New Florida Horse Facility Supports Passion for Carriage Driving

Jeff Day owns two elaborate horse facilities in Florida that support his passion for the equestrian sport. Both of his horse facilities were designed and built by Morton Buildings.
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MORTON, IL – Jeff Day’s years of horse carriage driving began at the age of 10 when he took two donkeys, hitched them to a wagon and sold $1 rides for neighborhood kids. Today, he owns two elaborate horse facilities in Florida that support his passion for the equestrian sport.

The newest facility, completed last year, is located in Morriston, about 20 miles west of Ocala, one of the horse capitals of the nation. His other operation is in Naples, which is also home base for Day and his wife, Denise.

The Morriston facility is part of a riding and driving community known as Steeplechase, which is adjacent to the 53,000-acre Goethe State Forest that offers over 100 miles of horse riding and carriage trails. “On any given day, I can see 25 carriages going by our driveway, which is why we enjoy it here so much,” Day says.

Both of his horse facilities were designed and built by Morton Buildings. The newer location consists of three structures:

Residential home — The 40-by-80-foot house has living quarters on one side and guest facilities and equipment storage on the other. A 16-foot-wide breezeway runs through the middle, dividing the structure into two halves, all under one roof.

Equipment building — This 45-by-60-foot building is used for storing the Days’ horse trailer, the family motor home and barn shavings.

Horse barn — The 64-by-72-foot horse barn has eight stalls for his Dutch driving horses and two wash stalls, all rubber-padded to keep horses comfortable and make cleaning easier. The barn has a 16-foot-wide alleyway through the middle to accommodate the carriages, a 20-foot-high ceiling, faux cypress beams and a 6-by-6-foot functional rooftop cupola, providing what Day calls a “very grand entrance.” Each horse has its own 12-by-16 foot stall, 12- by 12-foot porch to provide shelter from the sun or rain, and individual 36-foot-long paddock for exercise.

“On the days we don’t drive them, they have a lot of square feet to move around,” Day says. “It’s amazing how much they enjoy it. My horses are a little spoiled, and I like to keep them that way.”

Functional Benefits

Day appreciates the barn’s many functional benefits, including a 12-foot overhang at one end to park his carriages out of the weather. The Dutch doors and Diamond “M” sliding doors, he notes, are not only aesthetically attractive, but also make it easy to quickly close up the barn when inclement weather hits, and when transporting his horses between his two locations.

“I’m an advocate of keeping everything under one roof,” he says. “Here in Florida, you don’t want your horses having to wait too long in a warm trailer. Our barn design makes it easy to get in and out quickly and be on the highway.”

Other barn features include Morton Buildings’ Hi-Rib steel for strength and durability and its Energy Performer Insulation Package, which includes R30 insulation in the walls and ceiling to help keep his horses comfortable during hot summer weather.

Day owns 20 carriages, six of which are used at the Morriston location. He drives singles, pairs and four-horse teams, often accompanied by his wife and his boxer, Riley. On weekends, the Days frequently attend regional combined driving events, which involve dressage, marathon and obstacle cone competitions.

Love of Tradition

His dedication to carriage driving was influenced by his family and the sport’s proud tradition. He was raised in New Jersey, where his father was a carriage collector. “At one time, we had 450 carriages, which was one of the largest collections in North America,” he recalls. As a youth, he graduated from his two-donkey hitch to larger carriages he drove at weddings, parades and other local events.

In 1993, he tried out for the World Championship for Pair Horses combined driving competition and missed qualifying for the finals by one cut. Day then took a hiatus from the sport and started several businesses. He eventually sold those businesses and moved to Florida to pursue horse carriage driving full-time.

“Horse-drawn carriages were the backbone of transportation for years before cars and trucks,” he says. “It’s amazing to think how many things they moved on two or four wheels, mostly made of wood.”

That history and tradition are part of the reason Day takes a lot of pride in his newest horse facility.

“The design, engineering, woodwork and metalwork are all superior,” he says. “My house and barn stand out in the community. A lot of the others are open-air barns, and I didn’t want that.”

Click here to view photos of Jeff Day’s horse facility.  To learn more about Morton equestrian projects, visit www.mortonbuildings.com/projects/equestrian.

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About Morton Buildings

Morton Buildings, headquartered in Morton, Illinois, is the industry leader in post-frame manufacturing and construction.  At Morton, the difference is in the details.  From our cutting-edge innovations and best-in-class warranty to our craftsmen in the field, we are dedicated to surpassing expectations. Our legacy of excellence in construction spans more than a century and more than a quarter-million satisfied customers. For more information, please visit www.mortonbuildings.com.

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