Tip of the Week – Building a Horse Barn with the Elements: Earth, Wind, Energy and Water

What do earth, wind, energy and water have to do with barn building?  Everything!  From an ideal equestrian estate to an ammonia problem in your run-in, balancing the elements is the key. Creating a healthy environment for our beloved horses is an exciting challenge.

You may get a funny look if you say “my earth element is out of balance,” but builders and designers use these principles every day.  It’s important to talk about orienting your building where there will be a minimum of cut and fill.  Plan dry lots, pasture, arenas and drives from the beginning, even if you are building in phases.

Take advantage of the prevailing wind to ventilate naturally.  Place windows and doors to aid in circulation. Full mesh stall doors help with low-lying fumes.  Four air exchanges per hour are recommended.

Barns require human energy!  Efficient design will save you steps and time.  For heat, lights and everything else, research new ideas and technologies to minimize your use of fossil fuels, from the clever use of natural light and ventilation to solar, wind energy, earth tube and geo thermal systems.

Water run-off has to be managed so it returns to the ground water uncontaminated and does not erode your valuable topsoil.  Water retention, gray water retrieval, and irrigation are some solutions to consider.

Balancing earth, wind, energy and water is a challenging and enlightening puzzle.  It will save you time, money and headache and your horses will thank you for it.

Now think:  What is out of balance at that stinky quagmire by the gate?

This tip was brought to you by Iris Moore (312-310-4747) and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which will take place twice a month.  Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to sign up for the next webinar. Upcoming webinars include “Get It in Writing” on May 16 and “Electrolytes, Detoxing and First Aid” on June 13.  These webinars will conclude with a question and answer session, so be ready with your questions!

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