Building a new horse barn can feel like a puzzle. Stalls, tack rooms, storage — how should they all fit together? A well-thought-out barn floor plan pays off in ease of use, horse comfort and safety, and lower energy and maintenance costs, so it’s worth planning carefully.
But let’s get one thing out of the way: there is no one floor plan that’s best for everyone. The ideal horse barn floor plan is the one that suits your specific situation, needs, and desires. We rarely build identical barns. In fact, in our 22-year history, we have built a grand total of two identical barns — and even those had cosmetic changes on the exterior.
Here are a few things to consider when laying out your new horse barn.
1. Horse Barn Location & Orientation
Before we get to the floor plan, a word about where to locate your barn and how to position it. This is the foundation of any good barn build. If possible, choose a site:
- On higher ground. This provides good natural drainage to help keep the barn clean and dry.
- With access to a road or driveway. This will save you from needing to install an entirely new driveway to the barn.
- That’s close to existing utilities. This can reduce the time and expense needed to add electric, water, and other utilities to your barn.
Next, check the wind direction. Placing your horse barn perpendicular to the prevailing wind lets you take advantage of natural air circulation, which is vital for your horses’ comfort and health. Barns provide a great opportunity to use “thermal buoyancy.” Horse stables should be designed with the correct openings in the sidewalls and ridge to provide this.
Also, don’t forget to check local and state regulations for stormwater management. Meeting these can add months or even a year or more to the barn planning process.
2. Horse Barn Size
Your budget and building site are important factors, but also consider everything you want inside your horse barn to determine how large it will be.
The first thing to ask: How many horse stalls do I need? Start with how many horses you currently have, then think about future needs. Do you plan to have more horses, either your own or as boarders? Do you plan to start breeding horses?
Then, think about stall dimensions. Horses should have ample room to lie down, get up, and turn around. This not only keeps them comfortable, but it also makes them less likely to chew on or kick at their stalls (lowering the risk of injury and damage). The minimum horse stall size we recommend is 12’ x 12’ with a height of at least 10’. 14’ x 14’ is even better.
And don’t skimp on aisle space! You’ll need enough room to saddle your horses and move them around, but also consider if you’ll be driving equipment into the barn (to move hay, for example). An aisle at least 12’ wide should accommodate these activities and allow natural light and air to circulate. Here again, though, bigger is better. Fourteen-foot-wide aisles are very popular.
With the stall area being the heart of any horse barn, you should be getting an idea of how large the barn needs to be. But of course, you and your horses need more than just stalls.
3. Wash Stalls, Tack Rooms & Other Amenities
You’ll most likely want a tack room and at least one wash stall in your floor plan. A few considerations for these and other spaces:
- Wash Stalls: The minimum size of 12’ x 12’ applies here too. Horses will be able to walk in and move around easily, and you or your groomer will have enough room to operate. Consider drainage for the wash stall. Wash stall drains are notorious for clogging. We have specially designed drains to capture all the gun before it gets into drain lines. Place wash stalls near restrooms, laundry rooms, or any other areas that will also require water and sewer lines.
- Tack Room: A dedicated space for saddles, blankets, boots, and other supplies keeps them — and the rest of the barn — tidy. Place your tack room where it is easily accessible to the grooming and wash stalls, and close it off with a door to keep out dust, hay, and other debris.
- Hay & Feed Storage: Storage rooms help these items stay clean and dry. A good rule of thumb is to allow enough space for one week’s worth of hay and feed. This especially holds true in northern climates in the wintertime. These rooms should be convenient to the horse stalls.
- Laundry Room: No more lugging horse blankets and riding gear off-site to wash. Enough said.
- Living Quarters: Taking a rest or getting a snack in between chores, staying close while caring for a sick or pregnant horse — living quarters in horse barns are useful in many ways. Consider including a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and/or bedroom. Some local ordinances restrict living space within a barn, but we have been able to convince local officials of the reasoning behind it, and make it fire safe as well.
4. Doors & Windows
Doors and windows allow natural light into your barn (letting you use less electricity for lighting) and help improve indoor air quality. To maximize natural light, include windows in your doors. Evenly distribute the doors and windows in your floor plan, and place them where they’ll be able to catch the breeze (which typically blows west to east).
Custom Equestrian Builders
No doubt your mind is overflowing with exciting ideas for your new horse barn. How to make them a reality? As an experienced horse barn builder B&D Builders has decades of experience with horses, and we’ve been building horse barns, riding arenas, and other equestrian facilities for more than 20 years. Contact us today to start a conversation about your ideal horse barn.