If you are building a horse barn, or you already have a barn but are interested in getting horses, there are some must-haves that you will need to buy!
There is nothing better than building your own horse bard; that way, it can be exactly what you always imagined.
This is not always an option for everyone, and you will want to make sure that you can work with what you have.
If you are looking into getting horses and are wondering what you need, this is the article for you!
What Do you Need for a Barn?
Having the proper supplies for your horses is very important, but making sure your barn is properly set up is a big deal as well.
Ideally, there are a lot of considerations to be made when looking into the perfect barn.
These considerations have been researched and listed below:
1. Weather Considerations
Weather can vary wildly depending on your location and the time of the year.
Depending on your weather conditions, you will be spending more or less time in the barn.
Weather is very important when it comes to horses. Weather can affect their body temperature, the availability of water, potential mud, and other animal care factors.
There are some things that you cannot control if your barn has already been constructed, but there are some things that you can control.
Some weather conditions to consider if you can build your barn from scratch include:
- Wind Direction
- Runoff Patterns
These are not anything that you can work with if your barn is already constructed. If you are trying to add updates to a barn that you already have, you can change the siding or roofing.
Depending on your weather conditions, you will want to use a different type of wood.
2. Correct Ventilation
After you are done concerning yourself with the weather conditions, you will want to make sure that you have good ventilation in your barn.
Your horses are built to live in the fresh air, and if their barn is not vented properly, they will have a problem getting the air that they require.
In addition, without proper ventilation, you can have trapped air that can trap odor, dust, and humidity, which can be bad for your horse’s health.
To ventilate your barn, you can add vents in the roof to release the warm air that will rise. Another good source of ventilation can be created from a cross-breeze and can reduce the temperature in your barn.
You can increase this breeze using ceiling fans.
Light is important in your barn.
If you can get a lot of natural light in your barn, that is the best way to go.
This is not always possible, so you want to make sure that if you cannot get enough natural light, you get enough artificial light to correctly light your barn.
To be safe, when installing light fixtures, you will want to make sure they are mounted at least 8 feet off the ground.
It is a good idea to use green energy lightbulbs that will run using less electricity and will last a lot longer.
You might even be able to get tax credits for using green energy plans.
Horses are big, and that is why space is very important.
Horses can live in a smaller stall, but they will be more comfortable if you give them more space. A good-sized stall would be about 12 by 12 feet, but if you have a bigger horse, it could even be bigger than that.
No matter what the size of your stall, you will at least need the height of your stall to be at least 8 feet tall, and you will need doors that are at least 4 feet wide so that you can safely move your horses in and out.
Depending on the size of your aisles, you will want to consider either swinging doors that open out or sliding doors. Obviously, you will want sliding doors if you need to conserve space in your aisle.
Not only will you want a lot of space in your horse stalls, but you will also want a lot of space in the aisle between them.
Space in between your stall will help you safely maneuver and tend to your horses.
Like your stalls, you will want your aisles to be about 12 feet wide as well, ideally.
5. The Floor
Horses spend a lot of their time standing, and for that reason, you will want to make sure you pay attention to the floor that they will be standing on.
Some options for the common potential flooring that you can use in your horse stalls include:
- Crushed Limestone
These options can be gentle for your horse’s legs and can provide the proper drainage that is needed, but they have some drawbacks.
Drawbacks to the standard flooring materials are that they are harder to clean and can become very labor-intensive to take care of.
Eventually, you will have to dig out these floorings and replace them.
An alternative to the more typical stall flooring choices is a rubber mat. Rubber mats can be very easy to clean, can provide drainage, are good for your horse’s legs, and can save you money by reducing your bedding costs.
6. Wash Stall
A wash stall is very important to your barn, even if you have to add it to the outside.
Some people do not view a wash stall as a necessity, but it can be very helpful for a variety of reasons.
Not only is a wash stall good for your horse’s overall health, but you can also use it for filling your buckets and drying out your horse’s blankets and pads.
You can save money by using a tankless water heater so that it is not constantly heating water when you don’t need it.
7. Tack Room
A tack room is a great way to have immediate and convenient access to your bridles, saddles, blankets, brushes, and other equipment that you will need to use on a regular basis.
It is also a good idea to have a tack room with a door that closes so that you can reduce the dirt and dust that collects on your things.
Storage is also important for your barn.
Both horses and your farm require a lot of equipment to function, and you will need somewhere to put it all.
You need to plan space for what your horses eat, the bedding they need, the equipment, and many other things. Make sure that whatever you are storing is stored safely.
Also, the more organized you keep your items, the less time you will spend looking around for them.
9. Waste Management
It is very important to manage your horse’s waste.
This needs to be done often for health reasons as well as the smell. You will want to make sure that you make it really easy to remove the waste when needed.
An average horse creates 4-5 tons of waste per year, and this figure does not even count the soiled bedding that you will have to remove as well.
To make it easy to remove the manure, you will want a short term waste pile to be near the barn for easy access.
Then later, you can move it to a long term pile farther away.
Safety is important, no matter what you do.
A barn is full of flammable material, so it is important that you protect your barn from fire threats.
Some things you can do to protect your barn and your animals from fire include:
- Install a lightning rod.
- Make sure you have enough outlets, so they don’t get overloaded.
- Make sure your circuit breakers are modern and working properly.
- Don’t store flammable material in your barn.
- Protect wires with rodent-proof metal or plastic.
- Make sure you have the proper amount of fire extinguishers around and that they are all charged and current.
Even if your barn is old, you should be able to remodel or rebuild with safety in mind.
At the very least, make sure that you have the proper updates needed to keep your barn and animals safe.
What Do you Need for Your Horse Stall?
The barn is not the only thing that you need to pay attention to when you are keeping horses.
You also want to make sure that your horse stall has all the necessary equipment needed to keep your horses safe and comfortable.
11. The Stall
Before you start making sure your stalls are equipped, you will want to make sure that you have enough of them in the first place.
Most people end up getting more horses after they start taking care of horses.
So if you have four horses, you might want to consider having an extra stall or two just in case you end up getting more horses later on.
If you end up having more stalls than horses, the empty stalls can be used for storage until you need them.
It is important that you have bedded in your horse stall so that your horses are comfortable.
Popular bedding choices are hay and straw because they are cheap and easy to remove and replace when needed.
Make sure that you buy bedding that does not have toxic parts from trees, like yew or black walnut.
You should be safe with your bedding choices if you buy from a supplier that knows what they are talking about when it comes to horses.
Water might be the most important thing for your horse like it is for all other living creatures.
Your horse should be able to have access to clean water at all times in its life.
To keep water in your horse’s stall, you would ideally keep two water buckets full so that you don’t have to fill it as often. If you want to go a more expensive route, you can also install automatic waterers.
These devices can help to supply fresh water without you having to fill up the buckets multiple times per day, which can become incredibly time-consuming, especially the more horses you have.
If the weather is cold, make sure you do not also give your horse cold water so that their insides do not get cold.
Horses will not drink water that is cold when they are in cold temperatures, and this can be bad for their hydration and health.
In addition to water, your horse will also need food.
You can supply food to your horses from a variety of feeder types.
You can use a basic rack, or for more expense, you can use an auto feeder. Auto feeders are a good way to reduce the labor that it takes to feed your horses.
You can even get an auto feeder that will dispense any necessary medications or supplements.
If you do go with an auto feeder, you will still have to check on it daily to make sure that it is working properly.
Sometimes if they malfunction, it can overfeed or underfeed your horse.
15. Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning your horse’s stall is a necessary task, and you will want to make sure that you have the proper supplies to do it.
Cleaning supplies that you will need include but are not limited to:
- Muck Buckets
These objects should be kept close to the stalls so that they can easily be obtained when you need them.
As previously mentioned, ventilation and airflow are important in your barn.
Having a ceiling fan in your horse’s stall can help increase the airflow during hot or humid weather.
You do not want to have floor fans in your barn because they come with cords and can be unsafe to keep in the stall with your horses.
Overhead fans are safer, quieter, and can keep your horse cooler in the warm weather.
17. Wheel Barrow
Wheelbarrows can be helpful when it comes to cleaning your horse’s stall and transporting waste and soiled bedding.
You should keep a few around in case you need them.
That way, you can move multiple things or have multiple people working in your barn at one time.
18. Wheeled Cart
Another thing that would be great to keep in your barn is a wheeled cart.
This cart could hold the supplies that you need and make it easier to travel from stall to stall as well as carrying equipment in and out of storage rooms.
Not only is it an easier way to transport things like heavy saddles and other equipment all at once, but it can also save you from straining or overusing your muscles and putting stress on your joints.
19. Dry Erase Board
If you have a staff of multiple people, or you just have a hard time remembering things, keeping a dry erase board outside each horse’s stall with important notes can be a great trick for remembering the necessary details.
This is especially helpful when you own multiple horses; that way, you do not get anything mixed up.
You can record feedings and times, needed medications, the last time they were out, etc.
What Do I Need for my Horses When They are Not in the Barn?
Horses don’t want to spend all of their time indoors, and they shouldn’t.
When you let your horses out of the barn to roam around, there are some things that you will need outside that you want to be sure that you have.
Fencing is very important when it comes to keeping horses outside.
A safe and secure fence will not only minimize the risk that your horses stray but will also prevent potential injuries.
Some materials that you can use for fencing in your horse include wooden posts, wooden rail, plastic rail, electric tape, plain wire, and mesh.
No matter what equipment you use for your fencing, you want to make sure that it is secure and safe.
If you intend to have a gate so that you can leave with your horses through the fence, you will want to make sure that it is at least 12 feet wide and opens inwards.
Metal is a good choice of material for your gate because it is light to handle and is lower maintenance than other types of material.
You might also want to consider a metal gate that features mesh on the lower half so that the horses do not put their feet through the rungs of the gate and become injured.
If you intend to let, your horses roam and graze, you will want to make sure they have a proper pasture to do it in.
Make sure the grass in the pasture is a good mixture of herbs and grasses so that it is thick and less likely to be churned up from the horse’s hooves.
If the grass is too lush, it could lead to your horses experiencing weight gain, so you will want to try to strike a healthy balance.
If you intend to let your horses graze often, you will need approximately 1 acre of land per horse.
Make sure you check the pasture regularly for any poisonous plants and dispose of them immediately for the safety of your horses and your other animals.
One example could be ragwort. This is extremely hazardous and should be removed and burned. Make sure you use gloves when dealing with ragwort.
You will also want to be sure your horses have access to water while they are in the pasture as well as their stall so that they can drink whenever they need to.
Even though your barn provides shelter for your horse, you might want to consider having shelter outside as well if you plan to let your horses out of the barn for extended periods of time.
Shelters can protect your horses from the sun, wind, and other harsh weather.
Even though horses have a great amount of tolerance for the cold, they will need shelter to protect them from the elements.
Even if your shelter is just a lean-to, it can make a world of difference for your horse.
Lastly, horses need company.
By nature, horses are made to live in herds, and they need that companionship throughout their life.
Preferably your horse will have a companion that they get along with, and that is similar in age.
If you only have two horses, one might become stressed if the other is taken away, even temporarily.
If you follow all the above advice, you will have a very happy and well taken care of your horse!