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Frequently Asked Questions

Barn Building

     

Q2)  Is it safe to use converted farm buildings to house horses?

 There are probably some folks out there who think that horses should only be kept in a building that was expressly built to house horses. Others think that if you use common sense, understand and deal with safety issues, using an existing farm building is a good alternative to building from scratch. Here are a few examples:

 Tobacco barns

Tobacco barns are actually an ideal type of building for horse-keeping. Their design function is to ventilate air around the hanging tobacco leaves. Because the ceiling is high and the walls are straight there is not a lot of adjustment that you would have to make in this barn besides building the actual stalls. However, unless you live in the deep south this type of building is not very common.

Cow barns

Cow barns can be tricky and a lot of work to convert but can provide a good housing situation for a small horse operation. One of the main issues is the height of the ceiling. Often cow barns have low ceilings. Even if you only have 14hh ponies the major concerns are a lack of proper air flow and the possibility of rearing. Any horse has the potential to rear up and hit its head on a low ceiling. Therefore, you might have to have the ceiling raised a few feet. If this is more trouble than it is worth, you might want to start from scratch. If you are lucky, the ceiling might be a good 8 to 12 feet high. Sliding doors at both ends of the barn create an ideal ventilation situation. 

The next order of business is removing any and all machinery, i.e. stanchions, manure removers in the gutter, or milking machines.  Once all of these "monsters" are removed it is important to fill in any and all gutters with cement. Imagine trying to lead excitable or young horses over these foot deep danger zones with out breaking any bones. You must inspect the barn carefully for anything that would constitute a dangerous situation for horses - stanchion pipes that aren't removed completely, protruding nails or other objects. After you have made your cow barn safe it's time to start building the stalls.

Pig barns

Lack of ventilation, low ceilings, small size and banked walls make pig barns not suitable for housing horses. It is best to use these buildings for storage.

Storage sheds

Depending on the size and condition of these out buildings they can work well for single or small horse operations.  Remember that safety must be your first priority.  Use common sense in choosing any building to house your equine companions.

 

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