by Matt

As architects, we are frequently asked what makes a great barn design. And while aesthetics are important, there are several crucial factors that must be considered to prioritize the well-being of horses, providing them with a secure, comfortable, and healthy environment, while also ensuring functional and practical spaces for their handlers. These considerations apply whether you are planning a grand, state-of-the-art facility or a cozy personal barn!

Here are 7 key features we carefully consider when building or renovating stables in collaboration with our clients:

  1. Adequate Space: This applies for both indoors and outdoors space. There should be enough space for each horse to move around freely and comfortably, as well as for any necessary equipment or machinery. The minimum size for each stable will depend on the size of the horse, but generally, each stable should be at least 12ft x 12ft. Alongside indoor stalls, horses greatly benefit from outdoor areas where they can roam and exercise. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to have at least one acre of pasture per horse. These areas should be securely fenced and free from hazards.
  2. Functional Spaces: Tack rooms, feed rooms, and washrooms should be designed to be functional, practical, and easily accessible. Tack rooms and feed rooms should be located close to the stables for convenience.
  3. Climate Control and Shelter: Depending on the climate, heating or cooling systems may be necessary to keep the stable at a comfortable temperature for both horses and humans. In certain cases, we recommend a solarium which can keep horses warm and comfortable during cold weather, as well as help to dry horses after a bath. If the horses stay outdoors, adequate shelter from the elements should also be provided to protect horses from rain, wind, and sun.
  4. Lighting: Good lighting is essential for the safety of both horses and humans. It can also help to reduce stress in horses and create a more pleasant environment. For example, one design detail we often recommend our clients is to add a night light to the barn to promote a safe and relaxing environment for horses at night.
  5. Ventilation: Proper ventilation in the barn is important to prevent the build-up of harmful fumes and odors. It also helps minimize respiratory issues and promotes the overall well-being of horses and their handlers.
  6. Flooring: The flooring in a stable should be designed to provide a safe and comfortable surface for horses to stand on. Some popular options for stable flooring include rubber mats, tiles, or natural materials like clay or sand. The flooring should also be non-slip and easy to clean. One of our recommended suppliers is Marengo Equine Flooring, which provides safe and sustainable flooring systems for all barns.
  7. Drainage and Manure Management: Effective drainage and manure management are critical for maintaining a clean and healthy environment for horses. The stable should have a well-designed drainage system that prevent the build-up of standing water and directs water away from the buildings in order to prevent flooding. A manure management system should also be in place to ensure that the manure is properly disposed of or recycled. One of EFD’s recommended manure composting system supplier is O2Compost, which includes a covered storage area for the manure and a specialized turning and aerating system that promotes rapid decomposition without the need for manual pile turning. The resulting compost serves as a natural fertilizer that is easy to use and eco-friendly.

Creating a great stable or barn design should be tailored to meet the specific needs of the horses and their handlers, as well as any regulations or guidelines that apply to the construction of stables. It is essential for the safety and well-being of both horses and people. A well-designed is not only practical, but it also enhances the beauty of the property, provides a comfortable and efficient environment for horses, and ensures that they are safe and healthy.

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