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Horse Barn Design: Horse Barn Aisles
by Josh Malizzi

The aisles in a horse barn can be easily overlooked, however they are extremely important and require careful consideration. Design a horse barn aisle too narrow and traffic flow will become a major issue, design it too wide and cost will rise unnecessarily. A poorly designed horse barn aisle can be annoying at a minimum to dangerous at a maximum. A horse barn aisle should always allow a handler to turn a horse around and head the opposite direction.

As a result of new technology, the horse barn aisle can also be a key element for larger barns through a new strategic manure removal system. Rower & Rub, Kaiser Construction's horse stall equipment supplier manufactures an incredible manure removal system. You can view this system here. This system is called the Sliding Partition Wall. This system allows partition walls to be slid into the horse barn aisle way from between the horse stalls which effectively blocks the aisle but turns the row of stalls into a long open passageway. It allows manure removal equipment to drive the length of the horse barn, from horse stall to horse stall and end to end.

At Kaiser Construction, we prefer to make the horse barn aisles approximately 11’ 9” in width. This width allows two horses to pass without crowding and keeps stalled horses from irritating a single passing horse. We prefer to build the ceilings at around 10’ high. This height keeps the ceiling away from all horse activity, and possible horse spats which provides the safest conditions for the animals. A ceiling can be installed in colder climate areas which helps to retain animal-created heat. In warmer climates, this ceiling liner is not as necessary.

Many options are available for horse barn aisle-flooring. A great option is to install interlocking rubber pavers which provide padding for the walking horses, look great, and require minimal maintenance. Other options that are available are sealed concrete, patterned concrete, stone, and rubber mats on concrete. Each option has different price points, advantages, disadvantages, visual appeal, and maintenance concerns. Your priority should be to provide slip-free footing in some capacity. Concrete with a texture applied will accomplish this at a minimum.

Lighting should be sufficient for barn operations and mounted to not be a low-hanging hazard. A low hanging light can get hit by a rearing horse or be nibbled on by an inquisitive horse. It is better to have too much light rather than too little light.

Which stall fronts you choose will have a large impact on how traffic flows through the aisles. Some horse stall fronts have large open spaces for horses to reach their heads out into the aisle. This can make for trouble with passing horses and may require more aisle width. Stall fronts that are closed off with picket-fronts will prevent this type of irritation to a passing horse and will allow a narrower aisle way. Stall doors should never open into the aisle which is why a side-sliding door is probably the best option for this.

Josh Malizzi

Kaiser Construction is the premier Horse Barn Design | Builder for PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, KY, and OH.

Custom Horse Barn | Barn Builders | Barn Construction Company | Designing a Horse Barn

Horse Barn Design: Construction Types and Styles

In main-stream, commercial horse barn construction there are three primary types of construction to choose from however others do exist and can be discussed with Kaiser. Each of the three types presents their own beauty, pricing, advantages, and disadvantages.

The first type to discuss in designing an indoor horse riding arena is Laminated Arch / Beam Construction. Laminated Arch / Beam Construction is possibly the most beautiful way to build your horse riding arena. This type of construction type embraces people who long to surround themselves with wood. Laminated wood construction is for the discerning client who appreciates a wide open, airy environment in which to ride year round. This style is unequaled in appearance, finish, and craftsmanship.

See a Laminated Arch project here: http://www.kaiserbuilds.com/project/equestrian/hermitage-farm

The advantages of using laminated wood construction in your indoor horse riding arena is sheer beauty. There is no other type of construction that matches the quality and appearance. The disadvantage would be price. Laminated wood is also one of the most expensive ways to build an indoor horse riding arena.

Clear spans of up to 115’ can be reached with laminated wood construction in your indoor riding arena. The wood can be finished in any paint or stain that is desired which creates many options for designing for visual appeal. The ceiling can be finished with tongue and groove wood siding to add another level of visual appeal. If there is no ceiling installed, the underside of the roofing would be seen. A horse riding arena built from laminated wood construction can be a weather-tight building, or an open and free-air building too. Laminated wood construction presents possibly the highest amount of design flexibility.

The next type of construction to discuss in design a horse riding arena is Pre-Engineered Steel. Pre-Engineered Steel is usually the next most desired construction type. It allows gable symmetrical construction with an airy feel to ride in. This is for the perceptive client who appreciates an unobstructed interior in which to ride year round. Appearance and finish can be matched to the client’s needs and desires.

The advantage to using Pre-Engineered steel is achieving a lower price while maintaining an open, airy feel. The disadvantage is that not as many colors and design options are available when compared to laminated wood arches.

Clear spans of up to 120’ can be achieved with Pre-Engineered Steel . The steel can be finished in any paint color desired. The ceiling can be lined with various types of material including tongue and groove wood. Eave heights can be set as desired with much design flexibility. The exterior can be clad with many different options such as stone, simulated stone, vinyl siding, board and batten, ship-lap, beveled, wood shingle, brick, stucco, and metal. Pre-Engineered steel typically prices in the middle of these three options.

The final construction type to discuss in indoor riding arena and horse barn construction is Post-Frame. This type is the most economical type of construction for your indoor riding arena and is also the type we use to build horse stables with. Post-frame construction will create a flat-ceiling which eliminates the open airy feel but brings the most cost savings to your custom horse barn. Post-Frame construction is for the client with discriminating taste who is budget conscience but still needs an environment in which to ride year round. The appearance and finishes can be constructed to meet your budget.

The advantage of using Post-Frame construction in your horse barn is the cost savings. The disadvantage is a slight loss in clear-span distance and the loss of the high ceilings. See a post frame project here: http://www.kaiserbuilds.com/project/equestrian/kindle-hill-farm

Clear spans of up to 100’ can be reached with this type of horse barn construction. The trusses can have a ceiling added to them or painted “as-is” and the walls can be painted also. Indoor Riding Arenas can be built open for free-air or closed for weather-tightness. Eave heights and ceiling heights can be designed as required and exterior cladding can be installed as desired.

Please see our portfolio of past projects to get some ideas for your custom horse facility. Your horse barn or indoor arena can be built with a variety of construction options. Call Kaiser Construction to discuss your custom horse barn project and get a quotation.

Josh Malizzi

Kaiser Construction is the premier Horse Barn Design | Builder for PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, KY, and OH.

Equestrian Facility Builder | Horse Stable Contractor | Equine Barn Additions | Horse Barn Additions


Horse Barn Design: Variations in Building Frames and Materials

In horse barn and indoor riding arena construction two primary types of building frames are used at specific times. For indoor riding arenas, a clear span building is most desirable to alleviate from having columns footed in the middle of your arena. This type of frame is achievable with Laminated Wood Arch Construction, Pre-Engineered Steel Construction, and Post-Frame Construction. Clear span construction can be used for indoor arenas as well as horse barns | horse stables however it is most commonly used for arena construction. Let's refer to Chapter 3 of "Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design" for more information on clear span construction:

Wheeler, E. F. (2008) Construction Style and Materials, in Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design, Blackwell Publishing Professional, Ames, Iowa, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470344675.ch3

  • "A clear-span barn is a popular type of structure for stall barns and arenas because there are no interior posts to inhibit movement. Without posts, remodeling is easier than when interior posts and walls need to be moved. Stall walls will need posts for support, but these will not be expected to also support the overall structure. The interior clear span is provided by either truss or rigid frame structural support of the roof. Trusses and rigid frames are purchased as engineered products and may be constructed from wood or steel. Trusses are often used in pole buildings. Post or pole construction, with poles embedded in the ground, replaces concrete foundations. Rigid frames and arches are economical when spanning wide distances. The rigid frames or arch is securely attached to concrete foundation supports. Wooden arches are often considered an attractive architectural feature of the building. Rigid frames of either wood or metal material offer a more open appearance to the interior than trusses. Rigid frames offer unobstructed space to the roofline. Trusses offer support for a ceiling, if used."

Post-Frame construction is most commonly used in horse barn construction. The ability to place posts where needed in support of the horse stall fronts and partition walls makes this type of construction a great option. The vertical posts are carefully placed to support the structure and provide framing supports to install the horse stalls. This type of construction is economical and flexible as compared to any of the clear span construction types. Post-Frame construction can be performed in numerous variety of styles and configurations so it makes an ideal system for outfitting the interior of a horse barn. Let's refer to Chapter 3 of "Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design" for more information on clear span construction:

Wheeler, E. F. (2008) Construction Style and Materials, in Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design, Blackwell Publishing Professional, Ames, Iowa, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470344675.ch3

  • "Post-and-beam construction is common in horse stables because posts support both the structure and the stall partitions. It is an economical construction in many cases, but the drawback of this construction is sacrifice of flexibility as compared with a clear-span barn if remodeling becomes necessary. Post=and-beam construction is the traditional barn construction technique and offers an aesthetically pleasing structure suitable for horse housing."

If you have questions about the various construction types, styles, and associated pricing, feel free to contact us to discuss the advantages of each for your project.

Josh Malizzi

Kaiser Construction is the premier Horse Barn Design | Builder for PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, KY, and OH.


Horse Barn Design: Barn and Riding Arena Options

When building your horse barn with Kaiser Construction, you will have a myriad of options to choose from and decisions to make. You should start with the biggest decisions first and work to the smaller. Begin with decisions regarding barn construction type and building styling in conjunction with your building budget since this will set the general direction of the project. Next you will want to decide on what type of barn roof framing style you would like. Think of this as the shape and look of the barn. Kaiser Construction offers a few different styles to choose from including Gable, Offset Gable Symmetrical, Raised Center Aisle, Gambrel, and Single-slope.

A Gable Symmetrical Horse Barn Roof has two equal pitched roof slopes that begin in the center of the barn and run even distances to the eaves. This is a very standard style for horse barns, houses or buildings of any type. Eave heights will typically match to create a symmetrical A-Frame horse barn roof. Air is typically vented out through a ridge vent or cupola and in through the soffits.

An Offset Gable Horse Barn Roof will first have the roof peak run somewhere off of center, and the two roof slopes may not be the pitch or length. Eave eights can differ in height if desired. The highest point inside the building can be set to either side of the barn. This style of barn roof can offer a unique look to your facility. Air is typically vented out through a ridge vent or cupola and in through the soffits.

A Clerestory Horse Barn Roof is an upgrade from the standard Gable Symmetrical Barn Roof. This style raises a center section of barn roof higher than the main roof and creates a raised center section of roof for the length of the ridge. This design can allow for windows to be mounted along the sides of the raised portion to allow for natural light to enter your horse barn from the center. This is a very desirable design with great features and can add natural lighting to your horse barn. This horse barn design offers more ventilation options.

A Gambrel Horse Barn Roof is a style of barn roof that uses two differently pitched slopes for each side of the barn roof. Half of one side of the roof will be a gentle pitch and the second half will be an aggressive pitch. This is an older style barn roof design that can be seen in barns all across the country. In Great Britain this is called a Mansard Roof. This barn design offers a great amount of storage space in the second story without building out a full width floor. Just the shape of the roof creates this space.

Next you will want to begin thinking about the various horse stall layout and barn configuration shapes. Your custom horse barn can be configured in a few different ways. The first option here is single row configuration. This configuration allows horses to see the outside from one side of their stalls, and the aisle from the other side of their stalls. Dutch doors will open to the pasture side allowing the gathering of horses in pasture. The barn's work rooms will all connect via a common enclosed aisle-way.

The next type of horse barn configuration is the Center Aisle. This configuration will allow two rows of horse stalls divided by a common center aisle. This is a great option for a larger number of stalls and horses than the single row configuration because it keep the horse barn from becoming too long. This accomplishes the efficiency of space by keeping the building more rectangular than linear. For all horses, one side of their stall will exit to the outside and the other side will exit to the common aisle through the middle of the horse barn.

Another horse barn configuration to consider is the Island Configuration. This configuration stacks two rows of stalls back to back in the middle of the horse barn with a common aisle surrounding all stalls as a perimeter. This configuration does not allow the horses outside access and keeps them enclosed to the middle of the horse barn.

The next horse barn configuration to discuss is the "L" shape. This configuration is a very popular one with larger, commercial horse barns. It is commonly used in conjunction with an indoor riding arena and allows for a high level of flexibility. Stalls and aisles have numerous configurations in this design. One advantage of this design is that if planned properly, the interior L-Shape can provide for a wind-protected area to use for activities.

The next horse barn configuration to discuss is the "U" shape. This configuration is also a very popular one with larger, commercial horse barns. It is commonly used in conjunction with an indoor riding arena and allows for a high level of flexibility. Horse stalls and aisles have numerous configurations in this design. One advantage of this design is that if planned properly, the interior U-Shape can provide for a very wind-protected area to use for activities since only one side would be open to the wind. In addition, the last wall can be enclosed to allow for a center courtyard.

After deciding your horse barn construction type and horse stall configuration, you will want to decide which accessory rooms, utility rooms, and hay storage areas to include in your horse barn. Hay storage above the horse barn is a great option which adds a level simplicity to the distribution of hay to the horses. Overhead "hatch doors" are installed to allow the dropping of hay from the second story down into each stall from above. If this is desired, the horse barn will need to be designed taller and stronger to support the extra room and weight.

Does you new facility need one or more tack rooms? Remember that the number of tack rooms need to coordinate with the number of horses that the facility will hold with room to expand the amount of tack that will be stored. Will you need wash stalls in your new barn and if so, how many? How about lounges, offices, observation rooms, bathrooms, equipment storage areas, work bays, enclosed car parking? It is good to keep the various types of work and storage rooms spread through the horse barn to allow for even traffic flow through the barn. If all work rooms are on the same end of the barn, this can lead to congestion. Will you need any accessory buildings such as hot walkers, run-in sheds, or circular arenas? Each of these items need careful consideration so take your time imagining the flow of traffic around the property, all of the needs of the horses and people, and if these needs are met with your current scope of work.

Next you should begin thinking about building finishes. First, what look are you going for on your horse barn? If you are looking for an upgraded appearance you may want laminated wood posts to be used in the horse barn which give a greater appeal than standard wood posts.

The next level of decisions to make is exterior and interior finishes. Various roofing options exist for your indoor riding arena and horse barn. Asphalt shingles usually come to mind first for a roofing material and can be used but may not be the best option for you. The asphalt shingle has a relatively low cost, good life expectancy, and a good look but are flammable. They are a labor intensive roofing material and do require some upkeep through the years.

Metal roofing is a great option for covering large roof areas on large arenas and horse barns. Metal roofing can be bent into various different shapes and configurations and can be painted any color you can imagine. The installation is quick and easy with this type of roofing. Metal roofing can be noisy if no other insulation or liners are built in. The one drawback with metal roofing is that it needs to be painted in regular intervals to keep it weatherized and ensure long life.

Wooden roofing is another option that many horse barn owners use when selecting a roofing material. A horse barn can be roofed with two types of wooden roofing. The first type is a machine-sawn Wood Shingle. The second type is a hand-hewn Wooden Shake which has a rougher look to it. These two roofing materials are commonly used as replacement roofing for older 1800's barns. Both add a wonderful rustic look to the building. These two roofs require skilled and experienced labor to install.

Slate is an ideal, and durable roofing material for your horse barn, while in the Swiss Alps roofs are made from huge slabs of stone, several inches thick. The slate roof is often considered the best type of roofing material. A slate roof may last 75 to 150 years, and even longer. However, slate roofs are often expensive to install. In the United States, for example, a slate roof may have the same cost as the rest of the barn. Slate roofs have such good weather resistant properties that often, the first part of a slate roof to fail is the fixing nails.

Siding your building presents a whole new set of decisions to make since many options are available. These options all present different advantages and prices. Kaiser can provide the following siding types: stone, simulated stone, vinyl siding, board and batten, ship-lap, beveled siding, wood shingle, brick, stucco, and metal.

Kaiser can install a variety of interior finishes in you barn but different rooms call for different finishes. We suggest that the horse stalls have tongue and groove wooden siding installed on the ceilings however metal and standard drywall could be used. Depending on what type of horse stall is selected will help select the stall siding. If a full European or other metal horse stall is selected then a matching partition wall should be used. If a custom built, wooden stall front is desired then Kaiser can build wooden stall partitions to match. For wall surfaces in the rest of the barn we suggest that tongue and groove wooden siding be used but other finishes such as metal, drywall, and masonry can be used also.

You may want a variety of horse barn flooring products installed in your next project. A flooring product that is growing in popularity is the rubber seamless surface. This product is installed as a liquid and then allowed to cure so there are no seams in the building. This is a great coating for concrete and can be installed in aisleways and stalls. Another great product is the rubber paver. The rubber paver is a single rubber paver that is made of recycled rubber and glued down individually to make a brick-like surface on top of concrete. Rubber button-mats are a great solution for wash stalls and groom stalls as well. Brushed concrete is a good basic solution since it leaves a textured surface for animals and requires very little maintenance.

If you have any questions or would like any quotes on our building services or products please contact us at 717-336-0211 or contact@kaiserbuilds.com .

Josh Malizzi

Kaiser Construction is the premier Horse Barn Design | Builder for PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, KY, and OH.

Horse Stable Contractor | Horse Stall Builder | European Horse Stall Fronts

We found the following Horse Barn Design Articles helpful:

"Ask Cherry"
Dear Cherry, What is the best kind of flooring to have in a stall?

"Horse Stalls: Size and Number"
The number of stalls you need depends on how many horses will require stabling at one time.

"Planning Horse Facilities"
Well designed, functional horse facilities, are safe, sanitary, and convenient.

"Barn Construction"
A barn should provide a safe, comfortable, and healthy home for your horses.

"Horse Barn on a Budget"
Everyone wants to save a dollar and you're no different.

"Style, Substance and Barn Design"
The style of your barn is an expression of your personality and horsekeeping philosophy.

Kaiser Construction is the premier Horse Barn Design | Builder for PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, KY, and OH.

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