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The Ins and Outs of Planning to Build Your Own a Horse Barn

A barn is one of the single most expensive items you will build for your horse. To this end, it is wise to do a lot of planning on paper before you put in your order for materials. Failure to do so will result in expensive additions, modifications, and in extreme cases will force you to scrap the whole project and start over again.

Here are some tips on how to avoid pitfalls and instead plan for that perfect barn:
  • Plan the size of the barn with the number of horses you will have at any time in mind. Additionally, consider what you will be doing with your horses, and what additional amenities – if any - your use of the horses will necessitate.
  • Pick the proper and legal location for your barn. Check about the local zoning ordinances and if advisable, get your neighbor’s input before you break ground.
  • Remember that there is more to a barn than just a collection of stalls. You will also need to plan for a tack room, an area to wash the animals, and also a storage area for feed. Carefully consider ventilation, since it is an important key to a functioning barn; it may be a mixture of forced air and natural ventilation or one choice thereof. The other amenity that needs to be carefully planned is drainage. Lighting is often much easier to plan for, and when doing so make sure that it is adequate in any corner of the barn. Water sources are another important amenity that will need to be carefully planned. Do not skimp of safety features, such as smoke alarms and maybe even a sprinkler system.
  • Visit other horse owners’ barns and see what you like, and what works. Make a note of what you dislike and the things that simply do not seem to work. If you hire someone to do the building for you, make sure it is an experienced barn builder rather than a jack of all trades. Referrals will be worth their weight in gold!
  • Build a good relationship with the barn builder before she or he breaks ground. Both sides need to understand the scope of the barn builder’s involvement, and also the tasks that are left for the horse owner to finish.

Of course, even the best design will need to be reevaluated if you change your mind on the kinds of horses you want to purchase. After all, different sizes and kinds of animals affect the needs they will have. You may be tempted to complete your barn project in sections, depending on your financial prowess. While this is an attractive solution, it is important to remember that many a half-finished project will sit unfinished for a long time simply because funding was not properly planned. Make sure you also include your finances in the planning process.

Generally speaking, the outside of a barn is usually made of metal, while the individual stalls inside are made from dense lumber. This will increase the life of the building while also making the maintenance easier on the owner. There are several books and websites that offer a number of great suggestions on the proper planning and building of a horse barn. Include them in your planning process to assure that you are getting the best living quarters available for your animals.

Read the next horse barns article on Metal Barn Structures.
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