Friday, June 27, 2008

Barn and Tack Room Tour

Twinville over at Laughing Orca Ranch proposed that we do a barn and tack room tour, since Pony Girl's "show us where you blog" challenge was so successful and interesting. My barn has nothing but water troughs and horses in it with a few clips for buckets and blankets...

The main section of the barn with the original two stalls is a Castlebrook shedrow barn. If you are in the market for a new barn, I recommend Castlebrook. I received a lot of compliments from neighbors once it was built and the only damage the horses have been able to do to it is a little splintering from pawing at the wood walls. Since the wood is tongue-n-groove, it is difficult for the horses to grab onto anything that they can chew.

This type of barn can be quite a project as you will have to hire a contractor to pour the foundation before the barn parts arrive. We made the mistake of ordering the barn parts first, and the wood ended up warping while waiting for the foundation to be poured. Since Nevada is the fastest growing state in the union, you can easily wait up to 18 months for a contractor to do a job.

Some parts, such as the door frames, can be very heavy, so you will have to arrange for at least three strong people to be available when the delivery truck arrives. We requested help ahead of time from a neighbor across the street who is a firefighter. Unfortunately, the truck driver arrived at 7:00 AM on a Saturday, and we didn't want to wake our neighbor. We asked the truck driver if he could help, but he just had hip surgery. My husband and I struggled to get all those pieces off the truck while the driver had his morning coffee. Our firefighter neighbor woke up, saw us out there struggling, threw on some clothes, and ran over to help unload the door frames just in time before we collapsed from exhaustion.

We had planned to build the barn ourselves, but the blueprints were too complicated and we didn't have the right tools. We asked the contractor who poured the foundation if he knew someone who could build it for us. He lent us one of his construction workers for a while, and that man did a wonderful job.

I made sure to order an overhang to provide shade for the horses. I chose the 10-foot awning, but there is also a 12-foot awning available...

I was warned at the time I ordered the barn that I should think toward the future in choosing the number of stalls I need. Once the barn is built, it is not easy to add on to it. I was so sure that I would never have more than two horses, so I ordered two 12x12 stalls.

When my third horse arrived, I had nowhere to put her and winter was closing in fast. I knew I couldn't get a contractor to pour another foundation for another stall, so I just ordered a portable stall frame from The Home Depot and bought the wood separately. My husband, kids and I were able to erect the frames ourselves, cut and install the wood. That's why there is one stall that doesn't match the others.

I have two tack rooms and neither are in the barn. One is actually our spa room. My husband grew the grapefruit tree that is in it from a grapefruit seed. Unfortunately, we cannot plant the tree outside because it won't survive our winters. I gave up on cleaning that room years ago because the tree sheds so many leaves and so much manure gets tracked in...

This room has a frustrating history behind it. The previous owners built this add-on in a half-ass manner. They installed the cheapest skylights possible, which leaked incessantly, causing water stains and black mold to sprout up everywhere. I had to kill all the mold, remove the skylights, re-roof and repaint the room. There are still indentations in the ceiling where the skylights were, and I plan to hire a contractor to fix it someday...

The previous owners also installed the spa directly into the ground. They did not elevate the deck high enough, so with each winter the ground swelled with water and pushed the spa up out of the deck. All the parts beneath the spa got disconnected from the pressure, so we had to pay people to lift it out, dig all the dirt out of there, reconnect the parts, and put the spa back into the deck. It was a job that only worked until the next major rainstorm. We decided not to bother fixing the spa until we can hire someone to raise our deck...

In the meantime, I use the spa as a place to store horse blankets and hay tarps...

Also in the spa room are all my tools and grain...

My horse wormers, vet wraps, various meds, bags, and my riding helmet...

My hat and sunglasses, a pile of old shoes to wear when we have to get dirty and don't want to ruin our good ones, lots of WD-40 for all the sliding doors that get stuck, lots of bug spray, gloves, scissors, tissues...

I store my tack, grooming supplies, farrier tools, and horse treats in my horse trailer, which I keep behind a locked gate...

I have my cheap western saddle on top, my expensive western saddle in the middle, and my cheap dressage saddle on the bottom...

I don't show, so there's no silver -- save a couple of conchos. If you are in the market for a saddle, I recommend investing in a quality one. Those starter saddles that you can buy for under $500 end up just taking up space because they are so uncomfortable for both you and your horse. Saddles last a long time, so you may as well get the best in your discipline.

That concludes my tour. Does anyone have a vacuum cleaner that can pick up hay, dried manure, clumps of dog hair, and grapefruit tree leaves on the first pass?

8 comments:

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Your tack room certainly is well organized. I'll play along. May take me a day to get my pictures together-LOL.

I meant to comment on your wildfire post for you to check to see if the partitions in your trailer are removable. In an emergency-if you can, remove the partitions in your trailer and all 3 of your horses should fit. Sometimes you just have to remove the lead rope so they can mill around to find the room, but it certainly beats having to make multiple trips and can alleviate the fear that you won't be able to get back for the second load.

I have turned my 3-horse into a 4-horse on several occasions. Depending on the size of some of the horses-it can get a little tight but has never caused a problem.

Pony Girl said...

That was really fun, thanks for the tour! I think you will win an award for most creative space. A hot tub holding blankets and hay tarps- how inventive!! :)
I love your barn by the way. It's nice to have a stall when you need it, but also allow the horses to not feel so "enclosed." I had to chuckle when you thought you'd never have more than 2 horses...best laid plans! :)

Flying Lily said...

I love your barn! Only a true horseperson would have a spa full of horse blankets. That gives me some ideas... isn't it aggravating when things haven't been done right the first time, and it takes so much more work and $$ to re-do them...my house has about a dozen great examples, alas.

Twinville said...

I like your creative uses of space, especially that hot tub storage bin. Cool!
And all your tack looks so well organized, too. I'm amazed that your hubby grew that tree from a grapefruit seed. Has it produced fruit yet?

Your barn is so awesome! I do have some serious barn envy here. I had no idea that Home Depot sold Stall kits and materials. I wonder if they do here in NM, too.
You guys did a terrific job on that add-on.

You sound like my husband giving advice on not buying a cheap saddle and buying the best you can afford.
I was going to buy a cheap saddle because I felt guilty spending so much money on something for me that is probably considered a hobby. Seemed like a rich luxury, but I'm glad now that I did spend the money, though my saddle is more mid-range priced, because I'm comfie when riding and especially afterwards.
My saddle will probably outlive me and my family can either sell it or pass it on to family, which I think is pretty neat.

One last question: Why do you have so many 'apple pickers' and shovels? Do you get lots of help cleaning the barn and paddock? Do you have fvorite tools?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

browneyed - I put it on my To Do List to see if my trailer partition is removable. Since my saddle rack is in the portion of the trailer where the horses stand, it might cause trouble for them if they are free-standing, but I'll look at my options.

pony girl - I think that ventilation is so important when it comes to a barn. That urine smell can suffocate someone in no time, and so many flooring options get dusty or even moldy. I also like to sometimes leave the stall doors open so that the horse's can go in and out on hot nights or scattered rainy days. The only problem is that they always choose to do their business in the stalls. I makes no sense to me to foul one's own nest when there is another option, but horses are notorious for that.

lily - I can't tell you how many things broke down and had to be replaced within the first year we moved into this house. Sigh.

twinville - The grapefruit tree has never grown fruit. I'm eating a grapefruit half as I speak, but I bought it at the market.

I didn't know that The Home Depot had stall kits either. I was trying to buy one from our local feed store, but after three tries with each cashier not being properly trained on how to order the parts, I gave up and looked around online. The manufacturer listed The Home Depot as a supplier. The girl who helped me there didn't know what she was doing either, so lots of mistakes were made and we had to hassle with correcting them ourselves.

My son is an entrepreneur and loves to make money, so he helps me clean the stalls and paddock. The whole family helps move manure to places that need to be fertilized and ground locations that need to be softened.

When it comes to raising kids, I believe strongly in giving them jobs to do to teach responsibility and skills. My parents did everything for me, and I paid for that later. I remember practically getting laughed out of my sorority house because I mopped the kitchen floor with dish soap and "cleaned" the chandelier by spraying Pledge on it, but not wiping it down. I was supposed to disassemble the chandelier and wash it in the sink! I also know a lot of women who married men of my generation, and those men refuse to do any work around the house because their mom's did it all for them; and so they expect their wives to do it all for them now, even though their mothers were fortunate enough to stay home full-time while their wives have to work outside the home full-time due to a less stable economy.

Callie said...

Cool idea. I love touring others. Gives me ideas on how I can better organize! Love it!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

browneyed - I finally remembered to take a look at the mechanisms in my trailer, and it turns out that not only is the partition removable, but so it the saddle rack and its wall. Most just need to have a cotter pin pulled, and then the hinge lifted out.

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, do you mind telling me how much your 2 stall barn cost? Hubby and I have started LOOKING for our own place, but we may have to wait until we retire (about 8 years!)...just not in the cards right now, but I'd like to know how much things will cost! With 5 horses, and possibly 2 more in the future, I guess I'd need an 8 horse barn!