Here's a quick checklist to keep your barn safe for you and your horse.
- Aisles should be at least eight feet wide to allow a horse and handler to turn around easily, or two horses to pass without crowding.
- Ceilings should be high enough to avoid contact with a rearing horse's head; nine feet or more is generally sufficient.
- Floors must provide non-slip footing. Texturized concrete is a safe, inexpensive option for a barn aisle.
- Light fixtures must be mounted where curious muzzles cannot reach them, or else encased in sturdy wire cages.
- Stall doors should never swing inward?a hazard for someone trying to exit when a horse is also eager to get out. Side-sliding doors mounted on rollers are safest.
- Repairs to barns and fencing are best made immediately, before a loose board, protruding nail, or damaged gate can cause injury to horse or human.
- Clutter in and around the barn is always a safety hazard; make sure aisles and commonly traveled pathways are clear of feed cans, push brooms, saddle racks, wheelbarrows and the like.
This information is adapted from an article that first appeared in Horse & Rider magazine and appears in the Tractor Supply Company's "Trail Riding Essentials."