Barn Safety Concerns

While barn demolition has been going well (separate post on that coming soon!) I have a few other things on my mind regarding safety in and around the barn.

Overhead view of barns for reference – horses will live in the barn that’s lowest in the picture but as you can see the barns are both in the pasture.

The first item is the fact that the barns are within the pasture and have metal siding and downspouts. Obviously many horses have lived there over the years and survived but since I have a special needs horse and like to keep my horses as safe as possible I’m questioning this. From what I’ve read if the metal siding is thick enough they can’t kick through so wouldn’t get cut or anything. I of course have no idea what thickness our siding is. I definitely need to have a siding place out either way to fix up some holes and dents from the barn’s past and I wonder if I have other options for making this safer? Anyone with experience with metal siding? Should I consider covering it at the lower portion with something for safety? If so, what?

Metal siding and downspouts everywhere!

Metal downspouts? Seems like a hazard…bottom part is metal just sticking out waiting for my horses to try to cut a leg off. The eavestroughing is dead anyways (IE full of holes) so I plan to ask a siding place what my options are but if I need to do downspouts how do I make them safe? Plastic extensions seem like a horse toy waiting to happen, lol.

Pretty sure this metal siding wound is from someone driving a tractor too close…

My other safety concern involves the back walls of my stalls and windows. Currently the windows are plexiglass and they have this terrifying metal mesh over them that is sticking out to poke out the eyeball of an unsuspecting equine…so clearly the mesh will go. Do I need to protect my windows from the horses? I have seen metal bars for sale to cover the windows but I’ve never been anywhere that has them. I will say that most places I’ve been that had windows they were high enough up it wasn’t so much of an issue.

Check out the scary metal window covering in here and the low back wall

Secondly my back walls don’t come up very far right now, it’s just the metal siding and interior structure showing beyond a certain height. How tall should these walls be? Part of me thinks the back walls should cover anywhere my horses can reach. Most barns I’ve seen it goes at least up to head height or more.

Thanks in advance for the help everyone!

20 Comments

  1. Jenn

    I can’t offer any intelligent advice regarding siding or downspouts or interior walls, but I *can* offer some input on windows. At my barn, each horse has their own window, with no bars or any protection in front of the window pane. There is a small ledge in front of each window, I’d guess about 2″ deep. My BO has had the windows this way for years, with horses of every age, breed and size in the stalls, and has never had an issue with protecting the horse from the window pane. The windows are somewhat narrow (probably 16″ wide?), with a vertically sliding pane and screen behind it, if that makes sense. I’m not an expert, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a horse try to play with the window, so I think whatever option you choose will be fine! Just wanted to offer my two cents 🙂

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Thanks for the input Jenn. My thought was that it would be fine with nothing over it but the fact they had put the scary wire mesh up there made me wonder!

      Reply
  2. Megan

    For the areas the horses would have access to the side of the barn, we fenced it off with wood boards and electrified tape. Because ours is pretty flush to the side of the barn, a stray hoof could still make contact with the barn or door tracks, but my two don’t seem to try to kill themselves on a regular basis. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. You could also push a fence out from the barn a few feet to allow extra room in case one of them really wants to get hurt on that metal.

    You can kind of see the fence along the barn in one of the photos below:

    http://horsesofhof.blogspot.com/2015/05/new-saddle.html

    I don’t have any advice for the windows. Good luck!

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      I just added an overhead view of the property to my post because I realized I didn’t describe it well. Literally the entire barn is in the pasture not just one side which is part of what is giving me concern and wondering how I make it safer. I’m not sure how much of a hazard I think it is – I’d assume they will spend most of their time out in the pasture in the summer then wherever I put the hay in the winter, lol. I don’t think putting electric tape around the whole thing other than the horse opening would work well from a logistics standpoint of taking care of the horses. Would be interested to hear what you think after looking at the overhead view.

      Reply
  3. Karen M

    Before my current barn changed locations, the old barn had something that basically looked like wainscotting along the outside of the metal siding. No idea what the cost of that would be. The current barn doesn’t have that, and certain horses are turned loose on the property for hours at a time and they haven’t gotten into trouble with the metal siding.

    The wire mesh over the windows is freaky. I don’t get why it would be necessary.

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Thanks I will look into the wainscoting. I’ve been trying to think of something to just cover it with down low that makes sense but nothing has really popped up.

      Yeah the wire mesh I was surprised to see, especially with the sharp edges just poking out!

      Reply
  4. Hillary H.

    I like the idea of having a property fenced in but when the only pasture has your barn in it that’s kinda different. I am interested to see what people say. Our main barn has a pasture connected for the babies. Your set up is differnet but assuming it’s all flush with no sharp edges wouldn’t suspect problems.

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      I think with some clean up there would be no sharp edges around besides the issue of the downspouts. My current barn doesn’t have downspouts off the roof so maybe I can just have them removed and put something above the people door so I don’t get soaked going in from the side?

      Reply
  5. Sarah

    As I mentioned on insta, I have a pretty big metal barn sitting in the middle of my most frequently used field (and donkey paddock, it acts as a partial fence between the two). I’ve had a variety of horses, ages, etc. in that field throughout the last 15 years and never had an injury from the metal *knocks on wood*. Most of the horses on the property have been on 24/7 turnout for 90% or so of their live though, so they’re not too accident prone though. Copper knee stitches in April 2016 were the first stitches on the farm in the last ten years!

    Removing the mesh from the windows sounds like a good idea. I think I’d leave the windows and see how things go first, then replace them if they break them. I’ve never heard of a horse messing with them though. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      P has never had 24/7 turnout but if there is food he’s eating it. Stamp used to live out 24/7 when I met him and I do believe they had a metal sided run in if I remember correctly. The fat QH’s didn’t share it with him though, lol.

      Pretty much everyone has said they’ve had no issue with windows so I definitely plan to leave those for now. Still not certain if my back walls of wood should be higher though.

      Reply
  6. Tracy - Fly On Over

    The windows at our barn are just open — no plexiglass or bars — never had an issue.

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Good to know, thanks!

      Reply
  7. Emma

    I would be nervous about unprotected glass personally. The siding of the barn less so, but I thinking a couple yards of fencing just around the perimeter of the barn would do the trick just as well as additional siding.

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      It is just plexi so it’s not the worst but we may end up putting bars over it just because I want to bring my back walls up higher. Sadly with the format of our property putting fencing around the barn is not simple. I may end up fencing off a whole section between the two barns though to make that possible. Waiting until I hear what the siding guy has to say though because our current siding definitely needs repairs so if replacing some is cheaper it may win.

      Reply
  8. draftmare

    The windows at my barn are also unprotected. They are the kind of windows that you would put in a house that can slide up and down to let air in. One of them is broken, but I suspect it was done by a human and not a horse.

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Interesting, never seen windows like that in a barn! These have half that can slide open sideways then a screen that can come over to cover that.

      Reply
  9. SprinklerBandits

    I was going to recommend the wainscotting idea too–Could be as chincy (affordable, lol) as plywood or as high end (and $$$$$) as stone. There are plenty of options out there.

    No advice on the windows–I’ve only ever had open windows without glass.

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Siding guys is coming Monday so interested to hear what he has to say! I do really like the wainscoting idea.

      Reply
  10. Micaylah Strukelj

    Hmm interesting to read the comments, future reference for my future barn!

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      So much more goes into it than I ever thought before!

      Reply

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