I am facing the challenge of renovating
an older shed that has been used for housing calves up to 2 years old for the
past... well, forever. I currently am using half of the shed as a run-in for my
horses for shelter, the other half still had calves in it until just recently.
I'm wondering basically where to start & what steps to take to turn this shed
(I cannot build new due to space limitations currently) into a safe horse barn.
It has three large sliding doors, a few windows
that have been make-shifted to drop down or be tied up with twine string, there
are cow feeders in there, some of the cement is uneven & some is cracked.
There is a hydrant in the shed (however it froze last winter so I'd have to fix
it to make it usable again). I'm basically looking for a few stalls, a tack space
and a few tie areas however I'm willing to tie in their stalls... I have your
books but am still looking for a little bit more. Thank you for any advice you've
got for me!
My husband, Richard, will take this one.
Since I'm not able to see your shed and
don't have any details about it, I won't be able to give you suggestions specific
to your situation. But, here are a few general considerations to consider when
remodeling a shed to be used for a horse barn.
Ceiling height. Eleven feet is considered the safe minimum ceiling height for
horses to prevent them from hitting their heads and to put the rafters out of
chewing reach. Most sheds slope to a low wall at the back. In that case, you could
wall off the back portion of the shed for hay or tack storage and use the portion
that has more head room for stalls.
2. Walls. Any
shed used for horses needs a good solid "kick wall" on the inside anywhere
a horse can contact the wall. A kick wall should be at least 4 feet high and made
of strong material such as full thickness 2" lumber or double thickness plywood
or OSB (oriented strand board). This prevents a horse from knocking the siding
of the shed off from the inside. See the video below.
Chewing. A kick wall or other covering will prevent a horse from chewing on the
wall studs and other framework. Any exposed framing should be covered with 16
gauge metal or treated regularly with an anti chew product to prevent horses from
chewing on it.
Concrete is OK for aisles, tack room and other rooms, but not for stalls or run-in
areas. Start by tearing out all of the concrete where you will be keeping horses.
Consider using solid areas of existing concrete for a tack area or for storing
hay. Stalls and run-in areas could get by with road base, a mixture of sand and
gravel, for a base, but solid rubber mats over road base or gravel would be better.
Tie areas should have a solid surface of rubber mats wood or concrete covered
5. Windows. Be sure that all windows that
a horse could contact are protected on the inside by sturdy grilles or heavy steel
mesh so that the widows won't be damaged or horse injured. You might consider
removing existing windows and installing translucent fiberglass panels high along
the walls for light.
6. Ventilation. If the stall
area is going to be completely enclosed you should provide ventilation to replace
stale air with fresh air. Perhaps the simplest way to do this in an uninsulated
barn is by installing a ridge vent along all or part of the peak of the roof.
Another option is to put several turbine vents in the roof.
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