Building a Vet-Approved Horse Barn



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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.


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Written by:

Nancy S. Loving, DVM, owns Loving Equine Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, and has a special interest in managing the care of sport horses. Her book, All Horse Systems Go, is a comprehensive veterinary care and conditioning resource in full color that covers all facets of horse care. She has also authored the books Go the Distance as a resource for endurance horse owners, Conformation and Performance, and First Aid for Horse and Rider in addition to many veterinary articles for both horse owner and professional audiences.

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