The aisles in a horse barn can be easily overlooked, however they are extremely important and require careful consideration. Design a horse barn aisle too narrow and traffic flow will become a major issue, design it too wide and cost will rise unnecessarily. A poorly designed horse barn aisle can be annoying at a minimum to dangerous at a maximum. A horse barn aisle should always allow a handler to turn a horse around and head the opposite direction.
As a result of new technology, the horse barn aisle can also be a key element for larger barns through a new strategic manure removal system. KMG installs incredible manure removal systems with sliding partition walls. These systems allow partition walls to be slid into the horse barn aisle way from between the horse stalls, which effectively blocks the aisle but turns the row of stalls into a long open passageway. It allows manure removal equipment to drive the length of the horse barn, from horse stall to horse stall and end to end.
At KMG, we prefer to make the horse barn aisles approximately 11’ 9” in width. This width allows two horses to pass without crowding and keeps stalled horses from irritating a single passing horse. We prefer to build the ceilings at around 10’ high. This height keeps the ceiling away from all horse activity, and possible horse spats which provides the safest conditions for the animals. A ceiling can be installed in colder climate areas which helps to retain animal-created heat. In warmer climates, this ceiling liner is not as necessary.
Many options are available for horse barn aisle-flooring. A great option is to install interlocking rubber pavers which provide padding for the walking horses, look great, and require minimal maintenance. Other options that are available are sealed concrete, patterned concrete, stone, and rubber mats on concrete. Each option has different price points, advantages, disadvantages, visual appeal, and maintenance concerns. Your priority should be to provide slip-free footing in some capacity. Concrete with a texture applied will accomplish this at a minimum.
Lighting should be sufficient for barn operations and mounted to not be a low-hanging hazard. A low hanging light can get hit by a rearing horse or be nibbled on by an inquisitive horse. It is better to have too much light rather than too little light.
Which stall fronts you choose will have a large impact on how traffic flows through the aisles. Some horse stall fronts have large open spaces for horses to reach their heads out into the aisle. This can make for trouble with passing horses and may require more aisle width. Stall fronts that are closed off with picket-fronts will prevent this type of irritation to a passing horse and will allow a narrower aisle way. Stall doors should never open into the aisle which is why a side-sliding door is probably the best option for this.