from Horse Housing by Richard Klimesh and Cherry
When it comes to horsekeeping
facilities, I am very particular. Not only do I want a safe and sturdy barn that
is comfortable and healthy for my horses, but I also want the barn to run efficiently,
be easy to maintain, and have that special ambiance. That's because I spend more
time at my barn than in my house!
we settled in Colorado in 1983, my husband Richard Klimesh and I had owned and
leased horse acreages in Canada and seven states from Alaska to Arizona and from
Oregon to Illinois. During that time, we experienced quite a variety of weather
and encountered topography and soil ranging from rocky mountains to desert to
lush farmland to swampland. And we saw all kinds of horse barns?dank dungeons,
luxurious people palaces, wind tunnels, ammonia factories, sweatboxes, flimsy
ticky?tacks, chewed down and patched up shacks, and barns that rained inside when
it wasn't raining outside.We also saw a handful of barns that were just right.
We learned that there are certain things that just don't work well for horses,
whereas other layouts and materials make horsekeeping sweet.
we designed my current barn, we employed the good ideas we'd gathered over the
years. Like many of our projects, the barn started on a napkin in a restaurant.
From that, we honed the plan, inserting all of the necessary details. Then, Richard
masterfully crafted a barn that suits my particular needs perfectly.
usually have between six and eight horses (from foals to seniors) in various stages
of training and management. With no children or employees to help, the "Klim Team"
does it all. I'm responsible for the health care and training, and Richard heads
up facilities' design and maintenance. In addition to that, we both are full?time
photojournalists, book authors, and together work as a video production team.
The term "spare time" just isn't in our vocabulary. That's why we both appreciate
an efficient set up that facilitates daily chores and routine tasks.
all of my training and riding and the majority of our photo and video shoots start
at the barn, my tack room functions as command central. Not only do I store tack
and equipment there, but veterinary supplies, horse records, film, daily shot
lists, and storyboards are kept there as well. In addition, the tack room has
a section where I clean, repair, and launder horse items. The wash rack and grooming
area make up a full?service equine "beauty salon" complete with overhead infrared
heater and a central vacuum for grooming horses and blankets. There are varied
places to tie horses, which is a necessity for photo/video shoots when I need
to have a few groomed and tacked horses ready at a moment's notice.
we live, we have a full spectrum of seasonal weather?from frigid winter winds
to blazing summer sun at 7,000 feet in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies.
So we designed the barn to provide comfortable shelter from both. In the last
chapter of this book, I'll take you on a personal tour of my barn, which, I hope,
will help you come up with some ideas that will work for you.
a horse barn is a big deal. It requires considerable space and lots of labor,
money, and time.The more time you invest in the planning of your horse barn, the
less redesigning and remodeling you'll have to do.
know I'm somewhat biased because Richard is my best buddy and husband of over
25 years, but he has built me some great horse facilities and has practical ideas
and suggestions for horse housing.That's why I'm so glad that he is sharing his
knowledge and our collective horsekeeping experience with you.
Housing is a tremendous resource whether you are planning a new barn, remodeling
existing buildings, or are in the process of purchasing real estate with horse
facilities. You'll know barns inside and out after reading this book.
you research and plan, let those gray cells work as you design your own dream
barn to fit your horse needs, your locale, and your lifestyle.
poorly designed barn can make you gnash and gnarl on a daily basis?believe me,
I've been there.
A well designed barn,
on the other hand, makes daily horse care and training flow like a peaceful Rocky
I wrote this book to horse owners but
for horses. Taking proper care of horses is a noble, humbling, and rewarding experience,
and, even with the best facilities it takes a lot of work and dedication. My goal
is to help you make your barn safe and comfortable for horses but also pleasant
and efficient for you to work in. I've corralled information, ideas, and resources
that you can use to create an affordable and attractive barn that will serve your
needs and those of your horses.
are as many different barns as there are horse owners because everyone's horsekeeping
situation is different. I saw this first hand during the seventeen years that
I was a professional farrier. Traveling throughout many areas of the United States
and Canada, I worked in barns of all shapes, sizes, and levels of comfort and
efficiency. I realized that lighting, flooring, ventilation, and traffic patterns
could affect safety, attitude, and quality of work. I also noticed how these factors
affected the health, attitude, and behavior of the horses in the barns and of
the people who cared for them.
are often built to satisfy the needs of people, not the needs of horses. Indeed,
I've seen many barns that once built are rarely inhabited by horses. Instead,
they serve as repositories for horse feed, tack, and equipment. That's okay, since
the myriad items required to care for horses have to go somewhere. And, in fact,
horses are generally healthier and, we can suppose, happier, not living inside
a barn, so long as they have adequate feed, water, and protection from wind.
there are times when a barn is essential for providing proper horse care or for
the attainment of your goals as a horse person. A stall can enable you to keep
a horse clean when he is in regular work or being shown, or to keep an old, sick,
or injured horse warm, dry, and confined. It can provide any horse with shelter
during extreme weather, such as a blizzard. Using stalls, you can closely regulate
the diets of horses by feeding them separately.
a clean, well-lit, sheltered place for you and your veterinarian and farrier to
work is essential. People do better work when they're not squinting in the dark
or battling the elements, so your horses will get better care. It would be difficult
for a vet or farrier to see abnormalities or perform work, especially on limbs,
in a dimly-lit or shadow?filled barn. These hard-working professionals appreciate
barns that have pleasant facilities and shy away from those with unsafe, unsanitary,
and dismal work spaces. Wouldn't you?
I became a farrier, I studied architecture at Iowa State University. Soon after,
I began my first career as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. During that time, I found
that there is usually more than one way to build something, and more than one
material that will serve a given purpose. Since then, I've also seen that there
are certain combinations of spaces and materials that have been proven to be safe
and comfortable for horses. When it comes to horse facilities, if a method, material,
or design works well, I suggest you think long and hard before changing it. Different
does not necessarily mean better.
book will provide information, or tell where to find it, that will help you determine
what you need in a barn, sort through the options, and make decisions that will
work best for your stable. (The words "barn" and "stable" are synonymous in this
book and are used interchangeably.)
included Helpful Building Terms in Appendix 1 to help you better understand the
processes and materials used in barn construction. A working vocabulary of construction
terminology will help you communicate more knowledgeably and efficiently with
barn designers and contractors in order to get the barn you want.
In Appendix 3, Resource Guide, you will find a list of web sites containing information
applicable to barn design and construction, as well as contact information for
manufacturers of materials and products mentioned in book. The World Wide Web
forums and newsgroups listed there can be a useful source of answers, options,
and opinions if you run into problems or have questions at any stage of your barn
In Chapter 7 you will find
sample plans for barns designed for one to six horses. All the plans can be modified
to accommodate more horses. The design and building principles that keep horses
safe and make daily horsekeeping efficient apply to barns of all sizes. If you
plan a large facility and need to hire an architect, you will also find a selection
of architects and builders in the Resource Guide.
found that a seminar clinic, magazine, or book is often worth its entire cost
if I discover just one snippet of information that makes horsekeeping safer, easier,
or more economical. I hope this book repays you many times over.