Breeding Facilities

Any way you look at it, building a barn is a major undertaking. Doing it right the first time, to avoid headaches later, is the smart approach. In addition to the usual considerations of location, aesthetics, cost, and

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Any way you look at it, building a barn is a major undertaking. Doing it right the first time, to avoid headaches later, is the smart approach. In addition to the usual considerations of location, aesthetics, cost, and convenience, if you’re building a facility to house breeding stock (broodmares, foals, yearlings, and/or stallions), there are other factors to take into account. Are all your fixtures as safe as possible, especially in terms of the unpredictability of young horses? Are your stalls of sufficient size to house mares with foals at foot? Are you able to disinfect your foaling facilities properly, or isolate a sick horse from the rest of the herd? Can you safely handle your stallion, and provide him with an opportunity for turn-out and exercise? Do you have the proper facilities for the type of breeding you wish to do? These are just a few of the many considerations you’ll have to take into account.


Safety and hygiene are of heightened importance on a stud farm, where opportunities for the spread of infectious disease, and for accidental injury to horses and personnel, are everywhere. Young horses are volatile creatures; so are stallions. And while a gravid broodmare normally might be a placid creature, she needs plenty of room to maneuver.


Because horses frequently are shipped in and out of breeding facilities, the chance of viral or bacterial disease being introduced from an infected arrival is a constant threat. Respiratory viruses can be disastrous to foals, and equine herpes virus (also known as rhinopneumonitis or “rhino”) can move through a broodmare band in an “abortion storm” with devastating results. All of these factors have to be taken into account when you are designing a farm for breeding stock

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Written by:

Karen Briggs is the author of six books, including the recently updated Understanding Equine Nutrition as well as Understanding The Pony, both published by Eclipse Press. She’s written a few thousand articles on subjects ranging from guttural pouch infections to how to compost your manure. She is also a Canadian certified riding coach, an equine nutritionist, and works in media relations for the harness racing industry. She lives with her band of off-the-track Thoroughbreds on a farm near Guelph, Ontario, and dabbles in eventing.

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