I Bought The Wrong Horse Barn
By Nikki Alvin-Smith
The purchase of a new horse barn can be a fabulous experience. But disappointment and regret can creep in through the barn door once the structure is built and daily use illuminates flaws in the design.
There is no perfect barn. Needs and uses change over time and decisions made at a single point in time can never fully envision future requirements, no matter how well laid the plans have been set out and executed.
Leading modular horse barn manufacturer, Horizon Structures, based in Atglen, PA with a nationwide footprint has been designing and delivering multiple styles of horse barns for over a decade. Their custom designs range from the humble low-profile barn to large commercial projects with multiple structures of various configurations and styles. Crafted with Amish artisan workmanship, with designs drafted in house, Horizon Structures serve everyone from backyard horse owners to Olympic riders and major horse breeders to mounted patrol special units.
Enjoy this advice kindly put together with the helpful input of the experienced and friendly team at Horizon Structures as they share their combined wealth of knowledge on how to avoid regrets and disappointments down the road when it comes to features and choices in horse barn construction and design.
Cost Effective Ways To Add Storage And Shelter
The addition of an overhang to the long side of the structure is a budget conscious way to add both extra storage and shelter to a horse barn. The overhang or ‘lean to’ aspect can be adapted for use as cross ties for grooming, storage for provisions or equipment or used for horses to shelter from sun, wind, and rain when designed as an adjunct space to pastures.
Dutch Door Delights
A Dutch door installed the exterior wall of each stall offers many benefits:
· Instant fresh air
· Freedom of movement when outdoor access is granted to a fenced enclosure
· Mitigates boredom in stabled horses
· Immediate access to release horses in a fire emergency
· Flexible caregiving schedules as horses can be fed and watered outside
· Negates need for daily handling for turnout
· Dutch doors can be closed to limit access to minimize bedding costs/labor to muck out
· Horses can be shut outside while stalls are mucked out making it safer for caregiver and the task easier to complete
The Height Of Foolish Choice
The height of exterior stall walls, front stall walls, stall doors, Dutch doors, and the gable ends of the building should be carefully considered. This Barn Buying Guide will address this issue and many more besides. Resource all aspects of stall size, not just how many and the square feet of each.
When considering stall size bear in mind: interior vs exterior dimensions. Industry Standard, when discussing stall sizes, is measured in exterior dimensions. When you take framing and kickboard into account, the interior dimensions of the stalls are about 6” less overall.
What You Can Afford
The English proverb, “Cut your coat according to your cloth,” meaning to undertake only what you have the money or ability to do and no more is a good mantra to remember when making any purchase. The trouble is large capital expenses such as horse barns sometimes take more cash than is at hand. This can result in the build of a smaller structure that is soon outgrown.
There are several ways to leverage your financial resources that can help you navigate the fiscal aspect responsibly.
· Ask about financing options with the company or 3rd party
· Commercial enterprises should consult an experienced accountant for information regarding depreciation and amortization and interest deduction option
· Grant applications are often available for registered 501 (c) 3 organizations
· Consult with your Project Manager at the outset and ask for advice on where costs may be cut or spend best utilized
· Plan big but start small – Let the head rule the heart!
The one thing you can be certain of is that nothing lasts forever. Seek low maintenance siding and roofing and materials throughout the build because let’s face it, we’d rather have reins in our hands than a paintbrush and pot of paint. But be aware that any structural component can fail.
Protect yourself long term by picking a company that stands behind its products in the first place with clearly written warranties and references that back up their claims that they back up their barn construction including workmanship and materials used.
Take A Hard Look At Hardware
Substandard hardware will quickly deteriorate in function and appearance. Companies that cut corners on bolts, brackets, tie downs, ties, door fixtures etc. with poorly applied coatings on metal, inferior quality metal products or unsuitable structural capacities of hardware are not always easy issues to spot. Be particular and take a hard look at the nuts and bolts in the literal sense. Ask the manufacture/construction company what they use and research their claims as to durability and suitability.
Horses Kick and Horses Bite
It may sound redundant to mention but seemingly many horse owners are ambivalent about the spend on a kick wall around the interior of a stall to protect both the equine occupant and the structure from damage caused by errant kicks or placement of a grill or metal strip on exposed surfaces in the stall to protect from chewing and biting of the wood. Spend it. These are inexpensive options that you will regret not including at the outset.
Application of a horse safe sealant on interior stall walls before the horses move in is also a good idea. This makes removing manure stains easy with a simple power wash when you do a deep clean of the stables. Additionally, it further protects the wood.
Here’s The Top Five
The ‘don’t forgets’ – check them out!