tack room, door or no door

With Midwest Horse Fair rapidly approaching, my mind is gearing up to look and learn more about everything related to barn interiors. The big & little stuff. We've gathered plenty of experience on our own to know how we prefer horse care routine to flow. But there are a lot of improvements that have come out over the years. I love learning and am always open to whatever makes sense. I've always said, you only know what you know. 

With the barn shell up, we have a real need to think through interior details. How will we use XYZ? How will things flow best? We've picked out and quoted the fans we plan to get. Will have to look more into stalls. Airflow & safety is SO important to us. Many vendors will be at Fair, it will be fun to see the products and talk in person again. 

There are other undecided barn and horse care aspects to ponder. Indoor water options, and outdoor waterers (once pastures are designated). Another unanswered question that has been on my mind lately - do we put a door on the tack room - or not? Doors keep out dust, but you also have to maneuver through them with full hands.

If you have a tack room, does it have a door on it? 

Most of the barns I've been in have no door. They all have open tack areas, where every thing is dusty. Boarding barns have more activity, and are different then personal barns. Do we really want to deal with yet another a door? Do we really want to deal with the dust? What's the worst of two evils? We may start without a door, and add it if needed. 

I found a good general article on the perfect tack room. That's what I want, an organized tack room that is functional and as close to "perfect" as we can get. Whatever that is. Do we group all the saddles together? Brads are used by more then one horse. All the bridles together? All the pads? Probably. Some of these could be organized by horse. After all, that is how we use them. Each horse has there own pad, halter, bridle, wraps, brush etc. Might sound picky. Besides unique fit, if you had to deal with Nemo's super fine white hair - you would understand!! Trust me. What is the best storage method? Hmmm. I am not a big fan of storing stuff all over the stall fronts. Hangers yes, permanent hanging tack no. 

Right now we have a nice oversized Cedar Storage cabinet that Brad built. Tack is by group, overflowing, and barely gets used. The tack we use regularly lives outside the storage cabinet for easy access, covered in carrying bags. Maybe that's the system we should stick with. Enclose less used tack & leave the regularly used with easy access. We will likely have three adult riders tack, and four horses. However, it's always wise to think out storage space with potential expansion in mind. Doubtful we will add more regular riders with tack, but another horse or two is a real possibility. 

Brad & I haven't really talked much about the wash stall. I'd love to have one of those rotating hanging wands, but a simple hose with a hanger works too. I've found some interesting ideas on Pinterest, like a corner shelf with a bucket hook. 

Sooo many options when you are starting from scratch.

back of the barn
horse side is still completely empty

Do tell if there is something unique about your tack storage/wash stall/barn system that you love and recommend?


we interrupt this life

Our life as we've come to know it has been interrupted. No riding lately, not even days when it's sunny and 60F. Boo!! Important things must be set aside for a while. I keep telling myself, it is just this year. We will fall into a new normal. Eventually. I hope.

My guys are busy most weekends, working on the land/house/barn. There are sooo many steps, to get ready for the next step, which leads to the next one. It goes on and on. Kinda like the song that never ends!! Sooo many additional trips and extra hours put in at the land during the weekday/evenings too. Much of the work falls on Brad, some labor, some coordinating, all time consuming. Thankfully our son is helping as much as he can off hours, with things that take more then one person. I wish I could be more helpful. I'm just not a builder savvy kinda gal. Between my bad back and simply not having the knowledge, I would just slow things down. What I can do falls into more of a supportive role. Involving mostly food, driving back-n-forth, pets and patience. Lots of patience. Don't worry tho, we aren't suffering too bad. Just tired. 

In the midst of all the gazillion building related happenings, this girl found fun in the most unusual places...

my playground
climbing giant "mountains" of sand
was SO much fun!!
68/365 ~ photo challenge
That's my boy!! The one in the safety yellow, and tan vest further down. He worked his way into being a foreman, at a very young age. His dad removed himself from any official process, and we are so proud of him. I tried fiercely to steer him towards a different career, but you have to let your kids follow their hearts. Many moons ago he was riding a tricycle inside the freshly poured basement walls of our current house, and now he is building them. 

There is something special about working on your own projects, and those who make the extra effort.

pouring the footings
top of sand mound view
makes the house look big (it's not)
and yet the tall wall panels look small
pouring basement walls in a snow storm
(yes, they work all winter)
same vantage point as above
lilac insulation, covers waterproofing material

white arrow: garage
red arrow: storage under stoop, our son's idea
blue arrow: jump - I know why, still don't get it
pink arrow: columns for deck support
green arrow: drain tile, waterproofing
yellow arrow: wall brace, takes 7 days for walls to cure

The house site looks so different, yet again. Foundation walls are backfilled and buried, sand mounds are gone. Everything is moving so quickly...

house site dreams


wednesday whirlwind

This post title fits my world lately. It is mostly inspired by our second day of ridiculously high winds! I guess if your days are crazy, you might as well have crazy weather too. Said no one ever. 2017 already ranks high on the "it's been a very unusual year" list, in more ways then one.

Our spring vet appointments came & went, over a week ago already. Koda lucked out, and only got immunized. Cierra had shots, teeth floated and since she was doing some odd breathing for our trainer the day prior, they checked her lungs too. Everything was normal. The garbage bag procedure was new for all of us at the barn. 

Cierra handled breathing
into the bag very well
Nemo always get's the most done, poor guy. Shots, teeth, ultrasound and flushing for his unique calcium build up problem. We also found out he has to repeat the whole allergy shot series again, forever. I swore the vet said it was a once a month maintenance shot after the initial series, but I was wrong. He explained the reasoning. Every year it's a brand new pollen season, so the calculated shots are the best way to keep symptoms down. Nemo was SO incredibly miserable last year, it is worth it. I will be glad when Nemo lives with us again, so we can give him the shots ourselves. The intricate ever changing schedule is asking a lot of someone else. We are fortunate he lives at a place where other people love him too.

Nemo & Brad by the scary door
My rides with Koda continue going well. We are back to riding in the indoor. He is being such a good boy under saddle. Koda is Koda and will always try shenanigans on the ground, all minor. The other day he was standing in the arena while I scooped poop before getting in the saddle (his brother is a never ending poop machine) and one rein flopped to the ground. Koda picked the rein up in his mouth and was trying to put it back on the rail, or direct himself with it - not sure. He is no dummy. Typical silliness, always making us laugh!

We are working on a little bit of everything, including some loping. His lope in frame is like riding on a cloud! My favorite gait, with a willing partner. We don't lope endless circles, don't need to. Just enough, is good enough for us.

Koda in no hurry to rejoin his herd
Some other fast changing news: our house build started this week! Brad & our son staked the house out (again) on Saturday. Brad prepped the site, and then we met with the excavator to answer any questions. While they talked building stuff, I snuck off for a quick walk through the pines. Something I haven't had a chance to do for a long time. 

heading out of the woods
and seeing our barn for the first time in the distance,
made me pause...
The very next day our house site was turned into a giant sand box. 

for perspective,
see Brad standing in the photo
They finished digging the house today, and tonight my guys along with a handful of awesome employees will do the next step - set the footings. I sure hope the wind dies down!

Our house site will continue changing rapidly over the next week, before it slows down again. I won't bore you with a gazillion step-by-step house building photos, but you can bet I'll be taking them!! I may or may not be biased, but I find the process fascinating and fun to shoot. I'll share a few updates, but if you don't hear from me for a while you will know why!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! Before you know it, we will all be riding outside!!


build-a-barn ~ now what

The last day of the barn build arrived before we knew it. It took three weeks, just like they said. If you count actual work days, it took about 12. 

finished horse side

low light
47/365 ~ photo challenge

Brad & I watched the sunset together on the last day of the build. The sky wasn't nearly as spectacular as my last post, but we had a good laugh regardless. I wiped out climbing our house of hay, while trying to take a photo with a timer. I don't move as fast as I used to in 10 seconds!

where I stand
48/365 ~ photo challenge

Now it's our job to make the interior happen...electrical, plumbing, flooring, framing, stalls and walls...just to name a few things. Some will be contracted out, others "we" will do. The roof and storage side need to be insulated, and the overhang ceiling and exposed wood finished. The beams will get wrapped, except for the cedar wood.

cedar support beams

Sooo much left to do, it's never ending! Some of the remaining work is being tied in with the house build, so it will be a while before the entire barn is actually finished. Thanks for reading along with our once in our lifetime barn build!! 

our empty barn, filled with dreams


View other Build-a-Barn posts to date.


build-a-barn ~ taking it all in

So much happened in a span of two weeks, it was hard to take it all in. Before we knew it we found ourselves mid way into the last week of the barn build. Brad had an overnight work commitment, so I stopped up at the barn that evening alone. He had been keeping a close watch on daily progress and I knew Brad wasn't thrilled to be away. He really wanted to be here...so I went to check the progress for him. 

With just me, myself & I...my thoughts carried me away. Eventually Koda, Nemo, Cierra and hopefully Harmony, will be looking out these windows. Someday... 

stall walls are close to being done
It won't be too much longer, and we will be walking our horses in from the pasture. We will come through the back entrance below, weather permitting. Probably Nemo & Koda together...and Harmony & Cierra...assuming they rebond. The girls were inseparable. That feels like so many years ago. It will be different now. Cierra is all grown up, but I think these two special horses will remember each other...it probably won't matter who walks with who anyways. They all got along great, and were such a happy herd. I cannot wait to see them all together again...

back entrance
As I took these photos, I started to wonder...is this where we will ride up from our woods in the distance, to dismount, tired and happy? Then listen to the methodical sound of our horses as we walk through the front entrance, into our looong awaited barn filled with everything we hoped for, love and cherish?? 

front entrance
The human door below will no doubt be one of the most used when it's cold out, for more then just people. It was suppose to be on the same side as the stalls. After the foundation got poured Brad realized that even with back filling, the elevation drop could be problematic. Needless to say, we moved the door to the front. The flow with a horse in hand isn't as ideal, but the entry will be better then stepping up on an incline. I wonder, with cold winds blowing, what it will feel like to shut that door...

still a little door, for now
Someday the floor will look so different...the entryway & aisles will eventually be concrete...

icy reflections
I had no idea how much wooden panels would change the interior walls...it's hard to imagine what the barn will look and feel like when it is finished. All of it, not just the shell...

future wall coverings
My mind wandered back to the stalls...and our horses. This is all for them, so they can live with us...forever...

the most important part of the barn
It was getting dark. I got in my truck, and started to leave...then this happened...

the start of a sunset
The sky erupted into the most magical sunset!! It rendered me speechless. I couldn't leave. The people we bought the land from mentioned the sunset views were really pretty. I was skeptical, the land is surrounded by tall pines. Now I know what they meant...and it all but moved me to tears. 

You know those rare moments, when nature is so peacefully beautiful, that it is surreal. All encompassing. For a few moments time stands still, and you feel like you are in a dream?? You've either experienced it, or you haven't. You can't look for it, it just happens.

Well, this was one of those moments. Where nature puts everything into perspective. The entire sky was constantly changing color, and highlighting interesting cloud formations.

When sunsets are this magnificent, you can seen them most any place you can see the sky. But this sunset view, where our house will be one day, is our unique view.

As I tried to soak it all in, I was periodically sending Brad sunset phone pics. The intense colors lasted over half an hour, after the sun set. He was loving it!! Of course we wish we were watching it together in person, but I wasn't really alone anyways. Hopefully, there will be many more sunsets for us to watch together.

so many ever changing bright colors
I couldn't help but think, is this really happening??? This land, the barn, the view, all of it...are we really going to live here some day with our horses and "ride off into the sunset" together?? 

I am so very grateful for the opportunity to care for this land, and especially our horses. I got all choked up again...it was then, that I knew everything was going to be okay.

a sunset to remember


View other Build-a-Barn posts to date.