General | By: American Stalls | Date on: 08/16/2021

In today’s world, there are so many options and floor plans that it can difficult to narrow down your choices. This applies to everything related to building a new horse barn.

When you are looking to build a new barn, the first step is to choose the design. To begin, we recommend to decide between the 2 most population options: center aisle barns and shed row barns.

Both of these barn structures have their own distinct aesthetic – while providing multiple benefits to equestrians. Read on below to learn about the differences and decide which barn structure is best for your purposes.

Center Aisle Barn

A center aisle horse barn is the quintessential American barn design. It is likely that you have seen this very barn structure dominating the country side. This barn features two rows of stalls on either side of an open (centered) aisle. It can be one or two stories high. When you picture a classic American horse barn, the aisle barn is probably what comes to mind.

Center aisle barn with custom sliding stall fronts in Texas | PC: True North Show Horses

When considering a center aisle barn, advantages include:

  1. Weather Friendly – Unlike a shed row barn, a center aisle barn’s horse stalls, tack room, and other areas are fully enclosed. This means that you can enjoy your barn and work in the barn in any type of weather. Lastly, it also means that the structure works in any climate due to it’s all weather construction.
  2. Stall Capacity – A center aisle barn’s aisle layout allows you to have twice as many horse stalls. This is especially important for commercial equestrian facilities.
  3. Option to Add Amenities – Center aisle barns include layouts that allow for extra amenities in the barn interior. This means you can add extra hay storage, a tack room, wash bay areas, and even lounges.
  4. Multiple Stories – A center aisle barn design allows clients to have up to two stories. This addition can be crucial if you’d like to maximize storage in your barn.
  5. Sophistication – Center aisle barns allow for more interesting, complex barn exteriors and barn interiors. This allows clients to have flexibility to have a luxury horse barn that is built to their design goals.

The above advantages do come with their share of disadvantages. Firstly, center aisle barns require more complex designs that often increase prices. Secondly, this constructions requires more careful ventilation compared to a shed row barn. This is because the center aisle barn is built up into multiple stories.

Shed Row Barn

A Shed Row Barn is a barn that includes a row of stalls that open into an open aisleway (also referred to as a “breezeway”). This means that the row of stalls are left exposed to the outside – usually protected by an overhang (also referred to as a “lean-to”). In a shed row barn, you can find just one row of horse stalls or the stalls can also be configured in a back-to-back configuration. In general, a shed row barn tends to be smaller and have a less built-up profile than a center aisle barn.

Luxury shed row barn completed in Louisiana

For the most part, shed-row barns are most commonly found in racing and training stables. These barns are very popular in warm climates. 

When considering a shed row barn, advantages include:

  1. Ventilation – The shed row barn’s open layout allows for ample ventilation. The open design allows horse stalls to be positioned in a way that promotes airflow within the barn.
  2. Natural Light – Similar to ventilation, an open shed row design provides horses with ample natural light.
  3. Socialization – The open design allows your horses to have an open view of the environment around their horse stalls. This “view” is great younger, curious horses as well as very fit horses (who might be easily bored).
  4. Pricing – Shed row barns’ designs are fairly straightforward – both in terms of layout, permitting, and materials. This ensures that a shed row barn is often more budget friendly. This can be a great way to save on the structure, but invest heavily into interior components such as horse stalls

While a shed row barn has many advantages, it comes with two primary disadvantages. Firstly, a shed row is open to bad weather and good weather. This means that heavy rain, snow, and wind can make their way into your horse stalls. This also means that extra dirt, dust, leaves, and insects can find their way into your horses’ stalls. This can be alleviated with large overhangs, but it is still a consideration point.

Shed row barns with luxury European stall fronts

Secondly, shed row barns usually include fairly basic floor plans. This leads to barns that do not include luxury amenities such as extra tack rooms, lounges, and wash bays. That being said, one can spruce up a shed row barn’s layout by adding an L-layout or U-layout that builds a courtyard. This particular design is prevalent throughout warmer climates from southern United States to Latin America.

The decision between a center aisle barn and shed row barn is ultimately a decision that is particular to your horses, design goals, and project budget. Please feel free to reach out our team if you have any questions. Our team has experience in working with general contractors, builders, and architects across the nation. We can make recommendations based on your location.

Please kindly feel free to send us an email at or a call at (855) 957-8255. Alternatively, you can also complete a Contact Us Form.

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