deduction, but you want the depreciation of your investment to end there. On paper!

Whether you have a $30,000 hay baler, a $7000 ATV or a tractor for harrowing the arena and manure removal, or any other machinery, you know that protecting these valuable assets from the weather is a necessity to ensure longevity of the equipment. When you provide a structure to house this machinery you also provide a secure environment, avoiding theft and damage.

Motorized vehicles fascinate children, so storage can also provide a locked space where equipment can be stored away from playful hands and curious minds. If you leave a key in the electric golf cart you can be certain it’ll be taken for a jaunt when you aren’t looking!

Your four legged children i.e. the horses and other critters you may have on your farm, may also embark on an investigation of your farm equipment, and for horses that get loose or shy, the tongue of a hay wagon or mower or the snow plow on a tractor can cause injury to horse’s legs.

An equipment building also provides a tidy and professional appearance for your farm, as well as keeping everyone and everything, safe and secure. Covering your assets is the smart thing to do and you have many options to consider.

Shed Row Design

If you want easy hook up of equipment then a shed row design structure is a good way to go. Make sure it is deep enough to house the machine and the tongue of the machine/PTO. A line of equipment that is housed in a shed row means quick and easy access. You also won’t have to move the equipment around every time you want to mow or snow plow your yard or maneuver around the equipment when it is not in use, which minimizes the chance of inadvertent damage.

Cover Your Assets ~ It’s The Smart Thing To Do By Nikki Alvin-Smith

When deciding on the height of the shed row structure, don’t forget to allow for roll-bars on mowing equipment, and tractor cabs and mirrors. There is nothing worse than not being able to back your tractor all the way inside to drop the equipment at the back of the building. It is also wise to allow for the fact that you may purchase/use another tractor in the future and it may be a larger horsepower and size. So allow ample room for growth.

Also make sure the posts are not too close together to allow for turning room when backing up. It is always hard to back a hay wagon or larger piece of equipment such as a baler in a straight line so allow extra space so you don’t have to keep pulling the tractor backwards and forwards to park your equipment.

You also need room to walk around the equipment and make repairs and service it too.

Remember to store machinery tires off the dirt if possible, either on well-drained gravel or cement, or on rubber mats. This will help prevent dry rot of the tires and premature need for replacement. Big tires are expensive! Tractor tires can easily run over $1000 a piece. A sobering thought.

Also consider adding electric outlets and lights to the structure. We all work late on a farm! An electrical outlet is often needed to plug in a compressor to put air in a tire or work tools to make repairs.

If you want to protect your equipment from rodent infestation when not in use, consider adding mothballs to compartments e.g. the baling twine box or glove box. Remember to remove them before using the equipment, as they can be toxic if they are ingested or if their odor is inhaled.

Combination Stall and Storage Barn Design

A row of shedrow stalls or a run-in shed design with an extra bay or two at one end can be a very useful equipment storage option. This combination has become increasingly popular as it provides a budget friendly means of having stalls for the horses and the equipment parked at one end in a convenient proximity for use. The end of the structure can be fenced off from the horses.

Cover Your Assets ~ It’s The Smart Thing To Do By Nikki Alvin-Smith

Be aware that any engine has the possibility of becoming a fire hazard. If your horses are stalled next door to equipment and cannot escape in a fire, then carefully consider the safety of this design for your needs. Insurance companies may also charge a higher premium for a multi-use enclosed building, because of this additional risk. Never store hot equipment, such as hay elevators that have been recently used with hot motors, or motorized equipment of any sort next to hay storage areas to avoid fire risks.

Storage Sheds & Garages

The sheds of today are not your grandfather’s shed, poked down the end of the garden and hidden from view of the house. A dark space full of spiders and cobwebs, tools and detritus from the garden or house.

You can have a shed of any size, with open plan layout inside to avoid the effort of negotiating posts and pillars when parking and provide full use of all the inside space. You can add a loft for additional storage or even a living space. The same is true for garages.

The design can be matched to your house, complement your other buildings on your property in both design and color. Windows for natural light, doors that lock for security, and full protection for your machinery from whatever Mother Nature throws your way is guaranteed.

Stick Built or Modular

The modular build offers you true convenience. The building appears as if by magic, customized to your specifications and set on site by a professional crew. You need to complete site preparation and obtain any necessary permits of course, but a modular building company will detail the plans you need and guide you through the process. As the build is completed at the factory there are no weather delays in production. Construction noise and mess caused by a crew on your property for weeks on end and numerous material deliveries to the work site can be avoided with the modular option. Modular buildings can also be moved if you decide to sell up and wish to take them with you.

Many modular companies also offer a stick built option on your property for larger structures. For example, if you’d like a high-sided garage with a large loft space above for an office or studio, it can be built on site.

Stick built structures by local contractors can be a good choice too. When shopping for prices always make sure you include everything in the bottom line and that you are comparing apples to apples and get the quote in writing. All too often the handshake or poorly written contract leaves the property owner with additional costs. Ensure that whomever you choose you actually check out their references and are certain they are not salted references from family and friends of the contractor.


Always consider the type of siding and roof materials from the perspective of required maintenance as well as eye appeal. As a farm owner you are probably busy every single day taking care of your horses and clients and don’t have time for repainting or restaining.

Also if you are in a fire risk area consider a metal roof over a shingle asphalt roof.
Consider snowfall direction off the roof too. Doors ideally will be placed at the gable end.

How Do You Afford a Structure?

An established and reputable company that is experienced in building all types of structures with a proven track record of great customer satisfaction will often provide financing options at attractive rates. Always ask! Be aware that you may see a rise in your insurance premium to cover the replacement cost of the structure, but that a garage, shed or storage building does add value to your property in both curbside appeal and real estate appraisal.

Your investment in equipment is a huge chunk of change that is probably very hard earned. It makes sense to protect that investment to ensure its longevity and productive use. There are a lot of options out there and advice to be sought. Consult with a professional company before making any decision and ask about warranties on any structure you purchase. A good company will stand behind its structures and provide you with an enjoyable customer service experience from start to finish.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horizon Structures Inc., Atglen PA – Modular horse barn and indoor riding arena specialists. Please visit to learn more.

About Horizon Structures LLC:  One horse or twenty, there's one thing all horse owners have in common...the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart "horse-friendly" design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses' stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need -
Horizon Structures also sells indoor riding arenas, chicken coops, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.
For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at