With spring upon us, it’ll be time to wash off muddy legs and prepare horses for show season. A wash stall or wash bay in your barn can make bathing easier and faster, but a poorly designed wash stall can cause problems and even be a safety issue. If you’re thinking of building a wash stall or wash bay in your barn, these tips can help you to design a wash area that you will love.
It’s best to plan your wash stall location when you initially plan your entire barn’s layout. Many barn owners opt to position wash stalls either near a tack room or at an end of the barn. The location of your plumbing may partially make this decision for you; you can save money by locating your wash stall so that you can easily run a hose hookup from existing plumbing.
Be sure that you allow plenty of room for the stall. Squeezing a wash stall into an area that’s too small can create a dangerous situation. A 12×12-foot space is ideal and can help to keep both horse and handler safe.
Choose Your Siding
Invest in siding and ceiling paneling that is waterproof and durable. Metal or fiberglass panels work well, as do recycled plastic lumber, bricks, or concrete. To help keep the stall well-lit and welcoming, look for light colors, if possible.
Install Safe Flooring
The most important aspect in designing your wash bay might be the flooring that you choose. You’ll need a floor that is durable and waterproof, but you also need to maximize traction even when the floor is wet. A concrete floor is durable yet slick when wet, so many owners opt to lay rubber mats on top of the concrete. Another option is to install a floor of seamless rubber, which creates a forgiving surface that doesn’t get slick when wet.
Be sure that you also design the floor so that it slopes slightly, directing runoff water away from your horse and toward the drain. Placing the drain at the back of the stall is often best, since your horse won’t have to step on or around it. Be sure that you choose a drain that is easy to clean and that features a durable yet removable cover or grate to access an integral sediment bucket.
Install Appropriate Lighting
Quality lighting is a must for your wash stall, since it’s essential to be able to see what you’re doing and the light can also make the stall more welcoming for your horse. Position lights off to either side of your horse, rather than directly over him, which will result in strong shadows. Invest in quality lights that are fully sealed and waterproof.
When bathing your horse, you don’t want to have to repeatedly step away for supplies. Install some storage racks or shelves for items like shampoo, conditioner, sweat scrapers, sponges, and more. Use shelves that are made of stainless steel or plastic, since they’ll last longer in the wet environment than a wood unit will.
Give some thought to the type of hose that will work best for the situation, too. Self-coiling hoses can work well, but they also have a way of getting underfoot. The might solution might be a traditional hose paired with an overhead boom, or even a wash wand. This setup can keep the hose accessible without it being in the way.
Building Your Wash Stall
Good planning can contribute to the success of your wash stall project. If you’re planning an equine facility, Equine Facility Design can help. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through each step of your project, from dreaming up the perfect design to site research, planning, and more.