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Molly Gasiewicz

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The View from Barbados Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. This week’s view definitely made me envious and miss my coastal roots. Enjoy. 

From Maureen Williams:

A lovely 2 1/2 hour hack on the beaches of the Barbados near Holetown, St. James Parrish, just last week.  I had a “most excellent adventure” on my lovely chestnut OTTB.  This was certainly an experience for the bucket list!

The View from Costa Rica: Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. This week’s view takes”going south for the winter” to the extreme. 

 

“The view from my horse last week…. Costa Rica made a nice change from the Chicago winter :)”

Kick on,
Toby Sachs

 

The View from the Gate: Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title.

I have to do a special introduction for this week’s view. When I mention in the first graph sending me a view from a hack (which I personally think of hacks as a relaxing journey through the woods) it just goes to show that everyone has a different idea of what “hack” means. I guess you could compare it to a runner. There are some who like to go for a fast-paced walk, there are joggers, and then there are hard-core runners. I would compare this view as the hard-core hacker of the view series. Enjoy.

From Lauren Nethery:

Kids, don’t try this at home. Schooling Johanna Hunt’s 3 yo filly, Rosie, in the starting gate.

The View from South Africa Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. Today’s view comes to us from B. Chidsey.

I am an avid fan of Eventing Nation. The site keeps me inspired despite not having a horse of my own right now (grad school + first big kid job = not much time for ponies). After seeing the “winter” shots from sunny California, I figured I would send along “winter” shots of yet another kind. I was fortunate to be able to do a short study abroad trip through my university to South Africa this summer. Though friends of one of my dad’s customers, I was able to do a ride through the tidal pools of the southern Atlantic Ocean in Nordhoek, along the southwestern shore just south of Cape Town. Horse people’s generosity never ceases to amaze me. We had a great time, and it was the perfect way to wrap up my trip, as I hopped on a plane shortly after dismounting and getting everything packed. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

The View from California: Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. Today’s view represents a different kind of winter day (last week’s was snowing) in California.

From Jessa Hills:

Out for a cruise around Galway Downs, Temecula, Ca on Da Luna. Gearing up for the first HT of the year!

My Dream Barn Part 2: Presented by MDBarnmaster

This is a series where in a perfect world, I can design my perfect barn.  I’ve been able to chat with Holly Matt, noted equine facilities designer of Pegasus Design Group, and she has generously agreed to help me theoretically “build my perfect barn”, and help you all do the same in the process!

Alright. Since Holly said that step 1 is creating a wishlist, well, I went ahead and created a looooong, possibly extravagant, wishlist. I sat down and thought of every single detail I’d like to include in my dream barn. So here it is:

Example Plot Map Courtesy of Holly Matt

Barn:

– 6 14’x14′ stalls with wood Dutch doors on the exterior of the barn

– 1 large wash stall

– 2 grooming/tack/vet areas which can be combined into wash stalls

– grooming/vet supply storage center in the “island” between grooming stalls

– I’d like a drainage system in the center if possible (no one likes their barn to look like Louisiana swamps...)

– heat lamps over both wash stalls

– 1 large feed room area

– 1 small hay storage area

– office/lounge with a full bath/shower area (hello! I’m a working woman – and I treat the barn like the gym. If I hit the barn before work, no perfume can cover up the smell of manure… just not possible…)

– observation of outdoor arena

– kitchen area (full size fridge, sink, microwave, cabinets) with possibly a bar area/island rather than table/chairs (because we’re eventers, and we all know eventers throw GREAT parties)

– living area with sofa/chairs/table etc.

– tack room near tack/grooming area with lounge: 6 saddle racks, 10 bridle hooks, bandage/wrap storage, tack cleaning station, saddle pad rack, storage closet for off-season blankets, blanket hooks/bars (best method for drying?)

– large stone patio/courtyard off of lounge area between barn and outdoor arena

– finished/insulated ceiling in barn

– fans in stalls/aisles (have you lived in Tennessee in the summer when it’s humid?? Not fun without fans…)

– great looking, safe light fixtures

– automatic waters in stalls and pastures

– Stone building with stained timbers. Roof material? Architectural shingles/metal? Flooring? Rubber tiles in aisle? Ceramic In lounge? Tack room? Wash area? Stalls? Mahogany windows on back of barn (lounge area). Good air quality/circulation, and as dust-free as possible.

Outdoor Arena: 

– 250’ x 150’ (? Is this a good size?). Boards around (to capture riderless ponies!). Mirrors at one short end. Lights??

– Lit path (ground level lighting) around outdoor to indoor (trust me, this helps when you can’t get to the barn till 6 p.m. after work…)

– Galloping path

Indoor Arena

-with lighting/mirrors (who doesn’t like to check themselves out when they ride?)

– watering system for arenas?

– indoor/outdoor sound system (yeah… I like to practice dressage to a little Swedish House Mafia… what?)

– Parking area (not huge)

-manure compost area

– turn out design- what is ideal size for one horse paddock? Two horse paddock? I don’t want to see dirt in my turnout areas – so I want them to be big enough to keep grass!

– Fire safety (sprinklers?)

So now I’ll send this possibly overzealous plan to Holly, and see if she can turn my dreams into reality (which I really hope she can!) and we can start talking various options and price points. So stay tuned EN! Hopefully I’ve already provided you some great ideas/concepts to think about if you’re in the process of designing your perfect barn!

Go design and go eventing.

The View from Idaho Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. Today’s view represents a beautiful winter day aboard one’s four-legged friend in Idaho. 

From Ailsa:

This is me (Ailsa Beggs) on my horse, Sadie, on a snowy winter day in North Idaho.

Go eventing.

My Dream Barn Part 1: Presented by MDBarnmaster

Hello EN. I’ve been writing many posts recently regarding barn design and safety, and I thought to myself: what if I could design my very own barn? What would I do? What aspects would I need to consider? Then, my mind of course starts racing, I get a bit overwhelmed, and I throw my hands in the air thinking “I need help”. Plus – this is something I will plan and save for, consider buying certain property because of, and since I am a perfectionist and don’t like to do anything without planning, I’m of course going to need someone to hold my hand.

Luckily, I’ve been able to chat with Holly Matt, noted equine facilities designer of Pegasus Design Group, and she has generously agreed to help me theoretically “build my perfect barn”, and help you all do the same in the process! So here it goes – I’m going to attempt to design the perfect barn for when I have a plot of land somewhere, some day.

1) Holly, quite plainly, where do I start? I see so many beautiful barns on a daily basis (some of which I probably can’t afford…) and I have no idea what the various options are … What is the first step? Where do I begin? HELP!

Holly – First things first, you need a 1) zoning regulation review 2) plot map, or survey 3) wish list prioritized 4) size of each element 5) budget

You simply start from the ground up: we begin with the land. Take a deep breath, then walk around you property or pick up your plot map. How do you imagine your horses and their home fitting into this landscape? Are you picturing the scene populated with rows upon rows of classic gleaming shed row stables, with a lively herd of wildly roaming yearlings? A full cross-country course snaking through the property? Or a small, simple, and stunning 4-stall barn nestled into your land, so perfectly laid out that it makes getting up at 4 am to feed those 4-footed fuzz-balls just a little bit easier…. It is from these dreams that you build your wish list. A wish list is precisely what it sounds like: whatever your greatest hopes for this project are, they go on this list. In an ideal world, your property will allow for all these plans. Your local county zoning regulations will dictate, for example, the number of horses allowed given the acreage of the property. Additionally, most counties have different regulations depending on whether you are planning a private stable or intend to build a commercial boarding operation. A good realtor should be able to help ensure that the property you choose is properly zoned for your equine intentions.


However, not every realtor is well-versed in such things, and sometimes it’s in your best interest to ask for professional help to make sure the property zoning and your dreams align. An equine facilities designer (me!) is qualified to advise you on exactly such issues and restrictions. Your next step is to take the physical elements on your wish list (e.g. number of stalls, grooming spaces, tack rooms, arenas, etc), with the zoning in mind, and work out a square footage for each item. This was you can start to see the actual size (and therefore basic cost) of your intended program. By establishing the size, your budget can be reshaped as the buildings and landscape layout evolve. These items from the wish list should also be prioritized as you move forward, so that as costs and time constraints begin to incur themselves, you can ensure your most important items of the program are solidified.

2) Are some designs more expensive than others?
Holly – No – just type of construction. The expense comes we you move that design from paper to concrete, steel, and timber.
The different types of construction are where the major cost variation enters a project. This is why the design process is key, for that’s when you can thoroughly explore all your options, especially with the help of a professional. The same preminary plan can be cost out in different structural scenerios. Whether you want the clean panel look of an MDBarnmaster system, or traditional block or wood frame, you can meet your budget by adjusting the structure and finish materials.

3) Is there a “safe” barn?
Holly – Safer, depending on floor plan egress and materials.

No quotation marks needed! There are certainly safe and safer barns. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true, but many things can be done to both prevent unsafe barns and increase the security of existing structures (e.g. fire retrofit). Safety must be a key point in the planning conversation from the start, for it ties into everything from the floor plan, planning for (escape) routes and fire truck access to the property, to the choice of materials for building and outfitting. As we looked at before, MDBarnmaster buildings, and Masonry structures are inherently more likely to resist fire than other options. [For more information on this specifically please see Blog post by Holly Matt on Fire Safety]

4) Do my horses prefer a certain type of barn?
Holly – Light and airy
Light and airy all the way. Imagine, would you be happier being lead out of your lovely green and grassy field into a dark, dusty cubby, or a light, well-conditioned, safe space? Having a barn the horses themselves find comfortable is key, as they are the ones that will be, very literally, living in it. This is far from just a question of aesthetics. “Light and airy” also implies a barn with good ventilation, a key factor in keeping your horses (and your own!) respiratory systems as happy and healthy as possible.

5) OK. What is step 1? 

Holly – You’re plot design and wishlist is number one. Without these two elements, we can’t design the barn.

The View from Snowy Canada Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. Today’s view comes from a beautiful, snowy hack in Canada.
From Nicole Robertson –
This is Lincoln from Caberneigh Farm, hacking with his best dog buddy Ripley, up in the outside of Toronto, Canada:-)

The View from… a Camel? Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. Today’s view comes from the back of a four-legged friend we don’t necessarily see a lot of on EN. However, it goes to show that a true eventer will embrace any mode of transportation. 

From Ellen Broadhurst: Okay, so they were camel ears. Having ridden the furry beast across the desert to our camp for the evening, I think all eventers should be grateful that they compete equines instead of camelids.  Wadi Rum, Jordan is probably best known for its connection with the famed “Lawrence of Arabia,” who based his operations here during the 1917-18 Arab Revolt.

Details Count #11: Fire Detection Systems, Presented by MDBarnmaster

This weekly series talks about the details that matter when building or renovating a barn or equestrian facility. It’s a known fact that horses know a million ways to hurt themselves, and our best defense is to share our knowledge on how to keep our friends safe. Our colleague, noted equine facilities designer Holly Matt of Pegasus Design Group, has generously agreed to write this weekly column. Have tips you’d like to share? Send them to [email protected].

In mid-December, we started a two-part post that to reduce fire risk, you need A) building materials that reduce fire risk and B) if fire happens anyway, adequate response time via early smoke detection and fire alarm systems. Last month, we covered part A, illustrating the four primary building methods and their pros and cons (pole, fire-resistant composite modular, block, and timber).

Today, for either new or existing barns, we’re covering part B, early smoke detection and fire alarm systems. We’re still extremely in favor of stacking the deck in your favor by building with fire-resistant materials, but if you’ve already got a barn, it’s surprisingly, fantastically, streak-nekkid-at-Bromont happy-dance affordable to add a Fire Detection System. SO DO IT. Now.

NFPA 150 (a document produced by the National Fire Protection Association) states there is not a requirement for smoke detection or sprinklers in a stable. However, some counties require one or both.  As NFPA further states (to paraphrase) “as horses are captive, sedentary beings and not prone to self-preservation when domesticated in a barn setting, it’s your responsibility to get them out of harm’s way.” We know a few OTTBs that may object to being called “sedentary” but it’s true that horses are generally not skilled in self-preservation. And in terms of responsibility, that’s especially true if you’re housing client’s horses

There are two parts to a complete fire system to consider: smoke (warning), and sprinkler (suppression).

Sprinkler System Facts

  • A sprinkler system is designed to save the structure, not the animals. And they are very expensive to install and maintain (e.g. freezing etc.)
  • A typical stable has an average height of around 20-25’. Sprinkler systems are mounted at the ceiling.
  • A sprinkler system is not active, it passively waits for heat to rise to the sprinkler head, where (usually) a mercury core or a thermostat activates when the heat reaches 160°F. Note: the 160° heat MUST be at the sprinkler head or nothing will happen.
  • A sprinkler head activation is unique to the local sprinkler head only. The movies depict all heads activating at the same time and hosing everything down. If only Hollywood stories were true! Heat must be at each sprinkler head in order for all of them to activate.
  • By the time the facility is 160° twenty feet in the air, most of the facility and animals inside are gone. Animals do not typically burn to death, they die of smoke inhalation.

These facts show that in order to protect the animals in the structure, some form of early smoke detector warning must take place.

Early Warning Aspiration Smoke Detection System Facts

  • The brand name VESDA (Xtralis) has become a generic name for most air sampling applications. VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) is a laser-based smoke detector.
  • Actively “sniffs” the air for smoke before it becomes a fire, and provides two alert modes before actively reporting a fire condition. (This allows the individuals running the stable to investigate before rolling fire trucks and alarming the animals. In the early stages of smoke, there is no flaming fire, and the Particles of Combustion that the early warning aspiration detector is sensing are not even visible to the human eye.)
  • Can connect to a fire control panel that is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; or in areas where it’s not a code requirement, can stand alone and activate a cellular dialer to call up to five different cell phones, including a 24 hour monitoring facility (average cost is between 18-25 dollars a month).
  • Can help save insurance dollars.
  • Contains a built-in filter to block dust and dirt and prevent false alarms.
  • Has the detector mounted at 5’ AFF where it can be serviced. The sampling pipe that pulls the smoke from the space into the detector is mounted in the ceiling, and the test point for annual inspections is mounted at a height that is easily accessible for testing.
  • Will give everyone peace of mind, and professionals a business benefit as they can tell clients there’s a VESDA system protecting their horses.

Typically, a single detector can protect up to 25 horses (we are currently doing this at STAR – Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding – stables outside of Knoxville).

And drum roll please… one of these Early Warning Aspiration Smoke Detection System detectors can protect a stable – the building, horses, tack – for less than the cost of just one of the high end saddles it saves. They’re not foolproof, and it’s always smart to build with fire-resistant materials, but for any barn, one of these “sniffer” units that detects particles 24/7 and long before you see or smell them, is priceless.

Image © Xtralis, find out more at xtralis.com, or email [email protected] or [email protected] for equestrian-specialty applications.

The View from Africa Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. Today’s View comes to us from Africa courtesy of  Paul Swart. 

Recently, Area 7 Adult Riders Paul Swart, Elizabeth Lawrence, Julie Cayer and family / friends returned from a horse safari in Botswana’s Okavango Delta with Okavango Horse Safaris. Paul is the owner of Natural Migrations, a horse and photographic safari outfitter based in Bend, Oregon and he highly recommends partaking in a horse safari in Africa when the annual eventing season comes to an end.

Dr. David Paton, a well-known veterinarian from British Columbia also recently went on one of Paul’s horse safaris and came into close contact with a herd of elephants while riding – as the picture illustrates – riding and taking photos of animals at the same time can be quite challenging but Paul guarantees there are no judges and no faults – just a lot of fun and exhilarating riding alongside the animals of Africa!

Caption That! Winner, Presented by Omega Alpha

Happy New Year EN! This caption contest’s winner I think is more than appropriate seeing as we all recently toasted to 2013!

And the winner is…  “Bottoms Up!” – by Ashley Keller!

Our chestnut friend here toasted to the New Year by sippin’ on some RegenerEQ from Omega Alpha. If you’re Ashley Keller, please email your contact information to [email protected] to redeem your prize: a free supply of whichever Omega Alpha supplement fits your horse’s wants and needs!

Thank you everyone for playing, and however you spent your New Years, may 2013 be an amazing year for you all!

The View from Chile Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title. Today’s view comes from a hack while on holiday in Chile courtesy of Michael and Nathalie Pollard. 

While on vacation in Chile, Michael and Nathalie Pollard seemed incapable of staying out of the saddle, and we are much appreciative at EN as they sent us this beautiful view!

Caption That! Presented by Omega Alpha – Voting Round

Well… as I suspected, you EN readers seemed to have a great time coming up with a caption to fit the bill. Buuuut – only one can ultimately be named the victor. So please help us choose! Which caption should ultimately be named the winner of a free supplement from Omega Alpha???

Oh the suspense! To help you visualize, I’ve attached the photo again below.

Details Count #10: Welcome to Fantasy Farm, Presented by MDBarnmaster

This weekly series talks about the details that matter when building or renovating a barn or equestrian facility. It’s a known fact that horses know a million ways to hurt themselves, and our best defense is to share our knowledge on how to keep our friends safe. Our colleague, noted equine facilities designer Holly Matt of Pegasus Design Group, has generously agreed to write this weekly column. Have tips you’d like to share? Send them to [email protected].
As a follow up to our “Santa list for inside the barn” post a few days ago, here are outside-the-barn Fantasy Farm items we’re absolutely, positively, sure he can cram down the chimney. 

A gate designed to endure hurricane country, and to be the safest horse gate available.PegasusDesignGroup.com

 
This Lotus™ pasture shelter acts like a natural tree, except without dripping branches! Horses can position themselves away from prevailing wind-driven water, and stand in the shade as it moves around the center post. This means, like trees, you don’t get a single torn-up area of grass, the traffic is spread out to save your turf. Brilliant idea.

Caption That! Presented by Omega Alpha

Alright you brilliant and savvy EN readers, we’ve got another one for ya!

It’s simple! Look at the photo below, does it inspire you? What is he thinking? Interpret it how you like, treat it as Monet, but most importantly CAPTION IT!

What’s up for grabs? A free supply of whatever supplement you want! That’s right! Write your caption in the comments section below, and then the winner will receive a free trial of whichever Omega Alpha supplement best fits their horse’s needs.

For 20 years, Omega Alpha has specialized in natural formulations for enhancing equine heath and performance. All of the products include the finest natural ingredients available. 

The View from the Wentworth Hunt Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title.

Today’s view comes to us from New Hampshire courtesy of Sarah Isherwood

From Sarah:

My horse and I are in our 5th season of foxhunting with the Wentworth Hunt here in New Hampshire and I have been affectionately titled the “galloping photographer” for all of the photos I take of our hunts from the saddle.  (over 2000 of them this season!)  Many of which are taken at speed, one hand on the reins and the other on my little Canon!

Deck the Halls and Stalls Contest Winner Presented By SmartPak

Well my loyal EN readers and contest connoisseurs… the time has come to announce our winners for the Deck the Halls and Stalls contest Presented by SmartPak.

Our winner will be receiving a months supply of supplements valued at $75 and our runner up will be receiving a month’s supply of supplements valued at $50.

It was so much fun to see what holiday cheer you all could possibly decorate a stall with. Some of you got quite creative I must say with the use of our sponsored products… you know who you are and I like our style.

But alas, out of our top 5, there can only be two… and the winners are… (drumroll please)

Grand Prize:  Margaux McBirney

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Runner up:  Caitie Brown

 

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What’s your wish? SmartPak is not only proud to power healthy horses and happy riders, but hopes to help make their holiday wishes come true. Make sure to visit SmartPak.com today to start your wish list!

Details Count #9: Really Cool Barn Stuff We Hope Santa Brings Presented by MDBarnmaster

This weekly series talks about the details that matter when building or renovating a barn or equestrian facility. It’s a known fact that horses know a million ways to hurt themselves, and our best defense is to share our knowledge on how to keep our friends safe. Our colleague, noted equine facilities designer Holly Matt of Pegasus Design Group, has generously agreed to write this weekly column. Have tips you’d like to share? Send them to [email protected].
It’s one week to Christmas people! Does Santa have your wish list for the barn?
In my travels through the equestrian facility design universe, I’ve come across really nifty things I’d like to have in my own dream barn. Here are three items (with a few options for one of them) I particularly love, with something for everyone – trainers, boarding facility owners, and home farms.

 Lazy Susan Tack Wall, from MDBarnmaster.com. Fantastic for busy barns, just unlock, swivel 180 degrees, lock into place. No more going through narrow doorways with tack! When done for the day, swivel your stuff back into the tack room, and lock up.
Personal tack locker as part of your stall, from MDBarnmaster.com. Especially perfect for boarding operations (no trunks littering the aisle!) or for home farms where you want your stuff conveniently next to your horse.
If you prefer to have lockers in the main tack room, here are a couple beautiful options as well.
Love this one for the rodent-proof aspect. Hooray! Crosscountryjumps.uk.com

Your horse spa Solarium, for tired sore muscles. http://www.equiline.org/sundries.htm

The View from Africa Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title.

Today’s view comes to us all the from Africa courtesy of Brittany Giroux Lane.

From Brittany:
I was recently in West Africa for work and while in Benin, I was lucky to find a barn in the middle of the city of Cotonou. I had brought my helmet, half chaps, and paddock boots halfway across the world in the hopes of finding a place to ride.
At a meeting in a downtown office building, I peered out the window of the director’s office and to my surprise saw a riding arena! After work that day, I went for a run, desperate to find the barn, and luckily found an older gentleman on the street with half chaps on. I asked him for directions and picked my way through the backstreets and stumbled on the barn. I found two horse crazy expatriates who were happy to let me ride with them that weekend. I rode two tiny horses from Niger – Sultan and Black- and also snuck in a gallop and trailride on the beach with my new-found friends.
It was a tough and long work trip but horses and horse crazy new friends made it wonderful. I rode Sultan on the beach and he had quite a gallop. Maybe next time I’m there, we’ll try some fences :-D.
Thanks for letting me share!
Yours in eventing,
Brittany

Details Count #8: “Oooh… a new barn for Christmas?” Presented by MDBarnmaster

This weekly series talks about the details that matter when building or renovating a barn or equestrian facility. It’s a known fact that horses know a million ways to hurt themselves, and our best defense is to share our knowledge on how to keep our friends safe. Our colleague, noted equine facilities designer Holly Matt of Pegasus Design Group, has generously agreed to write this weekly column. Have tips you’d like to share? Send them to [email protected].
To follow up on our discussion of Fire Prevention last post, I thought it might be helpful to discuss new construction, and what it costs to have a safe home for your horses. Just in case your sweetie wants to give you a new barn for Christmas. (Hint, hint!)
First up on our list is Fire Prevention, because you only thought t’is the season of mistletoe and holiday cheer. I hate to break it to you, but it’s really the season of barn fires. Reported just last week in the Chronicle of the Horse, there were two more barn fires in KY and VA. Both fires consumed the entire facility, which is the usual outcome, but fortunately in this case, only one was fatal for the horses.(I’m fun at holiday parties! I swear! Just don’t ask me about barn safety unless you really want the answer.)
For new construction, to reduce fire risk, you need A) building materials that reduce fire risk and B) if fire happens anyway, adequate response time via early smoke detection and fire alarm systems. We’re going to talk about A today, and B later this week.
All building structure types can be a mix of materials, and all materials have a different combustibility value. Costs below include concrete, building materials, installation… all basics for a workable barn except site work, plumbing and electric, and interior finishes, which can vary greatly per your desires. These costs also do NOT include smoke and fire alarm systems, nor any add-on fire retardancy such as a paint-on product for wood.
Most AND least expensive is wood:
Timber-framed barns use large wood members that are slower to burn, with wood siding and stall walls. Overall you have a less fireproof situation, and this can be one of the more costly of the building systems, on the upper end of our range here. Pole barns (wood trusses and smaller wood post members) with wood stall systems and siding of some type (wood, vinyl, steel) are the least expensive to build, but the most expensive to maintain, and are certainly the most combustible system. These building systems will additionally require the most advanced smoke and fire systems, and fire-retardant products, which can substantially increase this range. $30-100/sq ft.
Somewhere in the middle, your best value is either block or pre-engineered steel:
Block barn: concrete blocks for walls and stalls are the most fire proof because they don’t melt, but then you have to add trusses and a roof. Your structure is only as safe as its most combustible material. Stick trusses are the least fire proof, timber next best, while a steel roof and trusses is by far the best, although it can still fail in the heat of a fire if you pack the loft full of hay (please please please don’t). Block has been the most common building scenario in the racing industry for a reason: they are more fire proof, and they last much longer than wood. Cost vary in different areas but on average you can look at $45-75/sq ft.
Pre-engineered: steel/composite panel system barns, like MDBarnmaster, have a thick steel*-sheathed wall and roof structure system for both exterior and stall walls, with a zero percent flame spread rating. As a whole they are the most fire proof of all the systems, and they are easy to maintain, so they’re growing in popularity on racetracks (and have long been wildly popular on the West Coast). They are less expensive to build than block or timber frame, and can be configured nearly however you like (RCA, courtyard barn, simple shedrow, etc). Cost for pure pre-engineered building is $40-60/sq ft.
*Don’t confuse steel-skinned or garage type buildings with what we’re talking about here. Although we’ve seen them used for horses, they don’t have nearly the ventilation, strength of materials, and other safety features horses need, and should never be considered for barn use without substantial alteration.
Basics rundown:

$ Pole barn: least expensive up front, highest maintenance costs, low longevity.
Least safety, even with after-market fire protection products.

$$ Pre-engineered: moderate cost, low maintenance, very good longevity.
Highest safety “out of the box” without additional products.
$$$ Block barn (this one shows steel truss): moderate cost, low maintenance, high longevity.
Fire safety is variable. Ranked “high” with metal trusses and roofing, moderate with wood.
$$$$ Timber framing: most expensive, moderate maintenance, high longevity.
Safety moderate, needs addition of substantial after market fire safety products.
As you can see, safety and value lies in the middle two, by a large margin! Pole barns may be the least expensive short-term, but do not offer nearly the value in longevity, maintenance, and safety for your horses. Combinations of the various systems can offer more safety and less cost, along with greater flexibility in achieving both design (for human spaces) and maximum safety (in horse areas). Your design professional can help you choose the system that works best for you and your budget.
Christmas is T-two weeks and counting! Forward this post to everyone who might be willing to stuff a barn down the chimney for you this year.

The View from the Beach Presented by World Equestrian Brands

If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place, or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] including a quick blurb about this photo’s story and write “The View” as the title.

Today’s view comes courtesy of Jennifer Donnelly on the beaches of NY.

My horse Opal on the beach in Northport NY. The name of the farm is Sandpiper Farm. It is on the North Shore of Long Island. Recently this land (300+ acres) was put  into protected agricultural land.  I used to ride and take lessons at the farm back in the 80’s when it was a riding school and it hosted a sanctioned event way back then (1985ish??) as well…  The town forced its closure back in the early 90’s citing zoning regulation violations.. Now that it has agricultural status again (2012) maybe this property can be again available  for enjoyment to equine enthusiasts.. It is currently privately owned and maintained.