Your barn improvements and What you love the most
My family is thinking about building a barn at our RV park. It is located across from one of the biggest horse show facilities in Georgia and we have a lot of overnight traffic go through with horses.
What I wanted to know from y'all is what is your favorite thing about your barn and what is your least favorite?! Favorite/least favorite stall front? Steel, aluminum, etc. What floors you like/dislike? I don't want concrete. I was thinking gravel then sand/dirt then matts. Favorite/least favorite stall waterer? Whether it be automatic or just a bucket, Easiest to clean, etc. Favorite/least favorite hay rack? Is it just a hay net (they would bring their own that way) or should we put racks in? How your barn is built with the air exchange, the way it is facing (North, South, etc), the height of your barn, how your wash rack is built, the list goes on....
Anything else you can think of!
I want to make all the people that come through GA with their horses that stop at our barn facilities happy and we want them to come back! Your input would be great seeing that you may have a barn of your own or may be boarding somewhere!
The people we are targeting are those traveling with their horses or those that are going to the show grounds and are early arrivals, etc.
There is a barn down the road from us that does nightly boarding and from what we have heard they have anywhere from 12-24 horses a night... and that place is a DUMP. I have been there before when I worked for a vet. We use to float teeth out there and I would nevvveerr let my horses step foot on that place. So we are hoping to get a little business of our own and possible do short term boarding.
We are looking at building a 12 stall horse barn with tack room, tool room, feed room, wash rack, and a round pen. There will be trailer parking and riding trails! We are excited about it. I think that it will be a lot of work, but will be fun in the long run. The only downside is there will be no 'pasture' so this is an extreme short term boarding place, unless the horse doesn't know what a pasture is like many of the high dollar horses that come through here.
Thanks for your input!!!
A covered wash rack is always nice!
We have a boarding facility at our lodge and cabins. It's old, built in the 60's, but nice and sturdy. Solid wood/cedar.
6 stalls. 4 are 18X15. 1 large draft stall is 18X20, sometimes keeps 2 horses in it.
1 foaling stall 25X18, usually keeps 2 horses in it.
All are solid walls which we REALLY like so horses cannot touch each other.
This is IMHO important when you have several horses from different owners,
no cross contamination.
Gravel, mats, then we use dust free pine shavings on top.
We strip each stall and deep clean after each use.
Each stall has an iron hay rack about 7 ft. above the ground.
We have buckets for water which are kept in the runs, or they can
use clips and do 1/2 buckets about 4 ft. high so they don't dirty them.
We sanitize the buckets after each use.
There is a tack room that runs in the middle of the barn, separating the 6 stalls.
It's nice because if we have two separate groups each gets three stalls and their own side of the barn. Feed room is on the east side on the end. Each stall has a fan hanging from the rafters to provide fly relief and cool, but we don't have heat. The doors to the paddocks are all solid sliding doors, good instead of bars or 1/2 doors in case you get a wild one! The "alleys" are gravel/dirt with sliding solid doors in case one decides to hop a stall door, we have a couple stalls with bar tops for the nippy or cantankerous ones.
The barn has a big "porch" with gravel that is used for bathing, or tacking up in bad weather.
4 of the stalls have long runs with solid wood fencing, 1 is a box stall, and the 18X20 has a round pen/paddock for training and usually boards two horses.
Then we have a round open arena for training. Wish it was enclosed but it's huge. We did have an enormous indoor training arena, looked like a cool barn with box stalls, but we turned that into a convention center ;(.
It had an indoor wash room with concrete floors, hanging (think car wash) hose with multi spray head.
The barn runs W/E with the paddocks on the north side. It's GREAT in the summer because it provides shade from the barn and keeps things cooler. It gets pretty warm in AR!! We also provide cattle panels for people who want to keep their horses with them out in the campground.
It's pretty hard work turning the stalls EVERY time they are used. But I love getting to look at all the "new" horses!
I like concrete walkways but not stall flooring. Trying to remember what my trainer has in her stalls. Pretty sure it's just dirt with shavings, and it works. Horses are always nice and clean.
We don't have bars on our stalls, but if we were to have bars I would want a manger built into it and then a half-door so the horse could still put his heads over and not be flinging hay all over his stall.
First, I was thrilled 11 years ago to find not only a real house with a real barn and existing fencing around MORE than 2 acres--we have 5 acres--for a great price so I could have my horses in the back yard. My horses have 24/7 turnout from April to November, then I stall as needed from November to April.
My (maybe) 80 yo barn has a loft that can hold 500 bales, with stairs, instead of a fireman's ladder, and one of the property's owners built a 16 x 19 ft shelter on the west side of it--VERY useful.
I like that the flooring is concrete bc you can clean it. I kept several horses until they died of old age. There is NO WAY that you can thoroughly clean "rot" from a dirt floor in your barn unless you dig it out and replace it. I'd like to know if the folks with dirt floors are replacing the dirt periodically?
MY IMPROVEMENTS are the stalls I've created and a shelter manger. DH and I in the process of rebuilding the 2 1/2' wide cattle manger on the north side of the shelter so that I can, once again, fill it from the catwalk attached to the west-facing sliding door to the loft.
I padded my cement floors with rubber mats. I prefer 1/2" button cattle mats in the aisles and 3/4" mats in the stalls. Mine have really lasted a long time. Some people do not think that rubber mat padding is adequate. I suggest laying a couple of inches of dirt on top of the cement and then laying down the mats for extra cushioning.
My barn had a 3/4 "stall" of sorts, 8 x 12, and I just hung a 13' pipe gate to close it in. Across the aisle I assembled 3 round pen pieces and a round pen gate and created a 12 x 12 stall in the opposite corner. Next to that (same side) I had a ready made 12 x 16 "stall" where I originally kept my 19yo TWH. There is a skinny door that I used to enter/exit and feed, and he wasn't interested in breaking the folding barn door down, so, though makeshift, it made a dandy stall once I floored it mats, too.
Something to think about, though it may raise the cost. My barn had a fenced in area in front of it. I cannot tell you how many times it contained my Arabian, "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP), who was my escape artist!.
Here's my place:
Almost forgot--solar lights are awesome. The little ones run on a solar AA or AAA battery and most batteries last about a year. I have them under the fencing by ALL of my gates. On the moonless nights you can see where you're going. If you buy the Christmas ones on clearance, you'll spend about $1/light. If you add about $5/4 replacement batteries, you can see how it cuts your electric bill. The newer ones are on in the morning in the summer, when out nights go from about 9PM-5AM, btw.
If you are constructing a facility for "temporary" boarding of transient horses the biggest concern you are going to have is making every surface possible disinfectable.
Personally I would go with concrete flooring, mats ontop and painted stainless steel stalls that are high enough no nose-to-nose contact will occur. Set up a system that has hoses running ontop of the stalls, and into each stall with a valve for each stall and then have the spout by a clip for the "boarders" to bring their own buckets and also have them feed in their own feed tubs and hay nets, or on the floor.
Virkon is cheap as dirt so make sure that between horses you are Virkoning everything and then as often as possible getting a Hotsy or pressure washer in that barn to get everything clean (including under the mats) and Virkon every surface.
The biggest stalls possible would be nice as well. I would not provide a tack room (people should have thier own tack trunks.. a saddle rack and hooks on each stall would be sufficient) and I would not be storing items such as personal tools and feed in a temp barn with so many people going through either.
Personally, were it me for a "temp" place boarding I would expect a completely sanitary barn as it is set up for transient horses. I carry my own Virkon and my horses chill in the trailer until I clean and Virkon their stalls and set up their stall mats (at horse shows). I would not ever normally board regularily at any place with so many transient horses so make sure you are going to have a big enough client base to support your new barn! I would also keep my personal horses and tack in a completely seperate barn to prevent disease spread and theft.
I second concrete floors! Because the stalls won't be used on a daily basis you won't have much trouble with urine buildup and moisture, but concrete with drains in a sloped corner would be nice! I personally like plenty of shavings for muck purposes to absorb waste, we have muck bins they can put their "stuff" in and we haul it off every day. We store bedding and extra hay in the feed room, and store emergency tack in the tack room. It's not used, visitors keep their tack in their trailers. You could skip it alltogether. Our "boarders" stay for at least two days and up to a week so we make it as comfy as possible. Our horses have their own barn here at home 7 miles away.
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We are on the list of horse 'hotels'. Even though I require copies of the health and coggins papers, we still disinfect after they leave. I do require they use their own buckets. Everything else we spray and scrub as soon as possible after they leave.
Also remember you'll need stud paddocks and stalls for show horses, pipe fencing, no climb wire welded between, at least 7-8 ft. high. Or have a no stud policy like we do, but our facility is for trail riders only. Need to have metal doors or lined for cribbers.
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Thanks for all the input! I am forwarding all of this information to my dad so he can ponder all of this and decide if he really wants to do this!
If anyone has anymore information they would like to share, it would be greatly appreciated!
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