Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Future Barn: Part 1

Someday I want to have my own barn where I can keep my own horses and board a couple others. It will have an indoor and outdoor arena and all the amenities that I look for in a barn.

There was a story over at Eventing-A-Gogo about a horse that died tragically at the barn she's working at and it was a horrible, horrible story and it got me to thinking about what I want my barn to be like with an emphasis on safety features. Especially in the aspect of stall fronts, aka after that story I never want to have bars. I'm going to go for the mesh/grid style, that way we have no freak accidents with footsies getting stuck.

This is going to be a multi-part topic, just because there's so much to cover. Feel free to chime in with what you like/dislike for the barn where your horses stay, and if you could build your own barn how you would make it.


The first thing I wanted to cover was watering. I have decided (at least for now) that I really want automatic waterers. But there are some requirements. First, it must be heated so that there is no possibility of it freezing in winter and I am going to insulate the pipes so we don't have bursting/flooding issues. Second, it has to show how much water the horse is drinking. I want to know if the horse isn't feeling well and is not drinking. And lastly, it must be easy to clean.

So why an automatic waterer? Well, partly because it's a lot easier than filling up a bunch of buckets several times a day, the horse will never run out of water, and because it's a bit cleaner than some bucket watering systems. Right now Jetta has a giant tub bucket in the corner of her stall, but she enjoys pooping in it and dragging her hay over into it and leaving it there. Gross. Then it ends up being full and disgustingly dirty and you have to drag this super heavy bucket outside to dump it out and clean it. This is done literally almost every other day.

Nelson Manufacturing CompanyHere's the waterers that I found that fits my criteria. These are the Nelson Automatic Horse Waterers. They are stainless steel, so there's no rusting. They come in several different styles of mounting on the wall or in the ground. They come with optional heating so it doesn't freeze. The "drinking bowl" on the inside is removeable so you can take it out to clean it. It also has a water consumption meter that tells you how long the horse is spending drinking and can be easily reset so you know if your pony's not drinking. The only issue would be that it needs to be set at different heights if you have different size horses. A shetland and a 17h warmblood are not going to have the same height of waterer, but that's pretty much true of any system that you are going to use.


I really like the idea of having an automatic grain feeder as well for the horses. That way they can get more feedings, 3-5 times or more per day, without me having to be there to dish out each serving for every horse. The only problems would be then that the horses must have a complete grain, something that has vitamins mixed in, and it is probably really expensive. Below is the Pro Feeder that is programmable to dispense as much feed as you want, when you want, up to 12 times in 24 hours.
If I do not go with the automatic feeder option, I would like to have low corner feeders, like the one pictured on the above right, that has a door above it so I can simply open the feeding door and toss the food in.

For hay, I like having a feeder that's on or near to the ground so horses can eat in a more natural position, but the hay needs to be contained so they don't strew it all over their stall and poop on it. Two commercial products that I like are the Hay Bar (left) or the corner feeder by High Country Plastics (right).

Hay Bar Corner Manger Haybar  - Black, Horse  - image 2
HunterCorner Hay & Grain Single Feeder

The benefit of these are that because they're plastic they're sturdy and easy to clean, but pretty costly. I may end up making my own corner hay feeders just using wood screwed in across a corner. Not as easy to clean or as durable, but it gets the job done.

Stall Fronts

I would like to have mesh stall fronts, that way it's very unlikely that any horses can hurt themselves by getting anything stuck inbetween the bars of the front and it also promotes air flow. Here are two styles that I like and want to combine.

I want to be able to allow the horse to stick it's head out, but I would preferably like to be able to close the door if they're being naughty or just need some privacy. I want sliding doors, but they have to be well mounted because there's nothing worse than a sticky door that won't open unless you throw all your weight against it. I like the door on the left because I can close the top part, and there's a little bit of a buffer at the bottom so all the bedding doesn't get kicked out. The stall front on the left has all mesh, no bars, but you can't close the top part. Hopefully I'll be able to find the kind of door that I want, because I'm sure a custom design would cost mega-bucks. You can drool over more designs here at Lucas Equine.

This is of course my ideal dream barn situation. I'll probably spend the rest of my life saving up for it, but it can't hurt to dream right? Maybe I'll win the lottery some day... then again, I'd actually have to play to win!

The next installment in this series will include barn layout and tack room.


  1. Awesome entry. I was drooling all over these photos. Hey, a girl can dream, right? :)

  2. Thanks! I know, if you go to the site where the stall front pictures are from(, you could just drool over all their barn pictures. They're gorgeous!

  3. The only thing I liked about my old barn was that there weren't any mesh or bars in front of the stalls. My horses were able to touch noses around the wall anytime they wanted. This is an issue if you have a horse that likes to nip at their neighbors but for the most part it's better psychologically.

    The drawback of automatic waterers is that it's a b*tch to clean poo out of them.

  4. Yeah, I like having horses be able to stick their heads out and socialize. At one barn I boarded at there was chainlink on the front of the stalls and I felt bad for Jazzy cause she couldn't stick her head out. Then again at this current barn there's a couple horses that like to bite the other horses when they walk by and also they get put in "time out" if they're kicking the stall, so I like the option to close them in for short periods. They'll mostly be in the pasture though if I get my way!

    For waterers, that's why I like these cause they seem to be well designed with the removeable bowl so you can clean it easier.