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Welcome to the Horsemen’s Yankee Pedlar’s Fifth Annual

Barn & Arena Guide

Contents: 6 Ready To Assemble 18 Good Barnkeeping 26 Tack Room Makeover 30 Horse Friendly Landscaping

32 Business Resource Guide


e are proud to present our fifth annual Barn & Arena Guide. Whether your’re planning to build a new barn and are interested in doing it yourself with prefabricated options, would like to improve the overall look of your existing barn with landscaping, or want to give your tack room a makeover, this guide has advice to get you started. Also inside, you’ll find tips on how to maintain your facility for years to come. From footing to shingles, you’ll discover this supplement to be filled with useful products, services, ideas, and more. Be sure to keep this resource on hand throughout the year as you tackle the projects around your barn, both big and small.



























83 Leicester Street, North Oxford, MA 01537 phone: 508-987-5886 fax: 508-987-5887 subscription questions: 1-800-414-9101 A Publication of the Magazine Division of Morris Communications Company 735 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901

President Paul Smith Director of Sales Mitch Miller

Controller Scott Ferguson Interactive Director Jason Doyle








LEARN HOW TO MAKE WISE PURCHASING DECISIONS WHEN ORDERING KIT HOUSING FOR YOUR HORSE BY MARCIA KING pleasing, time-honored style of wooden barns that have been popular for centuries. Says Nancy Ambrosiano, co-author (with Mary Harcourt) of the book, Complete Plans for Building Horse Barns Big and Small, “Post and beam barns have a more traditional feel and are pleasing to the old-fashioned folks among us who enjoy lots of wood around.” Wood also has naturally good insulating qualities and is easy to work with. However, some people believe that wood is expensive, can splinter and be chewed, and is subject to rot and termites. Andy Prokosch, president of Shelter-Kit Incorporated, disagrees: “Wood is not especially expensive and doesn’t need much maintenance.” In post and beam construction, vertical posts are anchored to concrete piers or footings. Interior support posts are typically spaced from 8' to 12' apart, depending upon the manufacturer. Horizontal beams connect the posts and provide support for the loft floor and roof. Diagonal braces stiffen the frame and provide wind bracing. There are no supporting walls, so the interior layout is somewhat flexible in the planning stages. Explains Prokosch, “Standard post spacing is 8', but we can change that if people want 12' x 12' stalls. It’s also possible to build the posts within the walls of the stall.” Once the barn has been completed, stalls’ sizes will be restricted to interior post spacing. Generally, the post and beam kit contains

pre-cut lumber that is marked, packaged in bundles, and ready to put together, says Prokosch. “Our kit contains all of the framing members to produce the building plus siding, flooring for the loft floor, roof plywood, shingles, doors, windows, hardware, and vertical rough sawn white pine boards. Foundation and flooring are up to the owner.” Other companies may vary in what they include in their barn packages and types of siding. Assembling a wooden post and beam style building can be fairly easy, even for the novice. “Our kits are designed for people who know absolutely nothing about construction,” Prokosch says. “However, you should be in reasonable physical shape; you’ll need to pick up plywood that weighs about 50 to 60 pounds each. With a completed 24' x 24' barn weighing about six tons, that’s a lot of stuff that will be carried around! No power tools or lifting equipment are needed; just hammers, a level or two, ladders, and a handsaw for occasional trimming.” Free span. Because these structures have no interior weight-bearing posts, free span barns offer the maximum in interior layout flexibility and no obstructions; indoor riding arenas, skating arenas, etc., often utilize this style. Says Ambrosiano, “You can drop in stall sections with round pens or breeding pens, move freestanding components around, and generally create anything you need all under the big


or those who have the time, inclination, and the ability to follow instructions, assembling a run-in shed, stall or a barn from a mail-order kit can yield impressive savings, control over the quality of workmanship and materials, and a nifty suntan. Novices with just basic tools can put together a stall or run-in shed, even a shed-row barn or small stable. Still, assembling a kit barn is a long way from an afternoon of stacking up a few Lincoln Logs. Barn assembly, depending on size and type, may be a multi-person project that takes weeks of fulltime work to complete. Some building elements are fairly heavy, requiring a person of moderate strength capable of manipulating awkward, 50-pound plywood pieces. In some cases, a forklift or other lifting equipment may have to be rented in order to hoist up heavy trusses. Like on-site, professionally constructed barns, made-to-assemble barns come in a variety of styles. These range from the simple shed-row to the raised breezeway, from traditional styling to utilitarian design, from the gable-roofed to the gambrel-roofed. Building materials fall into two main categories—wood and metal. Kit prices vary, depending on size, quality, and quantity of materials, and amount of pre-fabrication completed by the manufacturer. If assembled correctly, nothing stands out to indicate that the barn was a do-it-yourself project: It looks just like its builder-constructed counterpart. In fact, it’s not uncommon for professional builders to order barn or stall kits when hired to build equine housing. As with any major do-it-yourself project, disappointment and wasteful expenditure can be avoided by employing a heavy dose of realism as to the amount of time you and your helpful building comrades will be able to invest and to how often you’ll be able or willing to work on the project—a couple of hours every day, all day every weekend, your entire twoweek vacation? The same can be said for having a clear idea of what you need in equine housing and understanding what the manufacturer does and, equally important, does not provide.


For starts, consider the pros and cons of the most popular kit-barns available: post and beam, free span, and modular. Post and beam. These are the aesthetically 2011 BARN & ARENA GUIDE • P EDLAR.COM



H orse me n’ s Y a nkee P edlar • 2011 BARN & ARENA GUIDE

Personal Criteria Determining how much barn you’ll need and the kind of use it will receive is as important as deciding on the type of barn. • If you have a small farm where you’ll never have more than a few horses, then staying small and simple may be the best economical option. • If you someday hope to increase the number of horses and thus stalls, a modular structure with easy add-on capabilities may effectively address both present and future needs. • If you board horses or have some sort of commercial facility, select barn size to meet present and, perhaps, future expansion needs. Opt for interior features that consider particular storage or grooming needs, the amount of traffic in the aisles, the amount of wear and tear stall elements will receive, the strength needed for safe stall walls, expeditious feeding by barn personnel, etc.


roof.” The horse owner can also put in whatever size stall they wish, avoiding size limitations imposed by the modular barn or post and beam barns. However, free spans utilizing the truss roof (like the riding arena) provide no options for a second floor or hayloft. Generally, free span barns are made of steel framing, although some are made of wood. Steel is extremely strong, less expensive than wood, and requires little upkeep—it won’t rot or warp, and it’s not subject to chewing or termite damage. However, steel can be colder than wood in the winter and hotter in summer; extra insulation will remedy that condition. Exterior wall panels are usually a laminated wood-core panel encased in steel. Framing and wall panels are pre-measured and pre-cut; the owner assembles them by bolting them together. As with all kits, package components may vary. Some kits contain only the framing materials, with the owner providing the wall panels and roof. Other kits include insulated or non-insulated exterior panel walls and roofing materials. Add-on options may include exterior doors and windows, stall fronts, interior stall panels, latches, feeders, waterers, mats, footing, etc. Aesthetics also vary. While some steel free span barns look like metal warehouses due to design and type of exterior wall panels used, some manufacturers offer designs that look like a traditional wood barn.


Although manufacturers may advertise that a steel free span barn is easy to assemble, this type of barn usually requires a minimum of four people plus equipment for lifting materials; once the trusses are assembled, they are heavy and awkward to handle. Horse owners should plan into their budget the cost of equipment rental or the hiring of someone to handle the lifting of the trusses. Modular. Modular barns consist of steel framing erected in module formation, much like a series of boxes, in which several may be linked together to provide the size barn one desires. Panels, often a steel laminate over a plywood core, are bolted onto the framework to form the walls. Depending upon the company, modular barn packages may also include steel siding, roofs, interior walls, hardware, exterior doors, windows, stall doors, etc. “In my experience, modular barns are handy packages, sort of the ‘Lego’ kit of barn building, since you can add and subtract sections comparatively easily,” says Ambrosiano. “They’re fast to set up, so if you have a site in place, you can erect a pretty functional barn in place in a matter of a few days.” The two-person project can be handled by the novice and requires no special tools. Modular barns offer the same advantages and disadvantages as any steel building: They are strong, maintenance free, cheaper than

wood, but have less insulating values. In addition, a damaged wall component can be easily removed and replaced with a new one or taken out in order to create an enlarged space for foaling stalls, recovery areas, etc.


Stall packages are usually made of steel and are available in three styles: A full assembly kit, component stall, and panel stall. In most circumstances, the package includes materials for the front and one side. The horse owner is expected to construct the first stall in the corner of the barn where the side and back of the barn serve as two walls. As the owner adds stalls down the length of the barn, it’s a front/side, front/side configuration. “A kit-style stall comes with 30 pieces of bar and framing material,” says Eric Swanson, vicepresident of National Horse Stalls. “It’s basically a hardware kit that is built bar by bar. Kit stalls are usually inexpensive but are pretty labor intensive. We offer the other types, which are component style and panel style.” The component style of stall can only be used in a post and beam style barn, as it relies on the barn’s interior support columns to support the

stall. “The component format that we offer,” Swanson says, “includes a pre-welded set of bars that goes on top of a four-foot partition, sliding doors, tracks, guides, and hardware. Most companies only include the steel work: The lumber used under the bars is typically supplied by the barn owner, which is usually more cost effective to acquire locally.” Other manufacturers may include different options. A component stall is best installed by someone comfortable with a circular saw and possessing a bit of measuring, layout, and woodworking experience, Swanson states. “You have to be careful how you measure the

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header,” he says. “If you start out wrong, it continues wrong all the way through. It’s also fairly heavy material, too. An 8' section of bars weight 80 pounds. Not everyone has the strength to hold up an 80 pound piece of steel while they are installing a piece of 2'' x 6'' underneath it.” The panel format can be installed in any kind of barn and may also be easily dissembled and moved. Consisting of four pre-drilled panels, the owner merely has to bolt them together to form the stall. It’s a particularly easy, two-person project, Swanson says; no measuring or special tools are needed. “Panel systems cost more because you’re buying a full panel stall where we’ve done the extra fabrication work,” notes Swanson, “but from an installation aspect, it’s the simpler way to go.”

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Good Barnkeeping


H orse me n’ s Y a nkee P edlar • 2011 BARN & ARENA GUIDE


Farm Maintenance Tips For Every Season By Jeannie Blancq Putney

ll horse owners wish they had more time with their horses. For those who keep horses at home it is always a struggle to keep up with regular farm and barn maintenance and have enough time left to enjoy the horses. Performing proper building maintenance at regular intervals can save money and make the structure safer, and it can leave you more time to spend with your equines. Many tasks can be accomplished on an as-needed basis, leaving some simple safety checks and maintenance for each season. Whether your farm includes a barn, sheds, or outbuildings, planning ahead is the first step. “Maintenance for your facility actually should begin when planning,” says Mary Harcourt, co-author of Complete Plans for Building Horse Barns Big and Small. “Laying out the facility to make maintenance easy and affordable helps enormously,” she says. “Likewise, construction of buildings and materials used can make maintenance easier.” She says thoughtful planning allows for more time spent with your animals and less at the end of a pitchfork. Linda Weatherbee of Circle B Barn Co. in Massachusetts agrees that many maintenance issues can be prevented in the planning process. “Our goal is functionality and buildings that are as maintenance free as possible,” she says. “We want buildings that breathe. A barn that is really weather tight is great for people, but not so much for horses. They need constantly changing air because of their sensitive respiratory systems.” Architects have spent years trying to design the perfect barn, one that will allow a horse to be a horse and allow owners quality time with their animals. John Blackburn, president and senior principal of Blackburn Architects in Washington, D.C., focuses on quality designs that are healthy and safe for horses and decrease operational and maintenance costs. “Poorly designed and improperly placed buildings may cost you more money in the end,” he says. According to Blackburn, constructing barns and service buildings on higher ground is one of the first steps towards an economical, efficient structure. He also emphasizes the importance of natural lighting: “It’s free, so let’s use it. If we can design a barn that is lit naturally all day long and ventilates naturally, we’re 99% there.” Barn design and placement can help reduce monthly maintenance, but what about preexisting structures? “If you have a barn you inherited, learn where your problem areas are and be prepared to address them,” says Harcourt. “That’ll eliminate a lot of maintenance.” One of the easiest ways to build a maintenance plan for your farm buildings is by season. The extremes of each season obviously vary depending on geography, but the following list is a good starting point. 2011 BARN & ARENA GUIDE • P EDLAR.COM




Be sure to replace storm windows with screens in the spring.

It is also a good time to focus on maintaining the outside of the barn, such as replacing storm windows with screen windows, or treating the structure with some sort of stain, which is the best way to preserve the integrity of the wood. “Direct sunlight is the worst thing for any wood-sided building, so prevention is key,” Weatherbee notes.


jeannie blancq Putney

Anna Sharp owns a private farm in South Carolina. She says spring is when she checks her automatic fly spray systems. “They are very lowmaintenance,” she says. “I check the water level once a month. You can press a button to force them to come on to ensure they are working and there are no clogs.” Sharp says power washing her farm buildings is an important preventative measure against mold. She also checks the tack room’s HVAC (heating and air conditioning) unit in preparation for hot weather. Having and checking a generator is one spring necessity, according to Harcourt. “You should have your barn adapted to be generator compatible [because of snow in New England],” she says. “I have my well on my barn electric system so even in a loss of electricity, I can have water for my horses and for my house. I can live with a flashlight and candles, but not without water.” Therefore, she recommends checking water systems before extreme weather, such as when pipes might freeze. Harcourt says that termites can be a problem and says she termite-proofed her barn when it was built and has it treated every five years. She finds it to be a great investment, especially since her barn is attached to her carport, which is attached to her house. Spring is the best time to inspect your

roof, according to Larry Swetnam, a retired University of Kentucky agricultural engineer. “Roofs should be checked periodically and following any high wind occurrence,” he says. “A visual inspection should identify any loose shingles, tin, metal, or other roof components which could be repaired before they become major issues.”

H orse me n’ s Y a nkee P edlar • 2011 BARN & ARENA GUIDE

In many areas, summer means it’s time to break out the box fans, as horses spend more time in stalls to beat the heat. Ideally, the fans have been cleaned before they were stored, but a cursory check is a good idea. Sharp inspects all fan cords to ensure there are no exposed wires. Because she doesn’t have automatic waterers, Erin Novelli, who owns a Kentucky layup and broodmare farm, provides each horse with an extra hanging bucket in the summer—three total in each stall for mares and foals, and two for everyone else. She also makes sure stall salt block holders are full and secured tightly in place. Novelli recommends keeping an eye out for hornet nests, which seem to show up near shavings sheds, and birds’ nests, which she often finds in her barn’s cupola. Roxana Reed has owned commercial and






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very destructive to wooden buildings,” he says.

photos jeannie blancq Putney


Wipe down fans before setting them up in the summer to ensure barn safety. Gutters should private barns in New Hampshire, Maine, and be cleaned out Kentucky, and she currently breeds show horses before a drop and Arabians at a farm in Shelby County, in temperature Kentucky. Reed says two of her most important occurs.

daily summer tasks are picking out run-in sheds and watering aisles. “It is important to water aisles or anything, away from the base of your barn. As regularly if horses are in, especially if you have an pretty as mulch can be, make sure not to mulch up indoor arena connected to your bam,” Reed says. next to the barn.” You could attract insects, cause wood rot, or create a fire hazard as a result. Keeping the dust down keeps horses healthier. Swetnam concurs, adding that controlling Most barn owners weed-eat their fence-lines and around other structures throughout the water and moisture that could affect your farm structures is key. “Vines, although attractive, summer. “I do it at least every two in the10:04 OneRoof_7.87x4.72:Layout 1 weeks 5/5/10 AM Page 1 summer,” says Sharp. “You’ve got to keep the grass, may hold moisture, which can prove to be

Fall leaves can make for a picturesque setting, but you need to rake them away from farm structures, especially going into winter. According to Novelli, accumulated leaves beside the barn are the perfect invitation for bugs, whether you have a wood-sided barn or not. Cleaning out gutters before freezing temperatures set in is also a must for Novelli, who recommends thoroughly washing dead bugs and dirt from screens and fans before storing them for the winter. Novelli says fall is her preferred time to check all light bulbs. “It’s a heck of a lot easier to climb up on a ladder in the fall than once it gets cold,” she says. Both Novelli and Sharp wrap all exposed pipes each fall as a precaution. There are two common products used to insulate pipes; one resembles tape and the other foam. This can also serve as a reminder that hoses should be unhooked from spigots before freezing temperatures set in. Checking for and repairing places where rodents can enter the barn is another important

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part of winter preparation. Swetnam says once you find the openings where rodents are getting in, use mesh wire, aerosol insulation, steel wool, or one of many other materials to close and secure the problem areas.

Insulated buckets and bucket heaters must be washed out before being used for winter.


jeannie blancq Putney

Many New England farm owners use insulated buckets or bucket heaters. Novelli recommends cleaning them before they are stored so all that’s left to do is hang them up come winter. Those with automatic waterers should check the heating element before temperatures dip below freezing. Some maintenance tricks are learned the hard way in winter, says Novelli, such as digging around barn doors so they don’t freeze in their tracks. She also oils the top track of sliding doors. In the winter you should also make sure the ground is even where horses walk. “I rake the gravel in front of the barn to ensure the area is level so there won’t be puddles that collect and freeze,” Novelli says. Because her first foals are born in January, Novelli spends much of the winter busily preparing for their arrival. This includes disinfecting buckets and stalls and checking foaling cameras before mares arrive.

General Upkeep

Most of the maintenance around the farm should be done on a daily basis. In fact, the problems tend to be minimized when you keep on top of them, says Novelli. Keeping aisles clean is a must for her because clutter can be a safety hazard. “Don’t let trash pile up (in receptacles) in your barn,” says Novelli. “If you have a constant problem with trash, get a dumpster. You’re just asking for bugs and mice and for a horse to get hurt.”

Flushing wash stall drains is easily forgotten. Cleaning up after your horse helps, but often you’ll still need to have the drains snaked to eliminate clogs. According to Novelli, cobwebs and dust accumulate all year-round. “It is a pain in the neck, but if anyone has ever seen a horse that has been bitten by a poisonous spider, they’ll understand,” she says. Swetnam recommends not putting floodlights or spotlights near hay storage, because dust, cobwebs, and hay are incredibly flammable. “Incandescent or fluorescent lights are a much better choice,” he says. In general, when maintaining your farm structures, Swetnam says, “Think like the building.” When you see stall walls covered with sweet feed from a messy eater, clean them up. When a stall door is tough to open or makes a lot of noise, oil it. Always be aware of how barn upkeep could affect your horse’s health. Check smoke detectors and batteries as well as fire extinguishers every time there is an extreme change in weather. If you have to clean manure or urine off of a surface where there is little to soak it up, apply some hydrated agricultural lime. And make sure the ground underneath stall mats is level. Maintenance is a normal part of horse farm ownership, but Harcourt says if it is practiced regularly it will promote safety and preserve farm structures.



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s constant clutter taking over your tack room? If you’re having problems coping with too much tack in a small space, fear no more. We’ve spoken to some experts in the industry, as well barn owners, riding instructors, and managers to find the most effective solutions for a disorganized tack room. By following these useful guidelines, your storage area will soon be looking like new.

Make the Most of Your Space

One of the most common problems when it comes to tack rooms is that there never seems to be enough space. Whether there are piles of saddle pads growing in the corner waiting to be washed, or not enough saddle racks, here are a few solutions for even the smallest barns. The first question to ask is, can you organize everything efficiently, or do you need (and can you afford) to build another tack room in your barn? 26

When Mike Armour of Bright Valley Farms in Spring Valley, California, found that he didn’t have enough space to contain his own tack along with that of his boarders and riding students, he decided it was time to expand his storage space. Instead of adding on to his farm, he created additional tack rooms out of stalls that weren’t being used. “I had a 32-stall barn and a 12-stall barn that I decided to set up for my customers’ tack,” says Armour. He converted stalls from his 12-stall barn into six tack rooms for his personal use and the riding school. He also provides individual tack rooms to boarders at the farm, and allows them to set up their tack rooms whichever way they like. “The individual tack rooms seem to help boarders relax. It’s like their home away from home,” he says. While there may not be enough empty stalls to convert into individual tack rooms for each boarder at your facility, even converting one stall into a tack room for boarders can relieve the pressure.


If you’re lucky enough to have a full stable, but are still seeking more space, perhaps you have an open area available in your barn where you can install tack lockers. With a variety of different tack lockers available, you should be able to find something that can fit both your budget and the available space at your barn. Some companies specialize in individual tack lockers that can be shipped to your barn in a plethora of colors. Others will come to your facility and build personalized lockers to meet your space needs. If planning to build your own lockers, consult a knowledgeable specialist about tack and equipment to ensure that your lockers provide optimum space.

Time to De-Clutter

If you don’t have a lot of space or the money to convert a stall into a tack room, there are some additional options for making the most of what little space you have. Whitney Shapiro of Capstone Training works out of two continued on page 28

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facilities—Charlottewood Equestrian Center in Woodinville, Washington, and Liberty Bell Farms in Snohomish, Washington. Although Charlottewood Equestrian Center offers individual tack lockers to its boarders, Liberty Bell Farms doesn’t. Shapiro makes the most of her space by de-cluttering and consolidating the items in her tack room as much as possible. “Because my tack room isn’t huge, we share a lot of products,” she says. “We have community fly sprays, which helps cut down on the clutter. We also keep items that we aren’t using in a Tupperware container or tack trunk. There’s an upstairs office space where we have clients put their winter things in the summer and summer items in the winter.” Aimee Boyer of Harmony Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, also likes to keep clutter out of sight. “My rule of thumb is that everyone’s extra tack and supplies stay inside a trunk. There are allocated bridle, saddle, saddle pad, and helmet racks, but other than that we try to keep everything in tack trunks.” If your tack room is lacking in space, it is important to set some rules for your clients to follow. Requiring boarders to leave their unused tack items at home will give you space for more important items. “I’ll let my riding students keep their boots and helmets in the tack room,” says Jineen Walker of Loland Oaks Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts. “But we don’t let them leave their clothes here, because I would probably be stuck with a pile of dirty clothes.”

The Power of Products

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of picking trash up and putting things back where you find them,” says Shapiro. “I also urge people to have their saddle pads and other dirty laundry washed.” If you do choose to allow your students or boarders to keep riding clothes at the barn, why not consider hiring a professional laundry service to clean clothing items? Shapiro uses a laundry service to clean saddle pads and other dirty items that pile up in her tack room, and bills clients that want to be included in the service. If you’re afraid that such a service will be too expensive, and you have the space, consider purchasing a new or used washer and dryer and offer laundry services to clients. The start up cost may seem expensive, but clean saddle pads and show clothing at the barn may lead to happier customers, and a bigger payoff in the long run.


Whether you’ve already started consolidating items in your tack room or are just getting started, there are many products, from saddle racks to stackable shelves, that can help you better utilize your space. “You need to make sure things are organized and neat,” says Melissa Hamlet, Vice President of purchasing for SmartPak Equine. “Once you have someone who is messy, it doesn’t matter what your fixtures are.” Encourage your clients to keep their tack items tidy while you attempt to better outfit your space, Hamlet says. Use customizable signs to label different areas of the tack room and help keep everything better organized. The variety of saddle and bridle racks ranges from economical and simple fixtures to more expensive, aesthetically pleasing brass saddle and bridle racks. But there are many tasteful products available if you’re on a budget. Some of the more expensive items are brass, but less expensive items come in a variety of colors, including red, black, green, and blue. There are also rotating saddle racks and freestanding saddle rack trees that are helpful in smaller areas. If you don’t have the money to purchase saddle racks, there is always the option of constructing your own. “We built all of our saddle racks here,” says Jineen Walker, who was looking for a more economical route when building her farm. “It’s standard stuff, but we did stack up multiple saddle racks on a wall above one another. Most of our barn equipment is handmade and very traditional, and by constructing the equipment ourselves, it helped us economically and is aesthetically pleasing.”

Some other less conventional and inexpensive items you may find useful include portable or collapsible laundry bags, plastic stackable shelves, and portable storage drawers. These can help you organize and maintain any saddle pads, blankets, and miscellaneous tack items that may be causing clutter.

Organizational Ideas

Beyond the fixtures and other storage products, one of the most important steps is ensuring that everyone’s tack is assigned to a specific area and kept organized. Education is key. “Some of the most common problems I’ve encountered stem from students not knowing what saddle goes to which horse, or where to put it back,” says Walker. “I think one of the reasons why clients are usually sloppy is because they don’t know where things go.” At Loland Oaks Farm, Walker makes riders familiar with these details when they first start riding with her. It’s a good idea to assign a certain area for the lesson program’s tack that’s separate from the boarders’ tack. Placing signs throughout the tack room can cut down on confusion. By using signs with a horse or horse owner’s

name next to their assigned saddle racks and bridle hooks, riding students will easily identify where each horse’s items should go. Walker suggests color coding tack to a certain horse if you don’t have the space for signs. You can also use numbers to organize tack. Bright Valley Farms owns 68 horses used for lesson programs and guided trail rides. With so many horses at his farm, Mike Armour uses a numbering system to ensure horses’ tack doesn’t get mixed up. “We keep all bridles and saddles together, because they’re each individually sized to the horse,” says Armour. “There is a big list outside each tack room with all the horses’ names, and each horse is assigned a number, which is marked on their saddle and bridle. Everything at our farm is in numerical order.” Deciding on a set amount of space to store your tack, de-cluttering, and creating an organized system within your storage area— these are the initial steps to take to give your tack room a face lift. With the new year just beginning, there is no time like the present to give your tack room a makeover.







This article was originally published in the July 2010 issue of Stable Management.

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Horse Friendly

Landscaping The Do’s and Don’ts of grooming your farm By Annie Maxwell


hen it comes to caring for your horses, it stands to reason that only the best will do. As a result of your hard work cleaning the barn, maintaining the truck and trailer, and grooming the horses, though, other areas of the farm can be easily overlooked. While the immaculate and wellgroomed equestrian facilities that you read about in magazines may be out of reach for many horse owners, you can still have one that is landscaped and functional, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune in time or money. Three landscape professionals involved with horse properties weigh in on the do’s and don’ts of safe, low-maintenance landscaping for small farms.

Don’t use toxic plants

© prokop

Do—above all else—pay attention to plants and landscaping materials that may be toxic to horses and other animals on your farm. The results of using toxic materials can be disastrous.

Do your homework

Steve Welle, owner of Cornerstone Landscape and Agricultural Services in Allentown, New Jersey, explains that garden centers are becoming more user 30

H orse me n’ s Y a nkee P edlar • 2011 BARN & ARENA GUIDE

The more knowledge you have going into your landscaping project, the more you will enjoy its installation and upkeep

© dulieu

Lining planters in front of the barn is an easy and inexpensive way to aesthetically enhance your property.

friendly than they were in years past. The tag on the plant outlines its mature size, care requirements, growth rate, and sun and soil type. All of these things will contribute to how high- or low-maintenance the plant will be and whether it will fit into your farm. Also, getting a soil test ahead of time will tell you what soil improvements you need to make, such as lime or fertilizer, and what plants will thrive.

Do use color and seasonal touches

Planters in front of the barn and hanging baskets throughout the barn can be easily and inexpensively filled with colorful flowers in season. In the fall, arrangements of pumpkins and straw bales are nice. “I think these things are more fun for the backyard horse person to do. It makes their space more special,” says Catherine Carnet, a landscape designer with Land Plus Associates, a landscape architectural design and land planning firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

Do use grasses as well as flowers, trees, and shrubs

“Ornamental grasses do a wonderful job in sprucing up a landscape and provide great year-round interest. Once these plants are established, they need little water and require very low maintenance. In autumn and winter, the maturing seed heads and stalks add gold, russet, and brown hues to the landscape,”

explains Kim Ennett, principle landscape architect with the residential and equestrian landscape architectural firm Sexton Ennett Design in Carleton, Michigan.

Do use consistency

“To make it interesting, plant in clusters of three so when the shrubs or plants mature, they will grow together and look like one large plant. That’s good longterm planning,” says Welle. He says people often don’t realize that as the plants grow, their landscape will merge and change, and then they have to re-design and re-install a landscape every eight or 10 years.

Do choose dwarf varieties

Welle explains that dwarf varieties of trees and shrubs tend to grow slower and mature smaller, so they require less maintenance. Dwarf varieties can be distinguished by their “compacta” variety name. Iilex compacta, for example, is the scientific name for Japanese holly.

Don’t put plants within horses’ reach

“We always recommend keeping anything, even those plants that aren’t harmful, a realistic distance away from an area where [horses are] going to spend any time,” says Welle. Ten feet is a good distance to keep plants and landscaping objects from a fence line. “If you plant a tree in a pasture for future

shade, make sure you install a fence around the tree to keep the horses away,” reminds Ennett, who also owns MarKim Farms, an Oldenburg breeding facility.

Don’t forget: plants grow

When choosing the location for your plants, consider their mature size. Is the tree you plant here today going to be growing into your barn aisle in five years? Check the plant’s tag before you put it in the ground.

Don’t limit your landscaping to plants

“Consider making the mounting block part of the landscape and plant around it so it becomes part of the scenery and not some object that you have to keep moving out of the way,” suggests Carnet, who has been involved with horses since she was eight years old. A boulder or a set of steps are possible choices, but you can be creative.

Don’t overlook functionality

Hedges are low-maintenance additions to landscapes, and they can be useful. Hedges can provide a screen between the dumpster and the barn. They can replace the fence along one side of the arena. You can even plant them in the field to be used as cross-country jumps. Carnet points out that horses won’t eat prickly vegetation, so holly makes a great choice.

Don’t ignore water requirements

The first year after installation is generally the most labor-intensive. You have to be sure the plants are watered according to their plant type (again, read the tag) so they develop a strong root system and can thrive in their new setting.

Don’t go it alone

Seek advice from a landscape designer, your county extension agent, and even students studying landscaping and land use. The more knowledge you have going into your landscaping project, the more you will enjoy its installation and upkeep.



Business Resource Guide ADMINISTRATION

Laffey Construction 978-490-0873 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Linear Rubber Products 800-558-4040 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


Lester Building Systems 800-826-4439 . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Muck Truck 772-621-3951 . . . . . . . . . 25

Advanced Barn Construction, Inc. 978-521-1171 . . . 27

Merry Go Round Pens, LLC 603-726-6050 . . . . . . . . 13

Norfolk Power Equipment, Inc. 508-384-0011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Your Office 508-909-6275 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

B&D Custom Barn Builders 717.687.0292 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Barn Pros, Inc. 866-844-2276 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Blue Chip Structures 717-866-6581 . . . . . . . . . 11 Center Hill Barns 603-798-5087 . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Circle B, Inc 978-368-8400 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Classic Equine Equipment 800-444-7430 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 ClearSpan 866-643-1010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Desiato Sand & Gravel Corp. 860-429-6479 . . . . . . 25 Hess Home Improvement 860-581-0318 . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Hill View Mini Barns 207-269-2800 . . . . . . . . . 24 Horizon Structures 888-447-4337 . . . . . . . . . 15 32

Morton Buildings, Inc. 413-562-7028 . . . . . . . . . 17

Smart Carts 800-366-6026 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Fencing IGK Equestrian, LLC 877-624-2638 . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Northland Steel Buildings 401-392-1237 . . . . 29 Red River Arenas 800-343-1026 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 The Barn Yard/Great County Garages 800-628-2276 . . . . . . . 21 The Carriage Shed 800-441-6057

Springfield Fence Co., Inc. 802-866-2221 . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Wellscroft Fence System 603-827-3464 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Windriver Fence 800-269-4672 . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Financing/Banking . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Farm Equipment & Supplies Aubuchon Hardware 800-431-2712 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Comfort Stall Stable Supply Co. Inc 888-307-0855 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Equuspring 877-635-6289 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Laurentian Wood Shavings 514-386-4820 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

H orse me n’ s Y a nkee P edlar • 2011 BARN & ARENA GUIDE

Mainline Fence Company 800-248-8708 . . . . . 27

Farm Credit East 800-562-2235 . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Footing Attwood Equestrian Surfaces 888-461-7788 . . . . . . . . . . 4 Rubberecycle 888-436-6846 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Manure Removal Mitrano Removal Service, LLC 978-425-6181 . . . . . . . . . . . 15



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