03-19-2010, 09:15 AM
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Old barns are notoriuos for having old rusty nails hanging out of the siding, and in the soil around the barn. Go around the barn looking carefully at the siding. Remove any nails that no longer have any 'grip' in the structure behind the siding. Renail in a different place.
Find a strong magnet to look for nails in the soil. I mean a BIG industrial magnet 5" x 10" and several pounds. Rake the surface around the barn, and drag the magnet over the soil to pick up any nails, screws, and hardware. It only takes one small nail to create one very big vet bill. The contractors recently working on the barn may also have dropped nails.
Look for tell-tale signs that barbed wire may have been used on the farm, and remove it. Old insulators nailed to trees or the outside of the barn are good indicators that you need to look farther. You might find one tiny piece of it, but when you gently pull on it, you find a long strand buried in the soil.
I would visit several boarding facilities in the area, and other private barns to look at the construction details. You will get ideas of what is useful to put in your barn. Touring other barns will help you come up with a plan to divide up your barn so that it makes sense for the way you want to maintain your horses.
And...keep asking questions.