Housing your Horse


Posted by admin | Posted in Build a horse barn, horse barns Colorado | Posted on 07-02-2013

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The horse spends approximately 22 hours per day in its stable. Stable design and management can have direct effects on the health of horses. Perhaps the most widely appreciated diseases in this context are those affecting the horse’s respiratory well being. However, the horse is more than just a set of lungs. The risks of other diseases and indeed direct physical trauma can be increased by poorly designed stables. The incidence of many of the so-called stable vices of horses can be increased by stable design. Stables themselves aside, problems may also arise from the design and positioning of ancillary buildings, such as feed- storage areas. Surfaces in stables, passageways and walks around stables can also increase the risk of disease and injury.

Type of stables

There are four basic types of stables. These are:

  1. Stalls
  2. Looseboxes
  3. Barns
  4. Combination of 2) and 3)

Positioning of stables

Stables should not be positioned near dust sources such as large hay sheds or grain dryers. Trees in close proximity can cause problems with leaves blocking drains, yet alternatively, may be useful in providing a wind-break in exposed sites.

Boxes facing just east of south, will get the benefit of morning sun, especially in winter. Rows of boxes may be staggered down a slope or slight hill, again to get full advantage of morning sun to all boxes. Avoid steep slopes, especially around corners as horses can slip over and injure themselves easily.

Stable dimensions

General recommendations for dimensions of boxes are given in Table 1. Small doorways increase the risk of horses injuring themselves. Sliding doors can be very useful. Their safety and reliability have improved considerably and half-open hinged doors tend to block or decrease the available width of passageways.

Table 1: Stable Dimensions

Type Dimension (m)
Box Stall Ponies (1xW)
Horses foaling or
Isolation box
3.0 x.3.0
3.6 x 3.6
5.0 x 5.0
Standing Stall Width (min.)
Rear passageway (min.)
Door Height

Stable warmth and ventilation

These factors are considered together because of their inter-relationship. First it must be appreciated that horses tolerate a wide range of temperatures. In an unheated building with low air movement, the only horses likely to experience cold stress are new born foals or young stock whose metabolic rates are low because of disease or malnutrition. These animals can undoubtedly be stressed by cold and an extra source of heat, such as a radiant heat lamp may be necessary. In climates such as a Canadian winter, supplemental heating is often used to prevent freezing of water pipes, etc. While general hypothermia is unlikely to be a problem for well fed stabled horses wearing rugs, local hypothermia, or regional chilling, especially of limbs in extremely cold environments can be of concern in relation to comfort and the healing of injuries.


  • Heat loss to or gained from the fluid moving over the body of the individual
  • Forced and natural
  • Cold winds and cold water currents
  • Depends on size (radius of limb or trunk)


  • Depends on a linear difference in temperature between the body surface and an object in direct contact such as floors and bedding


  • Energy transfer between two objects accomplished by the exchange of electromagnetic waves
  • Proportional to 4th power of temperature difference between the two surfaces (highlights the benefits of rugs).

Increasing air movement (draughts) around animals has a marked chilling effect, especially if they are wet. Draughts at horse (or foal) height should be avoided. This requires careful attention for the provision of ventilation.

There are three natural forces of ventilation for stables:

  1. The Stack effect, i.e. warm air rising off the horse will rise up and leave the stable drawing fresh air in.
  2. Aspiration – wind blowing across the top of a stable will help to draw stale air out.
  3. Perflation – wind blowing from side to side and end to end of a building will aid ventilation.

Properly placed and adequately sized vents and roof ducting are essential to make full use of these forces. Guidelines for the requirements for natural ventilation are presented in Table 2 below. However, in designing new stables or improving existing buildings, calculations for individual structures should be carried out. Allowances for exposed walls and extremes of weather likely to be met.

Table 2 shows that for most loose-boxes an open top door will provide adequate inlet area for natural ventilation. However, allowances must be made for the (heaven forbid) situation when doors are closed. A permanent vent can be placed above the front door. Most boxes should have a back wall vent as well to ensure proper air mixing and movement. For a monopitched roof, this should be high in the back wall. Boxes with a peaked roof should have a capped chimney or covered ridge to act as an outlet for warm, stale air. Draughts can be cut down by baffling vents or covering them with plastic mesh such as Netlon. This will also prevent the entry of rain or snow into boxes. It is critical to ensure thorough movement of air in a stable, especially if you are planning to build a horse barn.

Table 2: Requirements for natural ventilation of a typical barn & horse stalls 

Dimensions (per horse) Stalls Barn
Volume (m3)
Surface area of building (m2)
height from inlets to outlets (m)
Ventilation rate at 4 ac/h (m3/sec)
Ventilation heat loss at 4 ac/h (W/C)
Insulated Uninsulated Insulated Uninsulated
“U” value of walls & roof (W/m2C)
Building heat loss (W/C)
Temperature gradient (C) at 4 ac/h
Required inlet area/horse (m2)
Required outlet area/horse (m2)

Insulation and condensation

One of the benefits of insulating stables is high lighted in Table 2. Insulation by maintaining a slightly greater temperature difference between the inside and outside of the stable allows smaller openings to be used to provide adequate natural ventilation in still air conditions. It must also be highlighted that the benefits of insulation in terms of warmth within an average stable will only be a matter of a few degrees centigrade unless additional forms of heating are provided.

Another advantage of insulation is that it will decrease the risk of condensation. Condensation is a tell-tale sign of poor ventilation and is the cause of the pattern staining which often occurs in the roofs of stables.

Light and behavioral needs

Dark boxes where horses have little visual contact with other horses are likely to lead to behavioral problems. Box-weaving, wind-sucking and other vices often begin out of boredom. While one extreme approach, advocated by some, involves housing horses in groups, simple approaches such as providing adequate provisions for light and anti-weaving bars so that horses can put their heads out over the stable door can be beneficial.

Horses have evolved as gregarious and free ranging animals. They spend approximately 60% of their time grazing and continually move over their home range living together in close knit herds. Stables horses are restricted to one or two hours exercise per day, have restricted social interaction and fed concentrated rations which are quickly consumed. In these conditions stables horses can develop sterotypiec, characterized by bouts of frequently repeated, invariant and apparently purposeless activities. Examples of these include licking, crib biting, weaving, box walking and pawing. These activities are apparently coping mechanisms for prolonged periods of frustration. Owners often find these behaviors “objectionable and irritating”. However, in other species the prevention of sterotypies by restricting the animals movements has been shown to significantly increase corticosteroid concentration. Some cases respond to provision of a more stimulating environment, e.g. putting a goat or a mirror or a bouncy ball into the stable. Ultimately, the long term aim must be to identify and provide stimulating environments which help to prevent the development of sterotypiec behavior, especially early in life.

Simple skylights can be provided by clear corrugated perspex. Sunlight has the added advantage of ultra-violet light, a natural killer of airborne bacteria and viruses. In this regard, plastic skylights with u/v pervious glass are superior to glass since the latter does not normally allow the penetration of u/v rays. As a general guide, approximately 10% skylight area in a roof is suitable.

Decreasing hours of daylight is the main stimulus for a horse to lose its summer coat and conversely increasing hours of daylight lead to the loss of a winter coat. Daylight hours have been manipulated with artificial light in stables for many years as a way of bringing mares into season early in the year. The same technique can be used to help a horse lost its winter coat. Suitable light levels can be achieved using fluorescent lighting. It is essential to ensure appropriate levels of light int he center and the edges of all boxes.

Ordinary fluorescent bulbs providing between 100-200 lux (simple inexpensive light meters are available) are suitable. Increasing day light hours up to between 14 and 16 hours in late November is effective in stimulating the early onset of oestrus. However, there are times of light sensitivity and insensitivity during the day. Anoestrus mares can be stimulated to cycle earlier by adding 2.5 hours of artificial light after sunset but before sunrise. A one hour exposure 9 to 10 hours after natural sunset has also been shown to be effective.

Ancillary structures and fittings 

Little thought is often given to the design and positioning of feed storage.  Dust generated in these areas can be a health hazard for horses and humans. Fans or air filter devices are essential for these areas if they are closed in.

Storage facilities for grain and coarse mixes should be vermin proof and regularly emptied completely and cleaned. The latter is especially important in relation to forage mite which damage feeds and can cause skin problems and gut upsets in horses fed contaminated feed.

A floor gradient of between 1 in 40m and 1 in 80 is required for adequate drainage. Drains within stables should be simple and easily cleaned. Covered drains or laid pipes within stables clog quickly with most feed and bedding materials.

Muck pits are another potential health hazard at stables. Mice and rats can be attracted to muck-pits. Used plant-based bedding material molds quickly and can be a significant source of mold spores for horses housed nearby. A typical position for a muck heap is behind stables, just below the back wall vents, thus ensuring easy access for dust generated in this area into the stables and the horse’s lungs.


The design, selection and positioning of new stables or alterations to existing buildings, require careful planning to avoid unnecessary problems. The money invested in these buildings is not always an indication of their effectiveness in terms of housing the horse. The well being of horses housed in the most carefully designed stables can be compromised by the use of contaminated feeds and bedding or management practices such as deep litter bedding.


Click on the this link: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com, to continue reading about how to build a horse barn, horse barns in Colorado, or Colorado barns.

Build a Pole Barn the Easy Way


Posted by admin | Posted in new pole barn | Posted on 25-01-2013


by Oscar H. Will III | grit.com

Pole barn construction is about as easy as it gets for creating economical outbuildings of all kinds, but it still takes a major commitment and involves sufficient heavy lifting to be intimidating to the average person. Luckily, many national, regional and local pole building makers can supply everything you need, including the construction crew, to help you build a pole barn. And they can put a turnkey package together that will suit your style and your budget – but it pays to shop around.

If you are like many folks, you love to do things yourself and have developed many skills, but you don’t have time to get big projects done quickly. When it comes to building a pole-style chicken coop, you probably can get it accomplished in a weekend and a few evenings. But when it comes to a structure the size of an equipment shed or hay barn, you’ll need at least a week of weekends and a crew of helpers to complete the project any time soon. That’s why more folks are choosing to build their new barns with the help of a reputable company and crew behind them. Even with a turnkey manufacturer, don’t expect your new pole barn to appear overnight. You should expect to wait at least six weeks between signing the order and using your barn. In many cases, a 10-week wait is more realistic.

Free your imagination

Before you go to the work of drawing the barn’s floor plan, be sure to pace off the location to get a good measure of how large a footprint your building site can handle. Pay particular attention to overhead power lines, overhanging tree branches and other aerial or subterranean hazards specific to the location. Once you know how much building the site can handle, you can begin to plan.

Designing the layout for your new pole barn is pretty easy, once you decide what the building’s functions need to be. The beauty of modern pole-building construction is that you can enclose substantial spaces with virtually no supporting poles or other structural components cluttering up the interior. With modern roof truss technology, your barn can have more than 50 feet of clear span width – in any length you desire.

Pole barn in Parker, CO, by Rocky Mountain Barns.

Although some manufacturers have online design tools, it’s really a simple proposition to draw your own floor plan to scale using graph paper. Paper with a quarter-inch grid pattern is useful for planning buildings up to about 40 feet long by 30 feet wide – if you allow each square in the grid to represent 1 square foot, you can mark the location of stalls, doors, windows, machinery bays and the like. You can even make cutout models of the critters or machines you want to keep in the barn and move them around your plan to see how they fit. Work in pencil, and you can easily make changes to the plan as it evolves.

Once you have the floor plan roughed out, you’ll need to decide how much clearance you want between the floor and the bottom chord (horizontal component that ties truss ends together) of the roof trusses. For many folks, 8 feet of clearance might be sufficient, but, if you intend to park your antique Peterbilt road tractor in the barn and its shiny chrome stacks are a few inches more than 10 feet in the air, you will want to build with at least 12 feet of vertical clearance. You also should decide whether you want the roof to overhang the end walls and side walls and whether you want the overhang to be enclosed with soffits – do you prefer overhead or sliding doors?

Once you have this basic plan put together, it’s time to shop it around to see just how much building you can get for the money.

Calculate costs

The final price of your building will be determined by a combination of building size, snow- and wind-load calculations for your area, local building code, actual materials and how they are sourced. Pole barns constructed of laminated posts and dimensional lumber frames with a steel roof and wall can be constructed for around $15 a square foot, if you settle for a gravel or clay floor. Adding wood siding, overhangs, heavy-gauge steel siding and roofing, windows, skylights, concrete floors and doors easily can increase the per-square-foot cost to well over $25. If you will finish the interior, insulate, heat, cool and electrify the building, your costs will go up even more (even if you do much of the work yourself). The nice thing about pole barns is that you can have the enclosure built, use it, then finish the interior as need and finances allow.

Figuring the cost of the building can be as easy as meeting with a local representative for a turnkey pole building company like Morton, Wick or Cleary and negotiating the entire package. The operative word here is “negotiate.” As with virtually any purchase, some wiggle factor is built into the pricing, and you may as well have the wiggle aimed in your favor. Once the manufacturer’s representative specs out the barn and hands you a completed cost, you virtually always can negotiate a few hundred dollars to a percentage point or more off the price – and if you can’t get your price, you can most certainly negotiate downspouts and gutters, an extra door or some other feature for the same price.

If you are not inclined to purchase the entire package from a name-brand company, you will need to find a couple of local contractors; show them your barn plan and solicit bids for the barn. Be sure to find contractors experienced with pole building construction and be sure that the quality or grade of materials is specified. For instance, you will need posts that are treated for burial, not just ground contact. And you don’t want to end up with 29-gauge steel siding when your insurance company will only insure buildings with 26-gauge or heavier material.

For those of you who enjoy a bit more of a hunt, you can take your plan to the local building materials store and have them put together a bid for the lumber, steel and other components needed to construct the barn. At the same time, you can solicit bids with contractors willing to build the barn using materials you supply. Be aware, however, that using this approach puts you in the role of general contractor, and the construction crew will have little incentive to use material as efficiently as possible. If you do choose this route, be sure to negotiate a contractor’s discount at the material supply house.

Site preparation

Whether you engage a turnkey company or a local contractor, the entire deal will go more smoothly if you take care of the site preparation ahead of time. Site preparation for a pole barn involves removing any trees or shrubs that are in the way and grading the location so that it is almost flat. Depending on the size of your building and the manufacturer, variations in grade can be as large as 12 to 18 inches corner to corner. However, that lack of level might keep the full wind-load warranty from kicking in, and it most certainly is less than ideal anyway. Since you have need for the pole barn, there’s a good chance that you already own a compact tractor with a loader. If you don’t own a box scraper or other rear-blade attachment for your tractor, now’s the time to go buy one and prep the site yourself – it’ll cost you less than hiring an excavator. Alternatively, blow a few bucks to rent a skid-steer loader for the weekend and spend some time playing in the dirt.

Leveling the building site isn’t too complicated. Often all you need to do is move soil from the high spots over to the low. In other cases, you might need to move a few cubic yards of soil from one area on your farm to the building site (or visa versa) – a loader and box scraper can help with this. If you have to move 50 cubic yards of material a half mile, you probably ought to rent or hire a small dump truck or dump trailer to speed the process. If your ground slopes sufficiently that retaining walls will need to be built to create a level pad for the barn, you probably should hire an excavating contractor – the cost of site prep could double your barn’s total cost in extreme cases.

Whether you prepare the site or hire a local handy person to do it, you will want to be sure that the work is completed before the crew shows up to erect the building.

Stick to the schedule

Before you sign on the dotted line and make a down payment on your barn, be sure that the agreement includes an explanation of when the materials will be delivered (turnkey companies), when subsequent payments will be due, and when the construction crew will begin and finish the work. Often these milestones won’t be calendar dates – for example, some manufacturers expect a second payment when the materials are delivered to the site. Independent contractors will resist setting a too-defined schedule, but you can always use that as a price-negotiating strategy. Construction crews are notoriously independent, and it might take a month or more after the materials arrive for your crew to show up (this varies widely by manufacturer). In some cases, the crew will be assigned to complete your barn before moving to the next project. In other cases, the crew assigned to your barn might be juggling two or three projects in the area. Be sure to ask your sales representative or the contractor (if you found a local builder) how long to expect the crew to be on the job. Don’t be surprised if they tell you four or five days – it doesn’t take much time to put up a pole barn.

If you committed to site preparation or other preconstruction work, be sure you have it all completed by the agreed upon date, or you might wind up being the excuse for a long delay. Check local references for both independent contractors and for turnkey manufacturers to get an idea of what working with their organization is like. And if you had a good experience with one particular brand in another region, don’t assume that the local office is as efficient and well managed. Although horror stories aren’t the norm, it is entirely possible that a two-month completion timeframe for a turnkey barn can turn into a six-month waiting period if the local office falls apart or construction crews quit or get fired.

Enjoy your handiwork

Your new pole barn should be around for at least the next 50 years without the need for much renovation. Use it today for what you initially designed it for – but in five years when the children are off to school and all the horses are gone, don’t be afraid to modify the barn’s interior for other uses. The beauty of pole construction is that you can change the layout easily as your life in the country evolves. And who knows, once you’ve gone through the exercise of having a pole barn built, you just might be ready to tackle that 8-foot-by-12-foot farrowing shed for your heirloom sows.


To read more about Colorado pole barns, new pole barn, and wood pole barns, visit our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com.

Why Metal Buildings Make Great Horse Barns


Posted by admin | Posted in steel horse barns in Colorado | Posted on 09-01-2013


by Levi Hansen | ezinearticles.com

Wood is a classic fave, no denying that. Certain things should only be made of wood. On the other hand, there are some things which may be done without using wood. A good example could be structures, especially horse barns. There’s no reason you cannot make a good barns from metal.

You can always transform your horse barn, or any barn for that matter, from wood that may go rickety into metal buildings which could stand harsh weather. The truth is, there are increasingly more individuals with barns that have been moving over from wooden barn to metal.

Click on the link to visit our complete gallery of steel horse barns in Colorado by Rocky Mountain Barns.

If you were to look into the positives and negatives of it, there are no negatives with metal for horse barns. You may say that the expense of wooden horse barns being turned into metal buildings would be high, but in the long run, you might be surprised how affordable metal barns are.

Everybody knows how powerful horses can be. Metal buildings will hold up a lot better than wood barns when it comes to the occasional violence that some horses have. All it takes in one kick from a horse to put a gaping hole in the side of your wood barn. A metal barn would hold up a lot better.

Another reason why barns ought to be converted into metal buildings is because metal can much better stand up virtually all varying weather conditions you could have. Your horse will be better protected by a sturdy metal structure than he would in a wood barn on the verge of destruction.

You don’t have to worry about the look, color, or design of metal horse barns, as there are many shapes and sizes to choose from. There are plenty of styles and colors accessible as well. With the abundant growth of the metal building industry, you will be sure to find what it is you are looking for.

You may be already pondering changing your wooden horse barns to metal buildings. Well, why don’t you go on and plan it. It really is good if you plan first hand to help you start to see the bigger picture. Taking time to make a plan and put it in action will make the conversion a lot easier.

We are now living in the 21st century. No matter how wood can be classic sometimes, it is always better to challenge the scenario right now in the modern world. Do not be left out. Go ahead and convert your horse barn.

Metal buildings can be ideal horse barns. Many still think that wooden barns are the only things to keep horses in, but nowadays, big metal buildings do the job much better than wooden buildings.


Get more information about Colorado barn, Colorado pole barns, and steel horse barns in Colorado, by visiting our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com.

Metal Horse Barns Offer Numerous Advantages


Posted by admin | Posted in horse barns Colorado | Posted on 27-12-2012


by Jim P. Moser | ezinearticles.com

Are metal horse barns really suitable for keeping horses in? If you are considering building a barn for your horses or farm animals and you do not want to spend too much time maintaining it. However, you also want it to last for many years, you might want to buy a metal barn. If you are not convinced that it will be a suitable choice, then the information below will very likely help you to make up your mind.

Rocky Mountain Barns designs and builds exceptional horse barns in Colorado. Check our gallery.

The main reason why you would not have thought of building steel horse barns is probably because of the heat which metal tends to draw in. Since it is vital that your farm animals such as your horses, goats and cows, etc, need to live in a cool and conducive environment, a burning hot barn is definitely not a conducive environment for them! You may be surprised to learn that there are in fact ways to deflect the heat away from the metal barns so that the animals living inside can feel comfortable. Methods such as roof cooling techniques can be applied to bring down the heat in the barns.

Horse barn by Rocky Mountain Barns - tack room.

Metal barns are fast gaining popularity these days because of the numerous advantages which they offer and the traditional wooden barns do not. Below are some advantages which such barns offer. Once you learn about their pros, you will more likely consider getting them for your own use.

1. Safety

The greatest advantage of using metal for farm barns is that it is much safer than wood because metal is better able to withstand elements, thus you will not get problems like weak boards which might just fall on your animals and endanger their lives. In addition, metal horse barns are also stronger so chances of thieves breaking in and stealing your things are slimmer.

In fact, most of these barns that are made of metal have an open pasture on one side so that animals such as your horses can feel free to roam and graze in the open fields. They can later return to the stable for rest on their own and farmers do not have any fear of losing them.

2. Durability

Sine the barn is made of metal, they tend to last longer so you can save yourself the problem of having to rebuild your barn several times. You can expect each steel barn to last you many years before you need to replace it with a brand new barn.

3. Easy Maintenance

Once you have metal horse barns built on your farm, you will be able to appreciate the investment you have made. Traditional barns are made of wood and are very difficult to maintain. However, with metal barns, you will be happy to learn that you do not have to constantly clean it in order to make it last longer.


To read more about Colorado horse barns, horse barns Colorado, and Colorado pole barns, visit our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com.

Determining the Cost of Your Pole Barn or Post Frame Building Project


Posted by admin | Posted in Colorado Pole Barn, pole barn Colorado | Posted on 12-12-2012

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by FBi Buildings | fbibuildings.com

Everybody wants to know “What’s this going to cost?” Is the project even feasible given your financial resources? Do you need to scale back your plans or can you afford to make the building bigger or include some nice options?

It helps to have a frame of reference. The place to start is by calling your builder. But be clear about what you need at this stage. If all you need is a ballpark price on vague building specs to determine if such a project is feasible, tell him that. A builder will be happy to provide a rough price range, but don’t treat a ballpark price like a firm quote. A rough estimate is exactly that: rough – but enough to help you clarify if the project is feasible.

Once you’ve determined that the ballpark range is in line with your budget, it’s time to tighten up your building specifications so that you can get a more exact price. This is usually a back-and-forth process with your builder until you arrive at an acceptable convergence of size, aesthetics, functionality and price.

Coming to a final agreement on your project specifications and pricing is typically an iterative process. You start with loosely defined specs and a rough price. As more decisions are made and the detail level increases, the proposals and pricing get more exact.

A builder cannot give you a specific estimate unless you give him specific information.

Consider the complete project costs

Don’t forget that the building shell is only part of the overall cost. Be sure to include items such as excavation, concrete, electrical, etc. in your budget. You don’t want surprises later. We especially recommend talking to an excavator early in the process. Site preparation often costs more than people expect.

Many variables, all within your control, can affect the total cost. Here is a list of common items:

  • Permit fees
  • Clearing and excavating
  • Building pad (gravel or concrete)
  • Building shell design & erection
  • Builders Risk Insurance
  • Specialty windows & doors (if not included in shell price)
  • Interior build out (can include framing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, drywall, finish carpentry, etc.)
  • Masonry (brick or stone exterior if you choose to not use steel siding)
  • Finish grading
  • Paving (sidewalks, driveway)
  • Landscaping

The design and construction of your building shell is just part of your overall project cost. This list should spur your thinking about other items you may need to consider. It’s important to get information on these costs early in the process so you don’t have any surprises later.

Adding a contingency allowance is a sensible idea

It is prudent to include a 5 to 10 percent contingency allowance in your budget to address change orders and unplanned costs. You might need this for extra items – things you left out of the design that you later decide you want. When buildings cost more than expected, it’s often because the owners make changes after work is underway. Some others cost more because owners underestimate final grading and landscaping costs, or because building inspectors require work to be redone, when it’s not done right the first time.

Opportunities to save

Builders prize optimal sites and flexible schedules. A “ready” site is one that has all the site work done, is easily accessible and has a gravel or concrete building pad. This allows the builder to be more efficient during erection saving him time, and you money. Builders like flexible deadlines because it allows them to smooth out their production schedule. Sometimes incentives are offered for schedule flexibility, especially during the winter months.

Have more questions about building costs not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning your Colorado pole barn, please contact Rocky Mountain Barns today!.


Visit our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com, for further information about pole barn Colorado, Colorado pole barns, and Colorado pole building.

Building the Best Barn


Posted by admin | Posted in Colorado barn | Posted on 30-11-2012


by Jennifer Worrell | barnpros.com


In addition to providing adequate ventilation, a quality equestrian facility must have adequate drainage, both inside and out. “You certainly don’t want water and muck surrounding your barn,” says Wheeler. To avoid muddy entrances and exits into the stables, Wheeler advises owners to build their barn at least eight to twelve inches above the surrounding area and grade evenly from the highest point. The barn’s design must also include a pathway for water to drain from the roof. “Roofs impound lots of water which causes a great deal of run-off,” she says. “Gutters and downspouts are imperative in the design. A muck pile around the barn is a sign that the building is improperly designed.”

Supplying adequate footing for horses near the entrance will also keep muddy pathways at bay. Instead of planting grasses near the barn, Wheeler advises owners to create a “sacrifice paddock,” wich ground stone dust graded to shed water. By first installing a layer of packed soil, adding a ge-textile layer, and topping the mixture with stone dust, barn owners will have generated sturdy ground for high horse traffic in and out of the barn. “The geo-fabric stabilizes the stone dust, and it spreads the force of the hooves outward, not downward, this helps the water run down-hill -just make sure that low-lying areas are not part of your turn-out,” Wheeler says. She adds, “This construction is not inexpensive, but it is worth it in the long run.”

Take a look at our portfolio to find the Colorado barn of your dreams by Rocky Mountain Barns.

Wheeler also advises owners to build strong fencing and gates around favorite horsey gathering places around the barn. “Gates should be substantial and as high as the surrounding fence. High traffic areas need to have strong, visible fencing -not wire,” she says. “Around waterers, feeders, and other places horses tend to gather, these needs to be substantial wooden fencing -save the high tensile wire for larger, open parts of the pasture.”

Riding arena by Rocky Mountain Barns.

After preparing the surrounding land for the new barn, you must consider appropriate materials for a quality facility. Both Harcourt and Wheeler advise against contracting a home builder unless they have specific experience with horse barns. “Even if they are outstanding builders of homes, they may not be cognizant of the nuances of building a barn,” Harcourt warns.

Wheeler adds that residential hardware and supplies have no place in a barn, as all construction needs to be extra sturdy. Some home builders may not be aware of the havoc a horse can wreak on is stable.

“Stalls should be 12′ x 12′ square, with walls that can withstand being kicked, chewed, and bumped,” says Wheeler. “Two-inch thick oak boards are one option as is concrete.” While portable or metal kit buildings are a less-expensive and attractive option, Wheeler says that under no circumstances should horses be exposed to the bare metal on either side of the building. “Horses should never be directly exposed to sheet metal because the sharp edges can seriously injure them,” she says.

Once the materials have been chosen, Wheeler advises owners to consider the need for storage space in their barn designs. “In a four-horse barn, add 30%-50% of the space for storage,” she says. “In even smaller stables, closer to 50% should be allotted.” Wheeler says that leaving one stall for equine sundries is probably not enough when one takes into consideration the need for a tack room, feed area, and a place for grooming supplies and medicines.

Horse owners must also plan for hay storage. “Storing hay and bedding in a building separate from the barn will help keep the dust down,” says Wheeler. “In the event of a fire, hay and bedding will go up like gasoline, the fire department smiply cannot put out a hay fire.

There are open barn plans that allow for hay and other necessities to be safely stored while still providing adequate space and ventilation. Both Wheeler and Harcourt agree that the shed row design is becoming more popular. “Barns with an aisleway surrounded by stalls on either side is an American design and is very convenient chore-wise,” Wheeler says. “However, there is only room for ventilation on either end.” In the European shed row stile of barn, all stalls open directly to the outside, and there is no center aisleway. This allows air to move freely on both sides of each stalll, instead of only on both ends of the barn itself.

Wheeler is also an advocate of three-walled run-in shelters in the pasture. Provided each horse gets about 100-150 square feet of space in the shed, this type of barn gives horses both ventilation and an opportunity to socialize. “Run-in sheds provide shelter and darkness in the summer -flies don’t like the dark!” said Wheeler. “If the space is large enough, a horse can safely negotiate his way out, even if he is bullied by another animal.”

Wheeler notes that many other countries use run-in sheds as their primary stabling. Many Canadian and Swedish horse owners have enormous shelters of this type with feeding stations. These stations also enable vets and farriers to treat individual animals. In her travels, Wheeler has seen shelters such as these used successfully even with the most valuable of breeding stocks.


Click on the this link: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com, to continue reading about building the best Colorado barn, steel horse barns in Colorado, and new barns in Colorado.

Building the Best Barn


Posted by admin | Posted in Colorado Pole Barns, wood pole barns | Posted on 15-11-2012


by Jennifer Worrell | barnpros.com


Mary Harcourt, co-author with Nancy W. Ambrosiano, of Building Horse Barns Big and Small has some tips.

Before even thinking about building a barn, the first things horse owners must consider are the zoning laws for their area. Harcourt reminds owners that the city or county has to agree with their barn plans, and that nearby neighbors may have a say in the plan as well. “Remember that not everyone loves horses and their potential smells, flies, sights, and sounds,” Harcourt advises. She adds, “If you are buying land, pick a horse-friendy area. Then check out al of the zoning codes, deed covenants, and governmental restrictions that might apply to your operation before you sign the contract.”

Once the zoning rules have been cleared, it is time to find a useful set of plans. Harcourt suggests that owners who are shopping for barn plans should visit working stables to take notes and photograph designs. “Talk to owners and ask them what works and what doesn’t,” Harcourt said. “Ask vets, farmers, and feed/hay dealers about who has the best facilities, then go visit them with camera in hand.”

Take a look at the different styles on our wood pole barns photo gallery.

Believe it or not, at least one collegiate-level academic study is currently underway to discern the best housing plans possible for our equine friends. Eileen Fabian Wheeler, Asociate Professor of Agriculture and Biological Engineering for Penn State University, published a book, Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design this year. She has also written extensive on-line papers on the topic. She strongly believes that horses are happiest and healthiest when they spend more time in their pastures. “Horse belong outside -it’s interesting that I’ve written a book on stable design,” she says. “People put horses in buildings for human convenience, dating back to the time when horses served as our primary mode of transportation. We keep our horses ‘garaged’ as we would our cars because it’s easier than having to go to the pasture and bring them in.”

Since today’s horse may work only one to two hours per day, his exercise needs are not being managed as they were years ago. Socialization with other horses and romping in open fields hep our equine friends deal with their pent-up energy. “Vets and behaviorists will tell you that horses need to be in groups or outside,” Wheeler says. “Horses don’t want to be alone -they are too smart to be kept in enclosed stalls -isolation cells. It’s almost inhumane.”

Since keeping horses pastured may not be possible in more suburban neighborhoods, Wheeler emphasizes that an open barn design will keep horses happier. She advises owners to build open partitions between stalls so horses can communicate with each other. This airy design will allow more ventilation throughout the entire barn. Wheeler notes that some horse people tend to treat their horses like humans by creating completely enclosed stables to trap warmth in the winter. “Horses are comfy at 50 degrees -horses are not terribly uncomfortable in freezing weather,” she says. ‘In the horse industry, there is a strong trend toward residential construction, but horses are livestock, they need to be treated differently than humans.”

Wheeler notes that horses have increased ventilation needs, and that the are better off outside than a poorly ventilated barn. If the interior and exterior temperatures are within five to ten degrees of each other, then the barn is properly ventilated. Keeping horses sheltered from a cold wind is enough to keep the comfortable. ‘Put holes in the building -creating a stuffy building is not good for horses,” she says. “Los of fresh air is important.” Harcourt agrees with Wheeler that incorporating ventilation needs in the stable plans is vital. Ventilation within the barn will also help keep the interior dry as well “as realtors speak of location-location-location as the key thing to remember in property purchase, then next to drainage-drainage-drainage, you’ll want to remember ventilation-ventilation-ventilation as a key factor to incorporate into your barn,” Harcourt says. “Doors, windows, ridge and cave vents, or cupolas can provide natural ventilation. Strategically placed fans will enhance natural ventilation with forced air movements.”


Visit our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com, to see our complete gallery of horse barns Colorado, wood pole barns, and wood horse barns in Colorado.

Horse Barn Kits – Pole Barns


Posted by admin | Posted in Colorado Pole Barns, horse barns Colorado | Posted on 01-11-2012



Building a barn can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. The only limits are the size of your property, your budget and of course your imagination! Just because you will use this accessory building as a horse barn, doesn’t mean it has to look like a barn building. Monitors, single slopes, gable style, grid horse barns and of course the traditional gambrels – they all have features which will best fit your needs, and of course the needs of your horses. Horse barns can be in the shape of an “L”, a “T” to maximize property use, and reduce steps when going from one horse to another. Whether you have a wood sided barn or metal barn, each option can be weighed carefully to determine what works best for you and your prize horses.

Take a look at the different styles on our Colorado Pole Barns photo gallery.

The amount of horses you have will give you a starting point for the number of stalls you will need. These stall dividers by Rocky Mountain Barns are easy to mount to create as many stalls as you need.

Pole Barn Kits

If you want a barn building to be totally functional, the best thing to start with is counting the horses! How many horses do you have, and how many do you plan to have in your horse barn? This gives you a starting point for the number of stalls you will need. Next add on stalls for a tack room, feed room and possibly a wash or grooming stall. Hay storage may be most economically done by having it handy in a stall on the main floor. Loft areas can often be used for hay and other storage, but as they say, “what goes up must come down”, so putting the hay up and then down again can be a lot of work. Hay storage up above in your barn building comes at a premium, requiring a much taller eave height than if kept to a single level, with a few more stalls at the end for storage.

Horse barn kits are quick and easy to put up, but the siding can just as easily be T1-11, board and batten, vinyl or tongue and groove. Standard or architectural shingles, tile or standing seam steel can be substituted for steel roofing. Metal barn kits will have the least amount of long term maintenance and provide the longest lasting finish, but it all depends on the “look” you are trying to achieve. Horse barns can be as attractive as any other building, using wainscot to set it off, beautifully finished tongue and groove stall kits and a lighted cupola with horse weathervane on top to add that finishing touch. Sidings can be painted, stained, left to weather, or for longest “just like new” appearance, choose from over 17 colors for a metal barn in 29 or 26 gauge steel. No matter what the siding or roofing material, Hansen barn kits use trims to cover all wood. There is no exposed wood left to weather, decay or prove unsightly down the road. Unless you choose to have painted trims, steel trims can be provided so peeling and repainting is off your “to do” list forever!

Building a barn can be a project carried over several years. Select the width you want overall, and then put double trusses on one or both ends, for future additions. Many customers have chosen a solid 36’, 38’ or even 40’ width, along with an initial length which fits their budget. Down the road, removing the endwall steel on a pole barn is a cinch, adding on 12’ increments for stalls and the aisleway. Selecting an overall eave height to allow future shed additions on the sidewalls is another popular option when building a barn. The nice thing about a pole building is concrete floors can be poured at any time during the actual barn building, or even a year or two after its built! It just makes sense to get the size you want and need, and worry about the “extras” later.

Ventilation is easy with horse barns. Choose enclosed overhangs for a stately look to your barn, and the vented soffit will provide the “in” for the airflow. Vent the ridge cap for the outflow and add gable vents if you must, for maximum ventilation and minimizing any condensation issues. Include optional reflective insulation as a moisture barrier to cut down on wall and ceiling condensation dripping on you, your horses, and especially valuable hay! Natural lighting is a snap with eave lights. No need to fumble for the light switch and your electricity bill is greatly reduced, with your horses comfortably at home in a naturally lighted horse barn.


Get more information about Colorado pole barns, Colorado pole buildings, and horse barns Colorado, by visiting our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com.

Planning a New Barn


Posted by admin | Posted in new barns in Colorado | Posted on 20-10-2012


by Ann Compton | petplace.com

If the patter of hooves is soon to be heard at your house and a barn is in your future, planning is the key. There are many things to consider before the first nail is driven. Take the time in the planning stages to make decisions that will keep your costs down, your horses comfortable and you a happy horse keeper.

First, make a checklist of important tasks. Set yourself a timeline for each in the order they must be done, so you won’t be rushed into choosing building plans, contractors and the like. Before you begin, check your town zoning regulations. Many municipalities require that buildings that house livestock be a certain distance from the property line. Others have limitations on how many and what type of animals can be maintained on specific acreage. Ask about building permits and inspections – what is required and how long it takes to obtain them.

Your Plan

Here are several suggestions about what to include in your barn-building plans:

See here new barns in Colorado by Rocky Mountain Barns.

Location. Ideally, you want a convenient spot for your barn – one that’s not too close to the road but not too close to the house, either. Keep in mind that you will have to slough through inclement weather conditions to get there several times a day, year-round. Consider the location of your septic field, if you have one.

Drainage. This will become very important once the barn is built. If you have a choice, situate the barn on high ground so the water drains away from it. Nothing will completely eliminate mud when it rains, but careful planning will reduce standing water, icy conditions and, worst of all, water accumulating in the barn itself. Plan to install a curtain drain around the barn if the location doesn’t allow for ideal drainage.

Direction. Think about the direction your barn will face. Will the sun beat on the stalls during the heat of the day? Are the stalls on the northern side and would you rather they get winter sun? If you have a choice, most of these issues can be resolved before you’ve committed to a blueprint.

Accessibility. Consider how you will get hay, bedding and supplies to the barn. The building should be accessible to delivery trucks so you won’t have to haul supplies by hand. Be sure that you plan gate openings large enough for farrier and veterinary vehicles, too. You may not be able to arrange a driveway to the barn, but be sure that, even during the winter, these vehicles can access your barn and get out again.

The building. Do you have a floor plan in mind? If so, sketch a layout then shop around. There are many companies that specialize in building barns, whether pole or prefab, and can do so more cheaply than a builder. Look at their floor plans. There are many to choose from, so order catalogs. If you see something you like but want some alterations, most companies will work with you, so don’t assume that you must conform to their building specifications completely. Talk to as many people as you can; get plans and estimates. A building contractor may be able to give you exactly what you want, but may also be much more expensive than a company that specializes in building barns. These companies generally can supply everything including the plans, supplies and workers. You will be responsible for site preparation and extras like water and electricity.

Electrical. Determine a route with your electrician for lines to be run to your barn. There’s nothing worse than feeding your horse by flashlight or trying to minister to a sick equine in the dark. Arrange for horseworthy electrical outlets, cables and circuit breakers. Plan to have lighting fixtures installed high enough so that curious noses can’t get to them. Don’t overlook exterior lighting…remember, you also will have to get to the barn in the dark.

Water. You won’t want to cart buckets to your horses. If you have a well, make certain that your water supply can support your animals and that you can have a water line run to the barn. When you plan a location for the barn water pump, don’t cement all the way around it – leave an area of gravel for drainage.

Ventilation. One of the most important components of your barn will be fresh air. Horses typically live in dusty bedding, so it’s very important to be sure that they will have air, even if it’s cold. Plan for air vents at the peaks, as well as barn doors and windows that will supply as much ventilation as possible.

Stall size. Decide what size stalls your horses require. Standard stall size is 12 feet by 12 feet, but smaller horses and ponies can live in 10 foot by 10 foot stalls. Bigger is better if you may want to house larger animals in your barn eventually.

Flooring. There is a variety of flooring types, both for stalls and aisles. Get as much information as possible about stall flooring products so you can make an informed choice. Depending on the type of ground you have, decide whether your stall base will be dirt, clay or stone dust and whether you want to cover them with a flooring product. Important things to look for are drainage and durability. Decide whether your barn aisle will be cement. If so, you may require a different contractor to pour it.

Doors. Sliding doors are the best choice for both stalls and entry. Have a smaller door for people installed, as well as a large barn door, so you won’t have to open and close a big door at night or in bad weather. Grillwork halfway up both doors and stalls will allow for the best ventilation. Install grills on stall windows as well.

Storage. Plan your storage area so it is accessible to you but not the horses. This should be an area that you can close off completely – an unused stall will do if not a separate room – that will house feed, hay and bedding. Set it up so supplies don’t sit on the ground. Think about the tack you’ll need. Count the number of saddles, other tack and equipment that you’ll want to store and plan accordingly.

Check references. Once you’ve got your contractors in place, do a reference check. If you haven’t dealt with them before, ask for the names of other customers for whom they have done the same type of work. If they’re local, visit several barns to see the firm’s workmanship.

Details. Find out who is responsible for procuring material for your building, the payment terms each of your contractors requires, and any insurance coverage necessary. Get everything in writing.

Finally, consider the barns you’ve boarded in, and make a list of the things you liked and didn’t like about each. This is the list that will individualize your barn and make it work for you. Now, structure your budget and let the building begin.


Visit our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com, to obtain further information about Colorado pole barns, horse barns Colorado, and new barns in Colorado.

Wood Types for Horse Stalls


Posted by admin | Posted in wood horse barns in Colorado | Posted on 05-10-2012


by Kate Hornsby | ehow.com

Ask 10 different horse owners which type of wood they prefer to use for building horse stalls and you will probably get 10 different answers. While many types of woods can be used, choosing a type of wood that is strong and durable will help ensure that your horse has a stall that is safe and built to last.

  • Cypress

Valued for being bug- and moisture-resistant, cypress (gopher wood) often gets chosen as the wood for a stall enclosure because many horse owners are told that horses don’t like to bite (called cribbing) on cypress wood. Unfortunately, some horses will chew on any type of wood, and although cypress does have some great qualities, keeping a bored horse from gnawing on it is not one of them.

  • Hemlock

There is often some hesitation about using hemlock because it is often confused with the hemlock plant. The hemlock plant (Cicuta Maculata) grows in wet areas and is highly toxic to humans and animals. The hemlock tree, however, is a hardy wood suitable for building a stall, though it’s not as commonly used because of its cost and availability.

  • Oak

Thought to be the best wood for building a horse stall, oak is well-liked since the wood is sturdy and holds up well to abuse (such as horse kicking). Rough oak (unsmoothed wood), bought from a sawmill, can often be cheaper than regular oak boards and is great to use when a larger enclosure is needed. Boards should be at least 2 inches thick. If building additional stalls, boards should start at the floor and go upward to five feet with no gaps in between. This will keep stall mates from bothering each other.

  • Pine

Not as durable as oak but considerably cheaper, pine is often the first choice when cost is an issue. Pressure-treated pine is stronger than untreated, but care should be taken using treated wood on the top part of stalls, since cribbing horses may bite on the wood. Many horse owners use pressure-treated pine at the bottom of the stall where water and manure are more prone to accumulate, then switch to untreated wood at the top of the wall to prevent the horses from ingesting treated wood.


If you are looking for wood horse barns in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Barns is the place for you! Located in the heart of Douglas County, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Barns design and construct all types of post-frame structures to include agriculture, suburban, equestrian and storage buildings.

Get more information about wood horse barns in Colorado, wood pole barns, and wood pole buildings, by visiting our website: http://www.rockymountainbarns.com.