Making the dream of owning your own horse barn a reality is not an easy task and let’s face it, building a horse barn is not an inexpensive endeavor. The size and scale of the structure that horses require for housing needs means a capital outlay that, despite financing options, horse owners often cannot contemplate being able to afford. But don’t despair, there is a logical way forward to realizing the dream of horse barn ownership.
Financial constraints should not dim the dream of keeping horses in the backyard for the horse lover or put equine aficionados off starting their own horse training/lesson or boarding business. But it is essential that the horse owner allow their head to rule their heart and ensure that logic is the driving force in their horse barn selection. Otherwise, there is a good chance that the entire project will fall apart, possibly even resulting in financial failure that requires foreclosure on a property.
Think Big Start Small
The most common mistake folks make when developing a horse property is to think too big. Going big can mean not going home with your horses at all. While budget overruns can pop up in any project, the savvy shopper nails down their prices with ‘to the penny’ quotes, not estimates with open ended language, and does their due diligence when it comes to who they choose to collaborate with on every aspect of the building process.
Success in any project will be determined by having a clear idea of the start and finish point of the venture and how each step will be achieved throughout the process. In terms of a horse property, areas for service lines such as water, electricity and possibly sewer, vehicular and pedestrian access, fencing needs and the horse barn itself all factor into the plan.
While fencing may be temporary and moved or added to later with the use of electric rope/wire, and overhead electric power lines can be moved and new wells drilled, the reality is it is not easy to move a substantial structure like a barn. Even if you have the stalwart Amish attitude and manpower to make it happen. Aside from a run-in shed with tow hooks installed on its corners that facilitate moving the structure from A to B with a tractor or large ATV/UTV, the barn’s positioning and size will likely dictate the rest.
Barns Big and Small
When on the hunt for a horse barn builder search for a company that can provide barns big and small in a myriad of designs. This will provide maximum choice as well as offer a great deal of flexibility later if you decide to add to the initial design and want buildings to match.
For example, a straight shed-row barn can easily be added to later with adjacent buildings placed to either side in an ‘L’ or ‘U’ configuration to create a courtyard to the inside. A neighborhood of large run-in sheds placed in a line can provide hay and equipment storage opposite a center aisle barn built in the future but be used in the short term as shelter in fields and placed later in the perfect position to serve as storage or even be finished across their open sides as quarantine stalls in a location set distant from the main barn.
There are many advantages to working with a modular construction company over a stick-built on-site construction crew. Two key factors are the accuracy on pricing and the ease with which the design and details can be ‘nailed down’ too. Shopping for a new horse barn should be painless and fun. Choose your collaborative partner with due diligence, to ensure a happy experience.
There probably isn’t any simpler or less stressful way to add a new barn to your property. Delivery is straightforward, site prep minimal and there is no upheaval caused by the yard becoming a worksite with all the negatives of noise, mess and traffic that entails.
Think Outside the Box
The advantages of working with a modular/prefabricated barn building company are without question the nailed down price, and the almost instant set up and readiness for use as soon as Day 1 (for a run-in or shedrow barn) but typically not later than 1 week (for a modular, center aisle barn) after arrival. Monitor barns that arrive in three sections via truck and then are cleverly placed 2 in parallel with the 3rd on top offer a neat way to have the advantages of a center aisle barn in a budget friendly manner.
Consider the placement of each structure in relation to its future neighbor barns carefully. Dutch doors that open to large runs outside can save on labor cleaning stalls and moving horses back and forth to pastures. They can also offer an ideal ‘dry lot’ for equines prone to laminitis or in rehabilitation following an injury they may have sustained that requires limited freedom of movement during recovery.
The Indoor Arena Expense
A great way to utilize your planned riding arena space is to first finish it regarding footing and drainage as an outdoor ring and provide in advance any special requirements for the addition of covering it as an indoor when funds allow.
These factors may include increasing the overall size of the ring to facilitate an apron around the building later, laying in services such as electric and water to the site, and leaving plenty of space around the area for construction equipment such as cranes and large trucks.
It may be prudent to avoid siting the outdoor arena close to neighbors’ property lines or mature trees where their roots may compromise construction, or their swaying canopies pose a hazard to the structure during high winds. Ensure the location offers sufficient space for parking and tractor access ideally on multiple sides of the building for arena grooming later, as well as plenty of room for construction material deliveries that will be required for the big build.
The Budget Bear
Unless you are blessed with unlimited financial resources managing the budget for your backyard horse property project or envisioned full-blown horse boarding and training enterprise is an absolute necessity.
Most of us must deal with unexpected increases in running costs such as hay and feed prices, electric hikes, pasture management expenses and wear and tear on the property such as driveways and fences. The more logic you apply now to how these direct and indirect costs will be managed and how they factor into the capital outlay you anticipate for the new barn and horse property development, the better off you will ultimately be managing the issues that will surely arise.
The most significant component of running any successful business is cash flow. If you have good income but high costs too, eventually the lack of profit margin will limit not just your opportunity to expand your business or horse owning project, but it could also lead to a cash crunch crisis that takes you down a road nobody wants to travel.
Be realistic with your expectations when it comes to building a horse barn and equine property development. There is a great deal of pleasure in building as you go and doing some of the work yourself along the way. Over time many initial ideas become irrelevant or impractical and needs and wants do change as more experience is gained in managing a life with horses in your care, custody, and control.
When building a barn work within your budget and immediate needs to get what you need now and add what you want later. Remember, going big can mean not going home with your horses at all.
Don’t be afraid to dream but at the same time, don’t be tempted to jump in with all four hooves and build too big out of the gate if your funds are limited. Stay the course and plan your best route but take it one fence at a time.