Steel Horse Barns
Safe & secure accommodation for your horses without the maintenance associated with a wooden barn
The advent of pre-engineered steel barns has effectively transformed the horse barn market. Cindy Hale, author with HorseChannel.com, notes that we have seen a monumental shift from days when “owners had few choices when constructing a home for their horses.” The original pole-barn constructions, she writes, “were sturdy for a while, but quickly became quaint and rickety,” in spite of being many months in their making and construction. For Hale, today’s steel barns are a revelation: “With advances in pre-engineered modular buildings, creativity in design and horse-friendly materials, today’s horse owners can now have the barn of their dreams in just a couple of stress-free days.” 1
“Quaint and rickety” wooden pole barns may sound like an overstatement, but anyone with experience with old wooden barns will be familiar with the multiplicity of threats posed to the wood by moisture, mold, rot, pest infestation, horse cribbing, etc. By contrast, all of these issues pose no threat to steel building components. This is why manufacturers don’t hesitate to provide generous warranties on pre-engineered metal horse barns of up-to 40 years.
By choosing a steel horse barn, you are also placing the safety of your animals first. Steel frames will withstand extreme winds and other destructive weather conditions. This factor, along with steel’s fireproof nature, mean that you can rest easier knowing your horses are protected, and the potentially major insurance savings for going with steel are an added side benefit that confirms this. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies notes that regardless of the building material employed, you will still want to take precautions against fire dangers within your barn and that the period of “initial building construction is the most economical time to install sprinkler and alarm systems.”2 They also suggest to “use firewalls to divide blocks of stalls, extending to 1m above the ridgeline.”2
Horse and Rider is an excellent magazine to explore when in the planning stages for your barn. Some articles chronicle the building of new barns using a combination of both ‘pre-engineered’ and custom, home or specialty-built components. The article, ‘First Barn’ describes one such structure: “The barn is actually a modular building with custom features, such as the porch and combination tack/feed room. Because the modules come in standard sizes, others can be added later if additional features, such as more stalls, a washroom, or an office, are wanted.”3 Ease of expansion is another major sell point for pre-engineered barns, as one saves the expenses of having to move their horses out during renovations. Be sure to let your manufacturer know as early as possible if you are going to want to expand later. For more useful planning information, be sure to check out our sample floor plans and our feature on horse barn design.
Pre-engineered steel barns cost less, erect faster, are warrantied to last longer, and place the safety of your horses first. They are more flexible and less costly to expand. And they are highly customizable, so after you give the designer a basic idea of the size and scope of the project, you can get down to artfully creating a beautiful, healthy, safe, and happy environment that you and your horses will enjoy for many years to come!
Horse owners know that kicks can result in animal injury. When a horse kicks through wood, there is the potential for serious splinters. When animals kick a wall of brick or masonry they can break a leg. Steel panels, however, are strong enough not to break; and flexible enough to provide some give, rather than causing a break. Animals also cannot chew through steel; therefore providing a safer environment with less maintenance.