Believe it or not, owning a horse is rewarding for several reasons, which includes increased physical activity, decreased stress levels, companionship, and improved digestion. Considering how beneficial your horse is to you, you should do your best to ensure the majestic creature's health and safety. The best place to start when it comes to your horse's health, happiness, and security is with a barn. Of course, there are some things you need to know before you get to work constructing a barn.
Prevent Unwanted Health Problems
Poor barn construction and knowledge can lead to serious health complications for your horse. Even if you turn your horse out to pasture, it will likely spend a majority of its daily living within the comfortable confines of a stall. Unfortunately, horses are prone to stress brought on by stall boredom. A stressed horse may act out in various ways, one of which includes chewing.
When bored, horse will occasionally chew on wood, which can lead to unwanted damages to your newly constructed barn and digestive problems for your horse. When speaking to a professional about the construction of your new barn, make sure you specify that you would like to prevent potential chewing problems. For that reason, you will want to ensure the wood in the barn is treated properly.
Of course, some horses are stubborn enough that they will chew on treated wood. If that is the case, you can have a professional install sheet metal or chicken wire over the wood rails in the barn. Additionally, horses are large animals, which means your ceiling should be at least 8 feet tall. However, if big enough, a horse can reach up and chew on wooden rafters overhead. For that reason, you may want to specify a ceiling height of 11 feet.
Prevent Unwanted Damages
Aside from injuries that your horse can sustain from an improperly built barn, poor construction can also lead to expensive damages. For instance, a horse that grows agitated or bored while in a stall may buck or kick at the sides of the stall. If the walls do not have a proper thickness, a horse can kick right through the wall. Let the horse barn builders know that you want the walls constructed of 2-inch thick hardwood to prevent damages.
Furthermore, do not make the mistake of applying a concrete floor to your barn. While the idea of a concrete floor seems suitable, the surface can become slippery when wet, which could cause injuries to your horse. As an added note, concrete does not allow moisture to drain properly, which could lead to a moisture buildup inside your barn and unwanted damages resulting from mold. Instead, install a rock floor that is covered with a layer of clay to ensure proper drainage.
Prevent Unnecessary Animal Mistreatment
Horses once survived without human interaction and wild horses continue to do so. However, you cannot assume that owning a horse is as simple as letting it in and out of a barn as you please. Horses require shelter from time-to-time, particularly in order to escape harsh elements such as wind, sleet, snow, and rain. For that reason, it is recommended that you construct an open-sided shed or free-access barn that will allow your horse to come and go as they see fit.
Keep in mind that a horse can typically withstand temperatures just below zero degrees Fahrenheit, but anything below that and your horse will need to seek shelter. Horses tend to find themselves most comfortable with temperatures that fall between 18 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. By providing a free access barn, your horse can make the determination that it is time to seek shelter from both the elements and uncomfortable temperatures.
Should you decided to build a free access barn, make sure you have an opening that is at least 240 square feet, which is the recommended size for two horses. If you own a handful of horses or you plan to acquire more later on down the road, take into consideration that the opening of the barn will require an additional 60 square feet for each horse beyond the initial two.
By familiarizing yourself with everything you need to know about your horse's safety and comfort, you can be well on your way to building the best barn possible. When you reach out to professional barn builders for assistance, ask them if they have any knowledge in equine barns to ensure a job well done. Do not be afraid to provide specifications that you want and need for your horse so that you know your horse will be as happy and safe as possible.