DIY Small Horse Barn Tips

Thinking of having horses on your property? If you have an unusually large backyard or a small acreage, you can make it happen. All you need is a structure and fenced area in which your horse, or horses, can roam and take shelter from bad weather. Maybe there is already a structure in your yard that could use some help to transform into a one or two horse barn, or you are looking to build one from scratch. Either way, it’s entirely doable!

What Are Your Horse Barn Needs

First you must consider, what are the things you and your horses need out of your barn? Your horses need a safe, clean enclosure that will protect them from the sun, rain, wind, and potentially snow. They will of course require easy access to their feed and to fresh water. You, on the other hand, will need a structure that is compact and maintenance friendly. Ideally you will have some storage for stall cleaning tools and supplies, and the stalls or paddocks will be easy to clean and disinfect. Let’s talk about how you can construct your barn so that it is ideal for both you and your horses.

Horse Barn Windows
Horse Barn Windows

Basic Horse Barn Construction

Wood is a classic material used in barns, but beware that wood walls can hold onto bacteria more easily than other materials. Horses can also develop chewing habits and destroy wood fairly easily. If you build your barn out of wood, make sure to keep at least part of your horse’s stall open so that there is plenty of ventilation and he can see his barn-mate, if he has one. It is important for horses to be able to see their fellow herd members in order to reduce stress.

Stall Floor Suggestions

Stall floors should be both comfortable for your horses and easy for you to clean and maintain. Leaving the floor of your horse’s stall as dirt is certainly an option, but concrete floors are more hygienic. They are easy to hose off and disinfect, but can be hard on your horse’s joints. A good compromise is to cover the concrete floors with rubber mats. These retain the easy maintenance of a hardwood floor and also allows for proper drainage of liquid, and is comfortable for your horse to stand on.

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Stalls or Paddocks?

If you are considering putting a small one or two horse barn on your property, it is not likely you have a ton of room to turnout your horse so he can move around. In this case, you probably don’t want to make a barn with just one or two 12 x 12 completely enclosed stalls.

Your horses will need space to roam around and play, and paddock stalls are the perfect way to fulfill this need. If the weather gets particularly nasty in your area (i.e., intense flurries, blizzards, or frequent rainstorms), you will want to be able to enclose your horses completely in their stalls to keep them safe from the weather. A stall that has a door leading to paddock space is perfect for this. During inclement weather, you can shut your horses into their stall so that they don’t get too cold or wet.

Climate is a Factor

If you live in a relatively moderate or warm area, you might opt for an open air barn construction. If the only environmental issue for your horses is potentially too much sun, your horses just need a roof to shade them.

You can build a roof structure and place two pipe paddocks beneath it so that the roof covers a good portion of the paddock, but with excess paddock space out in the sun. This building plan allows for maximum ventilation which is good for your horses’ health. It is also easier to keep clean, as any surfaces that could get dirty are minimized.

Simple Horse Barn Construction Techniques

If you just have one horse and it is allowed to free roam your entire property, then building a barn is quite simple. In this case, you will just need to build a three walled structure that will protect your horse in the event of bad weather. Make sure the open side is facing away from oncoming wind and storms.

This kind of structure is called a pole barn and is the most simple barn structure. For one horse, you will want a structure that is 8 x 16 feet and 8 feet tall at the opening and 6 feet tall in the back. Make sure you still include a closet or some other enclosed space to store feed and supplies.

Stall Doors

If your structure allows for stall doors, you can have either stall doors that swing open, like in a pipe stall, or larger sliding doors. If you opt for a swinging door, you have to keep in mind to keep the barn aisle large enough to account for the swinging door, and it must be able to swing out into the aisle, not back into your horse’s stall.

The advantage to sliding doors is that wind cannot get under the door as easily, and they are less intrusive spatially in your barn. Plus, in nicer weather, you can leave the door open and attach a cloth stall guard to improve ventilation and help your horses socialize a bit more with each other.

Horse Barn Windows
Horse Barn Windows

Maintenance & Storage

Unless you already have a small structure for storing barn items and hay, you will need to include space for that in your barn plan. You will need at least one room or covered area to store hay and feed for your horse, as well as stall cleaning supplies.

Be sure to include electrical outlets in your barn. It’s possible you would like to have them for small tools like clippers, but you might also find one winter that you need to install heaters in the barn because it’s so cold, or even fans because it’s too hot. You will be happy that you had the foresight to install outlets in those cases!

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Barn Water Systems

If you live in a place that gets cold enough to freeze pipes, you will want to take time to plan your water system carefully so that pipes can’t freeze and burst. You can choose a design that uses the ground temperature to keep water cool in the summer but warm in the winter. Having electrical outlets with which you can plug in heaters will also help prevent water from freezing in your barn.

In terms of what water system your horse would prefer, automatic waterers are the best choice. Automatic waterers fill up a small pan with water that the horse can drink from. As soon as the horse drinks from the pan, the water automatically refills. This is good for your horse as it always has access to fresh water, and the lack of stagnant water keeps mosquito populations from growing. They are also conservation friendly, as you only use as much water as your horse actually drinks. To top it off, they are very easy to clean.

Building a chore efficient and comfortable backyard barn structure for your horses is easy with a bit of planning. Hopefully you found these tips helpful and you are inspired to build your own small barn that maximizes convenience for you and your horses’ good health! You can always count on Shed Windows and More for those hard to find barn window sizes, along with shed hardware that makes your DIY horse barn project look incredible.