Whether building from the ground up or retrofitting existing structures, prioritize your horse’s health and safety

A barn is a wonderful shelter for a horse and makes a nice workplace for people to do horse-related chores. Barns range in shape, size, materials, and age. Some come with a property; some owners build after moving in. Regardless of whether you have an existing structure or are planning a new one, consider equine safety and comfort when retrofitting or designing it. Over decades in equine practice, I have encountered innumerable injuries and health issues, some quite serious, that owners could have avoided with practical design modifications of their stabling and management.

Matthew Johnson, architect and owner of Equine Facility Design, in Portland, Oregon, has devoted his career to designing equestrian facilities and barns with an eye for the details. He offers barn construction suggestions to help optimize horse health and reduce accidents and injury.