After ventilation, lighting is the next most important item on barn designers’ lists. Plentiful access to light can be a great way to cut down energy costs during the day and may keep the horses happier in the long run.
Installing windows in each stall, if your barn design allows, functions as a source of light and air, a double bonus for horse owners who may be on a tighter budget and don’t want to invest in Dutch doors. There are now windows available that not only swing open, but also angle open at the top. This feature allows the air to flow upward and not directly across the horse’s back.
Aisle lighting is generally a given for most barns, but Oldaker always puts individual lights and switches in each stall.
“You do have to be careful about the type of light you bring into the barn,” said Hayward. “I don’t encourage skylights. I prefer vertical windows over windows on the slope of the roof because they can cause a lot of solar heat gain. It also jeopardizes your roof system, which could be a problem down the road.”
The shape of the roof should be carefully considered depending on the area of the country in which you live.
“Roof lines make a difference on how you direct snow and water, especially over points of entry,” said Hayward. “Having protected entries that you can get horses in and out of is very important, especially in areas where you get a lot of snow.”
Hayward often builds porches, which are a common feature on barns in the south. They help to cool the air that you bring in from the lower section of the barn, keep the direct sun off the barn, help take the snow away from the base of the building and provide some protection to the building itself.
Making An Entrance
Well-designed driveways are vital when it comes to running a barn. Not only do they provide access for you and your clients, but also for emergency vehicles as well.
“The main entrance to your facility should have good acceleration and deceleration lanes, and if you have gates they should be far enough off the road so that a big truck and trailer can pull completely off the road,” said Oldaker. “There should be good sight lines of approaching traffic and no blind spots.”
While asphalt is often the first choice in road surfaces, gravel is drainable and cost efficient. Oldaker always recommends that no matter the road surface, it should be contained with some kind of border.
Make sure that your plan includes parking lots and ample space for truck and trailers to turn around, especially if you will be having boarders or trailer-in lessons.
Building and designing your own facility is no small chore, and there are many things to think about when planning your project.
“This is their home,” said Oldaker. “Health, safety and welfare are the most important things.”
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