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Horse Facility Design & Construction

An Agricultural Engineering Approach

These web pages include research-based information for planning and construction of well-designed equestrian facilities. Topics include those that are often not carefully considered in initial horse stable or riding arena design. These topics include ventilation, manure management, and safety via fire protection systems. A series of technical bulletins provide recommendations for facility features such as stall dimensions, and flooring materials, drainage, fence planning, and riding arena footing materials.

Architects, veterinarians, builders, and other professionals providing advice to equine enthusiasts can recommend this site to horse owners who are planning barn construction or redesign of agriculture buildings.

An emphasis is put on providing good air quality in the indoor environment, good stewardship of the outdoor environment, and layout for management efficiency. Links are provided to resources that have additional information on horse stable architecture and engineering.

This is great information for horse owners who are planning barn construction or redesign of agriculture buildings. An emphasis is put on providing good air quality in the indoor environment, good stewardship of the outdoor environment, and layout for management efficiency.

Additional information is available on horse stable architecture and engineering.

Riding arenas are a necessity for most horse farms for schooling and exercise of the horse.

A well-designed stable protect horses from weather extremes and keeps them dry while providing fresh air and light and protection from injury.

When one thinks of keeping horses, a vision centers on the stable.

The stall is the basic functional unit of a horse stable or shelter. A simple backyard pleasure horse stall may at first appear different than a stall in a full-feature boarding operation, but they both provide a suitable environment for the horse and handler. Safety for handlers and horses should be a primary consideration in stall design. Comfort for the horse is very important, as is convenience for the handler in performing chores associated with good horse care.

There are many options for suitable floors in a horse facility and the fitness of a horse's legs and feet can be greatly affected by the type of stall flooring chosen.

Inadequate ventilation is the most common mistake made in modern horse facilities. The objective of ventilation is to get fresh air to the horse.

In barn fires, the old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" could not be more true. Planning is the greatest asset in fire prevention. Fire and fire damage to horse stables can be minimized or prevented through building techniques, fire detection options, and management practices.

A "perfect" riding surface should be cushioned to minimize concussion on horse legs, firm enough to provide traction, not too slick, not too dusty, not overly abrasive to horse hooves, inexpensive to obtain, and easy to maintain.

Manure management practices within horse facilities deserve careful attention. Getting the manure out of a stall is only the beginning. A complete manure management system involves collection, storage (temporary or long term), and disposal or utilization.

Horse fence can be one of the most attractive features of a horse facility. But not all fence is suitable for horses. Fencing is a major capital investment that should be carefully planned before construction. Well-constructed and maintained fences enhance the aesthetics and value of a stable facility, which in turn complements marketing efforts. Poorly planned, haphazard, unsafe, or unmaintained fences will detract from a facility's value.

Improved rider, instructor, and horse comfort and health may be improved with fresh air entry and distribution within the arena.

Dust is the primary nuisance associated with riding arena use. In this research project that monitored two indoor arenas, dust was associated with the overall quality of the footing in the arena, with greater dust detected from the footing of lower moisture-holding capacity with a greater percentage of fine particles.

Literature and Database Review

This study collected data from three stables on the conditions in horse stabling during cold weather conditions.