Housing Your Horse

In the back of your mind somewhere there lurks a Dream Barn. Go on, admit it. You’ve planned it down to the last luxurious detail–from the Olympic-sized riding arena (with the climate-impervious perfect footing) right down to the automatic fly

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In the back of your mind somewhere there lurks a Dream Barn. Go on, admit it. You’ve planned it down to the last luxurious detail–from the Olympic-sized riding arena (with the climate-impervious perfect footing) right down to the automatic fly spray misting system and the heated automatic waterers that never freeze up, overflow, or get jammed. There your horses live in decadent comfort, with every convenience at your fingertips…in the midst of 450 acres of green, rolling hills, tastefully fenced with four-board oak, naturally. Ah…heaven.


Of course, there’s a huge distance between dreams and reality (for most of us, anyway!). The bells and whistles of a Dream Barn might be beyond the budget of many of us…but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a barn that is hot in summer, cold in winter, and inconvenient to work around in every conceivable way. If you are building a barn–or even if you’re just thinking about it–there are lots of common-sense features that you can incorporate to make life for you, and your horses, easier, more comfortable, and most importantly, safer. Most of them aren’t a matter of extra expense, just forethought and planning. Let’s have a look at what makes a good barn (and perhaps a few things that make a poor one).


Location, Location, Location


It’s a song we’ve heard many times before, but finding the best location for your barn is the first step toward building a structure you’ll be happy with for years to come. Most of us don’t have that idyllic 450 acres of rolling pasture to work with, but even small properties can be horse-friendly if you do your homework

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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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