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I am planning to build soon on my Tennessee property. I was just wondering the pro's and con's of a regular barn with stalls or a run-in shed for 2-3 horses. Let me know what works, and what doesn't for you!

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We went with a traditional barn. The only regret we have is that we have fixed 4 foot doorways into the center isle of the barn and cannot get the small tractor in there with the boxblade. All stalls have to be cleaned by hand. It wasn't a problem until hubby had surgery and I threw my back out at around the same time. I think the next project is a run in shed and not use the barn stalls daily.

Yes a combo barn is a good idea too, with stalls and a shed, hmmm....

My horses are not good social eaters and need some separation to avoid the dominate taking over more of the feed at meal times.  I do like 10 foot gates that can be opened so cleaning is simpler.
Gates, like the tubular gates 10 ft long?
Because we have 17 horses we have divided them up into herds no larger than 5.  This helps to maintain peace in the pasture, however we find that they do need to be separated for graining. So we have built barns that are more like run in sheds with stalls.  Our barn has 3 sides enclosed.  It is divided into two parts, one with stalls with 10 foot gates which we keep open when not trying to confine the horses and close when feeding , vetting or when the ferrier is here,  The other half of the barn, separated by a half wall from the stalls has a wood floor and has our storage containers for our grain, stacked hay and racks for our tack.  This arrangement allows the horses to go in and out of the barn at will and keeps  fresh air circulating in the barn to help prevent COPD.  Feeding is very easy because of the half wall so that when we are out of town the person feeding does not need to go into the stalls to feed.  Our barn cats can come and go in and out of the barn easily. We have mats in each stall for easier cleaning.  The open side of our barn faces east and has a 4 ft overhang so that rain does not blow in.  
That sounds like a good set-up Denise! Thanks everyone for all the input!

Hi Denise, I was wondering where to position the open part of the shed. I thought south, but you said yours face east.  ~~~input????

Hi, Robin.  Our open side faces east because almost all the storms in our area come from either the south or the west. We also get winter winds from the north sometimes.   We find this works best for us, but you will need to figure that out for yourself for your area.  I can't remember ever having winds come from the east since I have been here.  If you have a good size overhang it will probably not matter much as far as rain being driven in the barn,  We have a 4 ft, but I wish I had made is longer now.  Just personal preference. We have 3 paddocks around the main barn, two are dry lots, which can be opened to pastures through gates. I like the suggestion to have a dry lot turn out for each stall but because of the number of horses we have (17) it would not work as well as what we have now.  I am excited for you.  It is great to be able to design your barn from scratch.  Having said that don't be disappointed if there are things you would change once you start using it. Good Luck

Thanks again Denise, I am in south Florida now but I want to figure out a plan before I start building. I will be moving to the Altamont area, it is on a plateau and mostly flat. I have to clear the land also. Do you have any ideas on what trees I should keep, Like near the barns for shade etc...???


You are welcome, Robin.  Keep in mind that if your land is thickly wooded, once you start clearing it, the trees you leave standing may not make it.  We were in 3 years of drought when I first came here and it has taken its toll on the root systems and health of the trees.  We have a mess after every wind storm because the trees have been so compromised.  I can tell you what I would not leave standing where your horses have access.  There are trees here with one inch thorns on them and they will raise the devil with you tractor tires. It is amazing how strong the thorns are.  Sweetgum trees form porcupine type balls on them which will get in your horses manes and tails.  You probably already know that cherry and black walnut trees are toxic to horses.  I am told all nut trees are including acorns from oaks, although we have a couple of horses that eat them and have never been sick a day in their lives. I have trouble with my horses stripping the bark on any tree they have access to in the winter...boredom I think.  They certainly don't lack anything in their diet! So protect any tree you have left standing if you want to keep it.  I have used plastic fencing wrapped around the tree as high up as they can reach.  Black looks a lot better than the construction orange!
I would have to really check out the trees first, as I have only been to my property once in winter and the trees were mostly young trees and ALOT of picker bushes. But at the back of the property are about 10 older pine trees. What would you think of using the trees after they've been cut and branches cut off for fence posts as long as they weren't black walnut or cherry? I have heard of using chicken wire around the trees you would want to protect. I would not cut down the pines as they are very large., and would look really nice and provide alot of shade.
Yes, we use galvanized tube gates. So far we have had no problems with them. Our horses are not confined for long periods of time in their stalls. If you have horses that paw at their stall doors this may not be safe for them.  Ours do not.  By having such a large opening to the stall we have not had a problem with a dominant horse "cornering" another horse in a stall.  The worst thing that happens is that they will chase a subordinate out of a stall when the gates are open.  This set up is kind of like having the best of both...a barn and a run in shed.  It works for us and how we prefer to keep our horses.  I have found that you should always build bigger than what you think you need.  The original barn I built here in 2006 was 20x32 with 4 small stalls.  When we built the addition to it we widened it out to 24 ft which was better and allowed for bigger stalls. In the addition the stalls are 10x12 with one 12x24 for birthing.  You could really build them any size you want. I swore I would build a horse/owner friendly barn when I moved here.  Where I lived before I had struggled and spent way too much money trying to make a barn work that was meant for dairy cows. I am very happy with our current configuration and it makes caring for this many horses much easier. Good luck on your project.


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