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Barn Blog

June 17, 2015

4 Questions and Answers for Turning your Pole Barn into a Horse Shelter

There are over 9.2 million horses in the United States, their purposes ranging from racing and showing to recreation and work. Pole barns are an affordable and sturdy option for housing horses, but they do need to be set up properly to ensure the animal's comfort and well-being. There are also a few tips and tricks you can use to make caring for your horse easier.

How much space does a horse need? For a 1,000 pound horse, a 12'X12' stall is sufficient. A good rule of thumb is to have the wall length equal 1 ½ times the adult horse's body length. The ceiling height should be at least 10 feet, and partitions are best at 7 ½' in height. While windows provide a great source of sunlight and ventilation for the stalls, be sure to cover the inside of the window with mesh or chicken wire to prevent the horse from breaking the glass. Windows made of Plexiglas also work well for horse stalls. Don't forget: Animals need healthy air flow, so make sure there is plenty of ventilation in the stall either through a window or from a cross-breeze.

Any tips for setting up my horse stall? Start by purchasing a stall mat to provide extra cushion on the floor. Stall mats help you save on bedding costs and are easy to clean. These mats also prevent horses from standing on messy or uneven ground and reduce stress on their legs and joints. Next, use bucket hooks to hang water and feed buckets on the wall of the stalls. They should hang at chest level with the horse and be distant enough from each other to prevent grain from getting into the water. Bucket hooks make it easier for you to move and replace the heavy feed and water buckets. Also consider mounting a hayrack within your stall to prevent your horse from eating off of the dirty floor.

How can I keep my pole barn and horse shelter cool in the summer and warm in the winter? There are many tricks to keeping your pole barn cool in the summer. Be sure your building is properly insulated to help keep out the heat and the cold. To cool it down, you can easily create a cross-breeze by opening two opposite doors or windows—the larger the opening, the more air flow. To prevent the building from heating up in the sun, consider purchasing a pole barn with a white or light-colored roof. Lighter colors reflect more of the sun's rays and absorb less heat. For a quick fix, wet burlap sacks and hang them around the pole barn—the evaporation of water into the air helps create a cooler temperature.

What's the easiest way to clean stalls? Now it's time for everyone's favorite part: cleaning up the mess. Horses can be messy creatures and they produce a lot of waste every day. Because of this, it's important to work out an efficient system for cleaning stalls. We've got your back with these easy steps:

  1. 1) Using a shovel, push what you can of the soiled bedding and waste against a side wall.
  2. 2) Shovel it into the muck bucket.
  3. 3) Using a power blower on a low setting, blow all of the smaller particles against a side wall and scoop that into a bucket.
  4. 4) If you are a perfectionist, broom the stall to brush up the majority of dust and small particles.
  5. 5) After collecting the spoiled bedding in a muck bucket, dump fresh bedding, preferably shavings instead of straw, in the middle of the stall.

To save money and conserve supplies, some people choose to use a plastic pitchfork to sift out clean bedding for reuse. Be sure to keep a power blower and muck bucket cart on-hand for daily stall cleanings. A muck bucket cart is easier to handle and dump than a wheel barrow, and a power blower is perfect for blowing out hay dust and loose bedding in stalls and aisle ways.

Please see our site, The Pole Barn Company, for more information on pole barn kits as your stable options.

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