Barn Design: loafing shed off side of barn

It’s not uncommon in this area to have one large barn with a lean-to or loafing shed built off the side.

From a distance, note the right roofline of the barn. This is the loafing shed area with the main area of the barn used for hay storage (or it could be for tractor, trailer or other type of farm/utility storage).

I’ve divided the loafing shed into two separate areas. One 12×12 open stall opens into a private field (where I was standing when I took this photo). The right stall, opens to a paddock that leads to another field.

A white gate (where horse is standing) allows horses to be switched from side to side or for me to go through. Gates can help maximize pastures and allow different configurations of keeping horses together or apart. Although a pain to install, gates always pay off (and the lack of gates is one of the huge design flaws I’ve consistently seen at barns).

For example, if I had two fields, but wanted to rotate the horse, I could open this gate, and close the gate that allows the horse to access Pasture #2 (this gate is under the big tree, right).

The paddock fence is made with the following:

Posts – 4x4x8 sunk in with dry mix cement into 2′ holes. The rule of thumb is that one third of the length should be in the ground.

Rails – 2x6x8 cut to fit halfway onto mid post. Pre-drill the holes then put in screws which makes it go up faster and allows removal at a later date (as opposed to nails). We selected a height that would allow us to run two rails instead of three. This saved us from buying another 8 boards.

Tip – if you are working on a slope like we were, measure rail placement from the GROUND  not with a level.

A portable fence panel separates the stalls though I may put in a solid panel with 2x10x12’s later. Right now the fence panel allows more air current and these two horses seem satisfied with this type of barrier.

The benefit of being portable is that if you wanted to enlarge the area you could do so without too much trouble.

Each stall has stall mats with additional mats in front due to rain run off making it muddy. Hopefully, the mats will prevent this in the future.

The best thing about stall mats is that they prevent horses from making the barn stall floor a stinky, dug out mess. This saves you time in cleaning and in replacing the flooring. Shavings further help in asborbing urine.

The mare urinates and poops outside; this is not unusual with mares; while the gelding urinates and poops inside. Geldings urinating in the same spot makes it a common problem for stall floors to get dug out in the middle.

The lady I worked for in college had me dig out an entire stall to replace the flooring – after dumping 20 wheelbarrows of urine soaked dirt (over a year of a stall kept gelding that walked in circles about his stall non stop), you get to appreciate the use of stall mats.

Pay now or pay more later… it’s why it always best in the long run to invest up front and prevent expensive maintenance or worse, changes.

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6 Responses to Barn Design: loafing shed off side of barn

  1. Curious, how did the mats outside the stall for rain run-off actually work out for you?

    • horseideology says:

      Hi OS ~ they actually did quite well. The roofline sat about 1/3 into the overall width of the mat, which allowed the rain to come down and drain off (the slope of the barn was higher at one end then the other, which also naturally helped).

      I did have to re-shift them around a few times so it is not full proof but at least it did cut down on the mud. If it had been my place I would have put down a lot more gravel.

  2. (If you can’t tell, I’m looking through your Barn Design tag stuff for obvious reasons). 🙂

    • horseideology says:

      Just my personal preference – of all the barn shapes I’ve been in, I would go with an L-shaped barn with the NW side being full of feed and tack rooms and opening to the south.

      I would put in a separate, large barn for hay and tractor storage.

      This arrangement works best in climates with little winter. The traditional barn with a center aisle, and two rows of opposing stalls always leaves one row of stalls vulnerable to the north side. And I find they channel cold wind really badly during winter.

      • My problem here is that the only way to do the L shape and see it from the house, is to have the doors all facing North and East. I’m not really down with that for obvious reasons. Also, I’m not really sure where to put it as our property is skinny and long, with an already fenced 1250 sq ft garden in the middle of the cleared area. I also have three burn piles of slag waiting to go “poof” later this month. So, I have to work around all that for my run-ins. I have a lovely spot for a grassed arena already picked out, but I might have to put the horses there. I don’t care for that idea at all. My choices for the winter are very limited right now.

      • horseideology says:

        Oh I completely understand! There’s reality!

        Maybe consider something temporary this year then? They do sell movable run in shelters for horses.They are located on skids and can be moved around – maybe sell them when you build the real barn?

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