You really have to love horses to purchase a property that is zoned for them, big enough for them, and suited to their needs. After all, having horses is not a cheap undertaking. But whether you enjoy riding or you’re looking to build a facility that will allow you to house your own horses while bringing in some income from other animals kept there, a stable is a necessity if you want a working equestrian property. And here are a few dos and don’ts to observe when designing your stable.
1. Size stalls appropriately. It’s important that your animals have enough space to comfortably get in and out of their stalls and move around within them. You’re not building a 5-star hotel, but you want to be able to walk into the stall next to your horse and there should be enough room overhead that it won’t knock itself out if it rears. The size of stalls may depend on the size of horses you house, but if you want to err on the side of caution, in preparation for stabling other horse or selling the property one day, build like you’re going to have Clydesdales in residence.
2. Plan for weather concerns. When the weather outside is frightfully cold or hot, you need to make sure your animals are safe and sound in the stable. This means outfitting your structure with appropriate insulation, ventilation, and temperature (and maybe even humidity) controls. You not only need to make sure that your animals are kept comfortable and healthy, but you don’t want to risk losing expensive riding equipment, food, or hay to weather concerns.
3. Add handy features. If you want to make managing your stable easier once it is built, consider useful extras like floor drains that let you wash down both animals and stalls. Another great option is modular design that allows you to adjust spaces as needed, like opening a wall between stalls to accommodate a mare and her foal after birth, just for example. These design details will really come in handy down the line.
1. Forego needed space. You might be keen to put all of your time and money into planning the actual stalls, but don’t forget that you also need a good tack room and spaces to store food and bedding. You might also want a medical facility for treating ill or injured animals, as well as an office for your personal use.
2. Forget to plan for known hazards. There are several potential hazards present in a barn. Fire, for example is a concern any time you have structures built with wood and filled with hay. So you might want to install LED lights that give off no heat, as well as place plenty of fire extinguishers throughout the structure. With SmartHome technology, you could even computerize doors and program them to open, releasing animals, if sensors pick up the heat and smoke from a fire. Then there are hazards like sick animals spreading illness, in which case including a medical room for exams and quarantine could be smart.
3. Start building without a budget. Anyone who owns horse property knows that expenses can quickly pile up. So don’t make the mistake of blowing your whole budget before you get to finishing touches like rings for clipping in leads and Treadall Horse Mats on the floor. Plan everything ahead of time so you don’t run out of funds midstream.