Barn Building 101 | By: American Stalls | Date on: 01/14/2021

Do you have extra stalls in your barn?

Are you thinking of building a new barn?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, you might consider starting a boarding barn business. 

As horse people, we know that it is not very difficult to lose money with horses. This reality is even more true in a commercial boarding barn businesses. A commercial boarding barn comes with many challenges – including financial and operational challenges. 

As you consider starting your boarding barn, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your business is set up for success. Equestrians often think of the below ways to increase profitability:

  1. Offer more training options
  2. Offer sales horses 
  3. Expand any existing barns 
  4. Raise the training and boarding fees 

The above options are great ways to tweak the nuts and bolts of a business. However, one of the most overlooked options is the facility’s overall design. 

At the end of the day, we understand that a commercial barn must make a profit (or not lose money). This focus on profitability means that a commercial barn comes with a host of challenges – including:

  1. How to make the barn efficient?
  2. How to make the barn look elegant?
  3. How to minimize overall maintenance?

One can achieve all of the above by focusing on facility’s design. To clarify, a facility’s design includes the flow of operations, overall function, and the product selection used at the farm.

Working on the barn design is equal to “working on your business, not working in your business.” 

In a commercial boarding barn, there are so many things to do inside the barn that barn managers are often left with little time to actually work on the horses. 

This is why thoughtful barn design even more necessary. A mindfully designed barn helps both barn managers and the owners do their jobs. 

As you plan for efficiency, we encourage you to consider the below things as you decide on design and choose barn products:

  1. Location of the Barn – What is the geography, topography, and overall location of your barn? If you consider these elements, you can often use the gift of Mother Nature in promoting natural sunlight and airflow. These elements help with biosecurity hazards, the cleanliness of your barn, and the overall health of your barn. The best thing is Mother Nature helps achieve the above at no additional cost.  
  2. Transportation & Foot Traffic – How will your indoor arena flow into your barn? How will barn’s outdoor access (i.e. barn doors) flow to your stalls? What accessories are protruding and restricting flow in your aisle (i.e. blanket bars, tie posts, etc)? What doors are installed to help your horse go from their stall to their turnout to their paddock to the pastures? Is there a seamless progression? What is the distance between each space? How can you minimize the amount of travel time from each section?
  3. Flexibility – Many boarding barns house a wide variety of horses. The variety includes differences in breeds, temperaments, and everything in-between. Each horse also comes with unique set of needs. That is why you must balance efficiency with flexibility when planning a boarding barn.
  4. Upgrades on Stall Equipment – Although certain upgrades may be costly upfront, they are invaluable down the road. Have you thought about integrated feed options and water options for your new and existing stall systems? A grilled feed door, automatic watering system, and other options can help cut down on valuable time spent in the barn.
  5. Barn Flooring and Stall Floorings – Have you chose products that minimize clean up? Products such as StableComfort mattresses minimize the amount of required bedding. This means less time preparing a stall and cleaning.
  6. Finishes & Materials of Farm Equipment – Have you thought about the steel finishes and wood species for your barn doors and horse stalls? Certain finishes and wood species are better suited to thrive in particular clients. The wrong finish or material can lead to higher replacement costs down the road. Have you thought about the differences in fencing (I.e. HDPE vs wood vs steel vs vinyl fencing)? Conscious product selection will mean less headaches and time wasted down the road.  

The above factors are just five out of dozens of things to consider. As you look to build your new commercial barn business (or optimize your existing business), we encourage you to think about your most valued expenses – time and energy. At the end of the day, wasted time and energy are resources that you could otherwise invest towards your horses, students, and promoting the growth of your business. 

Do you have more questions? Feel free to give our team a call at (855) 957-8255 or email us at

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