Barn Raising 1.0: The Horse Barn


Step by step, day by day, our new barn grew out of the pasture. 

What a blessing it's been. It's given us a dry place to store hay and feed, as well as a place for the horses to "hang out."

We've made simple stalls inside, so that we can feed the horses separately. No more fighting, and each horse consumes its correct amount of feed.

On the right side of some of the photos, you can see the old run-in shed that was here when we bought the land. 

It has served the horses well as shelter, but in the past year some of the roof tin has blown off. The shed itself is much too rickety for anyone to attempt replacing the roofing.

We hired a construction company to put up this 30' x 40' metal pole barn. The frame is wood with wood rafters, covered with sheet metal.

I chose a white roof to help reflect heat during the hot Oklahoma summers. And of course, barns should be red, so the siding had to be red.

It took several days to complete the barn. The horses just grazed around the vehicles and workers.

Almost finished. It looks so good down the hill in the green pasture.

We had the barn built with a sliding "barn door" on the front rather than a roll-up garage-type door. 

We soon discovered that the wind in this valley is fierce. The door was only attached at the top by the rolling hardware.

In a good windstorm, the bottom of the door blew back and forth away from the barn wall and back again.

And eventually, one morning after a very windy night, I found the door lying on the ground several yards in front of the barn, face up.

Evidently the wind caught it just right, the bottom of the door swung upwards and the hardware blew right off the track. The door sailed off on the wind and landed flat on the ground.

Can you imagine what the horses inside the barn thought when that happened? I almost wish I'd been there. They aren't confined at night in the stalls, they just "hang out" inside the barn. 

For the rest of our years at the homestead, the barn was door-less.

In 2010, we finished the first horse stall in the barn, with a total of three eventually built along one forty-foot side of the barn. 

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Our original plan was to build four stalls along that wall, 10' x 10' each. The Chief thought they would be too small, even though the horses were only inside at feeding time, so he changed the plan to two 13' x 10' stalls and one 14' x 10' stall.

The horses quickly learned which stall was their own and walked in willingly at feeding time.

Before the barn was finished, I tied each horse to a spot along the panels next to their own bucket. It worked okay, except during rain storms and other bad weather.

Also in the photo, you can see that the barn and stall walls are above the level of the ground. The ground wasn't perfectly level when the barn was built. We eventually brought in enough fill to bring up the level.


This post first appeared on
on December 30, 2009