Creating Perfect Horse Barns

I Preparation
III Recommended Dimensions
IV Lofts & Hay Storage
V Condensation
VI Ventilation


What to consider regarding placement of horse barns.

site location preparation for horse barn

Preparing Site Location
• Avoid low wet areas to prevent hoof and other equine issues
• Bad drainage attracts flies and makes bedding and pens difficult to clean
• Even on high ground extend your level pad well beyond the perimeter of barn
• Keep pens and manure storage areas 300′ from ponds, wells, rivers

• In the south position barn to take advantage of summer breezes
• Northern areas should position entrances to minimize snow accumulation from north
• Check your local library for ‘Architectural Graphic Standards’ providing wind direction info
• Local site conditions (trees / hills) can change the prevailing direction of wind
• Horses are most comfortable with a lot of fresh air (see Ventilation)

soil bearing capacity chart

Soil Bearing Capacity
• Sand, gravel, bedrock soils drain best and require smaller footings to prevent building settling

• Clay soils and silt do not perform as well, require larger footers, and possibly a sand/gravel back fill

• Adding fill is problematic. Fill should be machine compacted in thin layers or allow the site to settle for at least one year prior to construction

Even when properly engineered buildings are located on soil with poor drainage characteristics, the pens and areas used for equine purposes are messy and more likely to create hoof related issues for your animals.

• Water lines must be buried below frost line so shorter is cheaper
• More pumping power required if located significantly uphill from well
• Electrical wires may be buried or above ground but distance still costs
• Call your utility company or co-op before committing to a location

• In case of catastrophe place barn where accessible to fire truck
• Place horse barn no closer than 30′ from forest areas
• Space building 75′ or more from other structures if possible

Custom Horse Barns

Your barn may not include all these options but careful consideration can be helpful for the options you need. This page will provide delivered pricing on horse barn kits. Installed pricing available in 24 hours through custom quotation.

horse stalls with center aisle

Horse Stalls with Center Aisle

Aisle Sizes
• 10′ Allow single horse down aisle at time / clean with hand cart
• 11′ Room for small tractor or small pick up to drive through
• 12′ Room for large pick up and two horses to pass aisle
• 14’+ Room for tack trunks in aisle and blanket rods on stalls

Stall Sizes
• 10×10 Ponies weighing less than 900 pounds
• 10×12 Horses weighing 900 to 1300 pounds
• 12×12 Preferred size for horses weighing 900 to 1300 pounds
• 12×14 Warmbloods’ minimum size
• 14×14 Preferred size for Warmbloods’
• 16×16 Clydesdales’ / Draft Horses

Exterior – Dutch doors are preferred to allow ventilation into stall by opening top.
Interior – Sliding doors to prevent swing doors from taking up aisle space.

Tack Room
• Smallest size for any barn is 12×12
• 16×12 tack size is ideal for small barns (varies with quantity of horses)
• Dual doors (exterior and interior) for safety and convenience
• 4′ wide doors are suggested for tack loading / unloading

Grooming Area
• Use the aisle for grooming in small barns
• Separate grooming area ideal for larger busy barns
• Smallest size recommended is 8×12
• Build shelves in wall to keep things off floor

Wash Rack
• Can be staged as outdoor area in mild climates
• 8×12 Minimum size with 11×12 more functional
• Slope floor to drain in middle of room
• Rough concrete floor recommended

Utility Room
• Small barns can consolidate cleaning supplies in tack room
• Minimum size 12×12 with laundry facilities / sink included

Feed Room
• 8×10 or 6×12 size for 2-6 stall barns
• Plan for easy access with truck and close to stalls

Hay Storage & Bedding Storage
• Recommend bulk hay storage in separate building
• Limited quantity of hay situated near feeding room
• Use dricon wood or intumescent paint or varnish to impede spread of fire
• Stack hay on pallets to protect from ground moisture
• 12×12 area sufficient for most barns

Lofts & Hay Storage

Professionals agree that storage of bulk hay in horse barns is a bad idea due to fire hazard, respiratory problems, ventilation concerns, and rodent infestation.

• Bulk hay storage should be stored in separate building
• Loft storage encourages rodent infestation
• Dust and respiratory problems occur with loft hay storage
• Fire hazard increases dramatically with bulk hay storage in loft
• Ventilation requires special consideration when using lofts
• Use dricon wood or intumescent paint or varnish to impede spread of fire in areas where storing limited quantities of hay and bedding

Condensation & Ventilation

condensation barrier above horse stalls

Condensation Barrier

Condensation occurs because warm air can hold moisture in suspension better than cold air. Colder surfaces cause this moisture to lose suspension and collect on the colder surface.

Humidity caused by breathing and evaporation of urine and manure create condensation problems too. One 1,000 pound horse emits two gallons of moisture in the environment per day on average. A 60% or lower humidity level in a barn is ideal. The drier the better.

Condensation Concerns
• Causes respiratory ailments, bacterial and fungal growth
• Will rust metal, ruin insulation permanently
• Ice formation on ceiling and walls

Condensation problems are extreme in climates where temperatures drop below 35° for extended periods.

Eliminate Condensation
• Proper ventilation – Six to Eight air changes per hour. An anemometer is used to determine air change rates
• Build front and side stall partitions with grill work to allow air flow between stalls
• Include a full length opening at the top of each eave wall to provide fresh air for stable. Estimate slot height by multiplying barn width divided by 10 to determine the vent width in inches
• Barn design impacts venting requirements so there is no standard way to measure due to difference in designs
• Rule of thumb is 1 square foot of vent per 300 sqft of floor space
• 60% of venting using lower vents
• 40% of venting through higher exhaust vents
• Use a condensation barrier on roof to minimize radiant heat and eliminate rain-in-barn
• Condensation barrier may be used on walls in conjunction with calculated venting for stalls
• Incorporate tall ceilings with vents to get proper mix of ventilation
• Exhaust fans may be required especially when lofts are included in horse barns

Horse Barns

Horse Barns by APB

Our design services includes any size horse barn plans needed including Raised Center Aisle or Monitor, Gambrel, racetrack or other configuration.

We welcome any questions or comments you may have regarding our version of the perfect horse barn. We turnkey install barns and provide building packages for D.I.Y. construction. Please contact us for more information.