7 Tips for Renovating Your Barn
Is a barn renovation heading your way? How time flies once we are in our barns for a number of years and suddenly you realize it’s time for a change. Or it could be that you have moved into a barn that needs some solid alterations? Whether your barn needs cosmetic updating or major redoing, the following tips will surely prove to be helpful throughout your renovation process. So let’s get started, dust down the cobwebs and open the doors as we shed some light on ideas for your barn.
Lighting – No one likes working in a dark barn. Lighting is one very essential way of making your barn easier to work within. The need for good quality lighting is never more apparent than when the farrier or vet is needed, especially on darker days or in the winter. Agricultural lights made specifically for horse use, simulate daylight with greater distribution. Cool burning lights have instant ‘on’ and are designed to withstand power surges that can be common in farm facilities. Getting an enclosed light with gaskets will seal out moisture, dust and bugs. These lights produce an accurate color rendition, (unlike florescent or ballast lighting), making it possible to properly assess your horses condition any time of the day or night. Quality lighting will also help you to feel better when you bathe and assess your horse, clean your stalls and organize your barn.
Ventilation – We all know that ventilation is crutial to horses respiratory health. Clean natural air flow into your barn, is one of the best ways to ventilate. Older barns with upper hay mow’s can be great for hay storage, however, dust and hay particles that filter through to horses below can create health issues and need proper ventilation. Areas in your barn where airflow does not move are perfect spots for over head fans or dutch-door openings. Bale doors are also available and can be installed on exterior walls allowing natural airflow into your barn. Do your stalls need windows? Window grill kits are available with hinged windows for easy cleaning giving more light and air flow.
Stalls – If your stalls have solid walls, the good news is that you can add grilled partitions to give your barn brighter light, more airflow and allow horses to socialize. Grilled partitions come in kits and solid welded sections for easy installation. Stall partitions can be galvanized or powder coat painted. Renovations like this will give your barn a new look and feel right away. Additionally, grilled or mesh doors allow more light and air flow. V-door openings allow horses to put their heads into the aisle relieving boredom and increasing socializing. Hay doors, water bucket doors and feed openings are options with kit stall fronts.
Stall Mats and Mattress Systems – Cleaning stalls can be an everyday chore even if your horses are in their stalls for a short time. Stall mats make cleaning stalls faster and easier. They also give horses a much more comfortable bed to sleep on as well as cutting costs on bedding. Installation requires leveling you stall and toping it with a stone screening to allow dampness to drain. Be sure to measure your stalls door way allowing for leveling, screenings and stall mats. Too low and horses can trip, too high and people can trip as well as bedding is more likely to push into your aisle. Stall mats should fit tightly against in the stall to avoid spaces between the mats and avoid shifting. If you feel your horse needs additional comfort, mattress systems are available. These therapeutic systems are wonderful for working horses, older horses or horses in general. Horses actually lie down more and get much better rest and recovery.
Flooring – If your aisle floors need renovating, stall mats or rubber pavers can improve areas where your horses are walking frequently. Both options provide a non-skid surface allowing easier grooming, farrier or vet work to be done. Stall mats need to be fitted tightly to avoid shifting. Rubber pavers are dog-bone shaped rubber ‘bricks’ that fit together making a soft non skid surface as well as a beautiful ‘bricked’ look. Rolled thin rubber is also available through stall flooring companies. However, a solid and level base is required for it to perform properly. A barn aisle with quality lighting and a safer flooring is a true gain to any horse owner.
Tack Rooms – Tack rooms can range from small to large depending on your discipline, how often you ride and how many people share that area. If your tack is near your hay or near a door where the weather seems to hit it often, storage lockers are available and may be a quick fix. A little bit of cover will helps to keep your saddles and bridles clean and ready for riding. If your tack room or area is over flowing, or if the number of riders changes frequently, collapsible saddle racks can be a good solution. Portable bridle or halter hangers can hang and be moved as necessary. One great tool is a tack cleaning hook to hold bridles, halters and girths for cleaning. Adding small time savers will make cleaning much faster.
Tool area – Having a place for your pickers, muck bucket, and scoop shovels organizes your barn and keeps tools out of your aisles. Having one or two places established in your barn allows you to get what you need faster without having to look all over the barn to find it. Tools can hang on walls or if your area is limited, they can be placed in a wheeled container that can be pushed to any area of the barn. This will keep them together and not falling over from being in high traffic areas in your barn.
Finding more ideas is as easy as getting on the web and searching Pinterest or other helpful ‘how to’ sites. You can always get great help from experts that carry fencing, stalls and horse equipment. As we horse people go, we love to talk about what works and helps in the barn! So before cold weather sets in, take a good look at your barn and see if you need to make any changes now. You will be in good company… I’m starting on my barn this week!
Debbie Disbrow, owner of RAMM Stalls and Horse Fencing, has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She is a certified fence installer and has helped build fencing and stalls for horse facility owners across the USA as well as into Europe. Debbie is highly involved in horse ownership and riding. Visit her web site atwww.rammfence.com,, or call 1-800-878-5644 for safer alternatives for your horses.