Monday, July 27, 2009

My post-lottery dream barn

Truthfully, until recently I haven't given much thought to the design of my dream barn. However, Bob assures me that winning the lottery is inevitable, because he buys several tickets a month. It's pretty much in the bag, so I've been thinking and looking around.

I love the exterior design of the barn to the right, and think Harv and Riley would approve so long as it was tastefully landscaped. While stunning, the interior is less to my personal taste. Judge for yourself at the Blackburn Architects portfolio page. What do you think? Check out the links below to high end barns and tell me which ones you like, and why!

Do I have a knowledge of barn design? No. But I'll have lots of time to learn and plan while we wait for the lottery check to clear. Here are a few random opinions based on my experience as a boarder...

  • Dutch doors facing outside, with grillwork and options to close off in winter.
  • Stalls that open out to individual paddocks, or at least nearby access to paddocks. Not sure what footing to use on those areas, though.
  • Open, airy stall design, grates between stalls.
  • High ceilings everywhere, including wash stalls.
  • No protruding ceiling lights! Recessed lighting wherever ceilings are low.
  • Chutes from the hay loft to each stall, if the hay is not stored separately.
  • Cross ties in each stall, not in the aisleway.
  • A non-slippery, wide aisleway!!
Asphalt and concrete flooring is cost effective but scary. Harv slips every time he walks down the slight incline in his barn aisle, and recently I had a horse slip and fall on concrete (he spooked). The barn on the right, by Blackburn architects, seems like a nice solution. It looks like a mat to me, but it could be rubber paving stones.

Here are links to architects specializing in high end facilities -- check out the portfolios for a real drool-fest...

Blackburn Architects
CMW Equine Architects
Chenault Woodford
Hayward Designs
Equestrian facility design
GH2 Equestrian
Harrison Banks
Hafer Associates
Zaic and Associates
Wissmach Architects
Pearson and Peters Architects
International Equestrian Designs (commercial, public)

Stable-minded: An equestrian design blog
Equus blog on stable architecture

Other resources
Horse farm planning from
FBI Dream barn planner
Your dream barn planning guide from
Stable Scoop Episode 33 – Barn Building with Blackburn Architects ...
Designing your horse's home from The Horse Magazine
Build a barn that works from Equisearch
Ultimate horse barns from Google Books
55 tips for better barn function from Equisearch
Horse stable design from Penn State U


  1. Attached paddocks, I think, are essential for a dream barn.

    Also, I note that arena footing now comes in designer colors :

    So, since the lottery check is all-but-delivered, you'd best get busy ordering the footing that looks good with your tack....

  2. Those are quite the barn pics. My barn is about 75+ yeaars old and looks nothing like those!

  3. the one you have up is very nice maybe I will come have a sleep over

  4. Our barn has the walk out stalls (dutch doors onto individual paddocks) and I wouldn't want it any other way! Makes life so much easier. The barn is no where near as fancy as the one pictured though, but as soon as you build a big barn, you get horses to fill it, which means more poop to scoop...

  5. I would very much like to steal some friends of my family's barn.

    It has sliding metal-grill doors on the inside, and dutch doors that open to the outside. The dutch doors open to the dry lot, which actually stays dry because it's pea gravel on top of that weed proof landscaping fabric. The dutch doors are also under a 10' or 12' overhang that keeps the rain out of the stalls even when it's pouring and provides shelter and shade to the dry lot.

    It wasn't horribly expensive to do, but it was really well planned.

  6. Personally? While having cross ties in the stalls is convenient, I'd be paranoid my horse is going to get hung up or injured on the things. Protruding hardware and long ropes just seem like an accident waiting to happen. When they are in the aisle or a grooming stall, they are out of the way, but in the stall itself is just too nerve wracking. Then again, he's an 18 hand cross bred with a curious active mind and wouldn't leave them alone.

    A note about barns with outside dutch doors. It's been my experience that they tend to be colder barns. Nice in the summer but brutal during a New York winter even with the dutch doors shut. In a hotter climate, I could see the advantage though.

  7. Hi Dragonhawk,

    I'm of the opinion that you don't leave horses unattended in cross ties for more than 2-3 minutes. Having been in boarding barns where people park their horses in cross ties and wander away for 45 minutes, the notion of in-stall cross ties appeals to me. I also like having the aisles clear. Once Harvey bolted and ran down the aisle where 2 unattended horses were cross tied. Not pretty. If the barn manager makes rules about unattended horses or hour-long grooming sessions, aisle ties are fine.

    I just love the psychological break that dutch doors seem to give horses -- but they are a chewing hazard AND cold (I've been in two barns with dutch doors. I can live with the trade off personally but I don't live in NY...

  8. Hey, if you're going to have a horsie mansion, why not have grooming stalls? They're out of the way, keep the aisles clear and you don't have loose crossties/crosstie hardware in a stall where the horse is living for how so long he's in the barn.

  9. Ah-hah!!!! Good idea! The perfect solution...

  10. For awhile, we had an extra stall in our barn that we used as a grooming stall. It had stall mats but no shavings, a window, and the back Dutch door so the groomee could stand and watch out the windows while being groomed.

    It was right on the corner of the barn, and a great place to put a horse awaiting a vet visit or awaiting massage, chiro, trimming, etc.

    Now we're full, so no more grooming stall. I miss it. We don't have cross-ties in our aisle - just do a straight tie, which means daughter and I can easily groom/tack up 2-3 horses at once w/o getting in one another's way. (sort of like parallel parking) :)

    If you need more ideas, google Southern Pines realtors and horse properties - you'll find some pretty fancy barns. We don't even buy lottery tickets but I dream anyway!

  11. *droll* Someday...

    I'm ridiculous: I want my house to be a small log-cabin style home with a loft for the bedroom and a very open floor plan. (Only closed rooms being the bathroom, and maybe a second bedroom [kid or guest room?]) I would actually be fine living with an out house, water I have to pump, etc.

    That said, I really like nice barns! I wouldn't be surprised, if I buy a property (years down the lines, finishing college/grad school first!), if I spend more (a LOT more!) building the horses' home than I spend building my family's!! The horses will be far more spoiled than my human kids! (And if the kids complain, I'll tell them they can go and sleep in the hayloft.)

  12. My goofy 2yr old had a BAD washdown slip this weekend. He managed to get in a place w/o matts and down he went, while in cross tied. Not only did he get cut, but scared himself very badly and now we have trauma getting into the washstall... ugh.

  13. Interesting. The barn you pictured has a wooden floor in the aisle. Wonder why?

    Small for me too as the more stalls the more horses I'd have and three is fine, thank you.

    Grooming stalls are a great idea. My dutch doors open to the paddocks, shared by everyone. If I had more land, there would be individual paddocks for restricted turnout if needed.

    I have run in roof overhangs on both sides and that really helps offer protection in the stalls.

    Were I building again and if I had the money, I'd add an indoor wash stall, a larger tack/tool storage area separate from the feed room.

    And somehow, I would figure out how to control the mud around the barn itself.

    And then....I'd add an indoor arena, of course. Attached to the barn by a covered walkway.

    Enough. Where did I put that lottery ticket???

  14. You don't need to win the Lottery! Check out these affordable barn kits.

  15. WOW! Thanks for the great article & the many links! I can't wait to explore them all!
    God bless...

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