If you want to maximize the safety of the horses and handlers in your barn, there’s no better place to start than by focusing on your barn aisle. Poorly designed barn aisles can be dangerous, but they’re also often fixable. These five tips can help you to create a safer barn aisle.
Build the Aisle to Be Wide
When you build your barn, give some thought to an ideal aisle width. This will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your barn, its purpose, and how many horses and riders are likely to be in the barn at a single time. For instance, if you’re building a smaller barn for your own family, you probably don’t need a huge barn aisle. But if you’re operating a boarding and training facility where many riders will be present during the busier hours, it will be well worth the investment to create a generously wide barn aisle.
In addition to horse traffic, think about the other ways that you might need to use your barn aisle. Will you need to drive any sort of machinery into your barn? If so, you’ll want a wider aisle.
Invest in Quality Flooring
The flooring of your barn aisle can also affect its overall safety. Your barn aisle flooring should be durable and forgiving, but it also needs to maximize traction for both horse and handler. The flooring needs to offer these same properties when it’s wet.
Rubber flooring is a popular choice, since it’s highly durable, offers some shock absorption, and can be designed to maximize traction. Rubber aisle pavers create a beautiful aesthetic while also being safe. Some barn owners opt for rubber mats, which are a more economical but equally durable choice.
Though you may have a wide barn aisle, introducing elements like tack trunks and equipment storage can make the space unsafe again. If you’re building a barn, make sure to plan for adequate storage spaces to accommodate tack trunks, tools, and even blankets that are normally hung on stalls.
If you’re working with an existing barn, you may need to get a little creative with storage options to keep items out of the aisle. Dedicating an extra stall to storage may be a solution, but you may also be able to renovate or add on to your barn so you have the storage that you need.
Good lighting also contributes to the overall safety of your barn aisle. Invest in quality overhead lights that illuminate the entire aisle. If you’re planning out your dream barn, then skylights and windows can help to take advantage of natural light, minimizing your electric bill in the process.
Create Grooming Stalls
If possible, create or modify a space so that it can serve as a grooming stall. By using a grooming stall instead of cross ties, riders can groom and tack their horses out of the aisle. This isn’t just an added convenience, but can also make your barn safer.
Unsafe barn aisles can result in some pretty terrible accidents. It’s well worth the time and energy necessary to make your barn aisle as safe as possible.