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By Nikki Alvin-Smith

When considering various features of a barn, (regardless of whether you are going prefabricated, pole barn or stick built), it is important to carefully question the builders under consideration for the project as to which features are included in the price and which features you will be charged extra fees to include.

1. The Outside Spectacle
When choosing your new barn design it is wise to first consider how it will impact your property visually. What type of roofing and siding do you want and what colors? With the choice of color and product you should also think about maintenance and snowfall. For example, a metal roof will shed snowload better than shingle, but will also be noisier inside the building unless you add insulation underneath the roof.

2. Light is Right
Everyone loves a light barn. Regardless of whether you choose a sash window, transom window or other design it is important that the interior of the window have a protective grill. Think about how you will clean the windows too. This is at a minimum a bi-annual chore, so ease of operation and reach is important. Also consider prevailing winds and airflow in your building and try to maximize airflow. Windows add valuable light and can minimize the use of electric. You can also add skylights for natural light.

Shutters are a pretty addition but make sure they are out of the reach of inquiring equine mouths. These can be decorative or functional.

Horizon Structures - Horse Barns
Horizon Structures - Horse Barns

3. Fresh Air Everywhere
Windows will add fresh air when open but you might also like to add a cupola, which can increase air circulation in your barn. Electric fans can be added to the interior of the cupolas to increase air movement and a beautiful weathervane on top completes a pretty picture. Also consider gable and ridge vents and even hinged vents if you live in a warm climate. Note that vents should be covered with wire to prevent birds entering the building and setting up residence.

If you use grills between stalls and on the front of stalls these will also increase both light and airflow.

4. Kickboards & Partitions

Partitions and Doors

Every horse stall should be kickboarded for the safety of the horse and for preservation of the building. Heavy-duty metal chewguards are a great addition to protect all exposed wood surfaces. Most horses will chew wood to some degree if they are bored. A chewguard on a Dutch door is definitely money well spent.

How will you partition the stalls? Will you implement full walls of wood or a half wall with a grill above? Check the quality and finish of the metal grill and be certain that the bars are set a maximum of three inches apart to prevent accidents. If you have a breeding operation you may want removable partitions.

Doors may be grilled, solid or Dutch door styles. Sliding doors are the most popular for interior spaces as they will not block the aisle and are the safest option for daily use. Make sure the doorway width is a minimum of four feet wide. Remember one bad hit on the hip can damage a horse for life.

Horizon Structures - Horse Barns
Horizon Structures - Horse Barns

5. Storage of Tack and Supplies
We all know that we have a lot of horse ‘stuff’ to store: Saddles, bridles, blankets etc. plus the supplies our horse’s need such as grain, hay, shavings or straw. Think about whether you want loft storage for hay or a ground level storage area. Also decide whether that storage place will have a wood floor or if it will be bare dirt or concrete.

In conclusion when you are making the important decision to add a barn to the property you want to ensure you are making the best choice for you, your horses and your lifestyle. Professional experience counts and great companies provide experience, sincerely good advice and a great product. Do your due diligence and ask lots of questions and be certain that you are truly comparing apples to apples when making your final choice.

Horizon Structures - Horse Barns
Horizon Structures - Horse Barns

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horizon Structures Inc., Atglen PA – Modular horse barn and indoor riding arena specialists. Please visit to learn more.

About Horizon Structures LLC: One horse or twenty, there's one thing all horse owners have in common...the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners. At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart "horse-friendly" design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses' stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need -

Horizon Structures also sells indoor riding arenas, chicken coops, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook. Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business. He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at

About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprint, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Horse Bits, Pony Quarterly, Catskill Horse to name a few.

Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki has produced catalog copy, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Please visit to learn more.

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