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August 2001

Your Horse Barn - DVD
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
Horse Housing

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    2006 Cherry Hill


Take a Tour of My Barn
The Yearling Year - Update on Sherlock



The August and September 2001 issues of Western Horseman contain a tour of my barn starting with an overview from the outside then taking you inside to view details such as hooks, latches, and bridle hangers. You'll read about orientation, dimensions, materials, stalls, feed room, wash rack, tack room and much more. Part One (The Big Picture) contains 29 photos and Part Two (The Details) is similarly illustrated. Although a picture speaks a thousand words, I can't provide photos for you in this newsletter. But I AM going to take you on a guided tour by printing the text from Part One here in this newsletter and on my Horse Information Roundup. (BTW, If you have a copy of my book Stablekeeping, many of the photos in that book are taken of and in my barn.)

My Barn, Part One: Getting the Big Picture Right

Building a horse barn is a big deal. It requires considerable space and lots of labor and money. The more time you invest in planning your horse barn, the less redesigning and remodeling you’ll have to do. If you take the time to plan, you can design a barn to fit your horse’s needs and your locale and lifestyle.

A poorly designed barn can make you gnash and gnarl on a daily basis (believe me, I’ve been there) and can result in illness and injury to your horse; a well-designed barn can make you actually look forward to chores and will keep your horse healthy and safe.

Before we settled on our current acreage 14 years ago, my husband, Richard Klimesh, and I had owned and leased horse acreages in 7 states and Canada. During that time, we used as-is, remodeled, and built from scratch horse barns, run-in sheds, hay buildings, equipment sheds, turn-out pens, round pens, and arenas. We’ve found that certain things just don’t work well for horses while other designs make horsekeeping sweet.

When we designed my current barn, we wanted to use the good ideas we had gathered over the years and Richard took the time to carefully craft a barn to suit my particular needs. I usually have between 6-8 horses (foals to seniors) in various stages of training and management. Because we take a lot of photos and videos, I need a full service “beauty salon”, a generous tack room, and plenty of places to tie groomed and tacked horses. We do have winter weather and hot summer sun here in Colorado so the barn must provide shelter from both. Since Richard and I do all of our own chores, we need an efficient set up for the daily chimp work.

As I take you on a personal tour of my barn, I’d like to tell you what we did and why. This article covers the big issues of Location, Orientation, Size and Style, Stalls, Turnout Pens, Flooring, Aisles, Lights, Water, Wash Rack, Tack Room, Feed Room, Hay Storage, Manure Storage, Tool Room, Tie Areas, and the Porch. Next month, I’ll focus on the details and finishing touches that can make your barn super functional and classy.

This article appears on

The Yearling Year - Sherlock Update

Some of you have reminded me that I haven't given you an update on Sherlock lately. The main news is that he is growing and has been gelded. Next month, I'll talk about his gelding - perfect timing for those of you with yearlings that need to be castrated.

This month, I've posted a yearling head shot of Sherlock at

Since we've had good enough pasture growth this year, I've been able to let Sherlock be out full time since May. Every few weeks, I bring him in to one of the pens near the barn for a day or two and have a review of in-hand work, tying, and health care procedures. Sometimes it will be an immunization, a deworming, or a hoof care appointment. I also want him to regularly remember what it is to live in the confinement of a pen because we don't always have the luxury of full time pasture like we do this year.

During these short times he is in, I start by haltering him and holding the lead about 6 feet from his halter, setting him relatively square and asking him to stand. This develops patience so he doesn't expect that every time he is haltered, we immediately move off. After a few minutes, I start handling him all over, checking for any fly bites, nicks or what-have-you. I wear those gloves with the rubber bumps on the palm and fingers for this so its a sort of grooming and pleasure session for him too. The touching includes his head, forehead, poll, ears, mouth, area between the lower jaw bones, all the way down his legs, his girth area and belly up to and including his sheath, his tail, the area around his anus. All the time I expect him to stand still and if he doesn't, I reposition him and start over.

Then I review positioning exercises: head down, move hindquarters away from both sides, move forehand away from both sides, walk around me on a 10 foot line, back, halt, and again, stand still.

If necessary, I spray Sherlock with fly spray and then let him stand tied at the hitch rail for an hour or so. After that, I take him for a walk near new and different things. If he is scheduled for health or farrier care, I do these things AFTER his in-hand and tying review. In this way, I give him every opportunity to behave well for me, the farrier or the vet.

Sometimes he only needs to be in for the afternoon. Other times, usually when a storm is brewing, he needs a longer, more structured review and stays in a pen for a few days. Even though I know that whipping winds and pressure changes associated with an approaching front DO have an affect on animals (as well as humans) I try NOT to avoid doing things as usual during those times because it will make a safer horse later when out riding in a storm.

That's it for this month. Remember to take the time to enjoy your horse. After all, that's the reason most of us got into horses in the first place!

Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.

" My dear, I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses." - Mrs. Patrick Campbell 1865-1940


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