After eons keeping horses on our own farm, and experience through our training and clinic giving at barns big and small worldwide, I’ve seen my fair share of tack and feed rooms. Fantasy feed rooms with rows of feed bins, well-organized shelves stacked with supplements and space to dance a Viennese waltz and tack rooms that sparkle with expensive tack and smell deliciously of well-kept leather and emote the feeling that you have found yourself in a tack shop not a tack room are fine and dandy. But a useful tack room does not need to be huge or fancy. Placement of fitted cabinets for saddle and bridle storage and wall cabinets that leave free the floor space for easy cleaning and extra storage can combine to add sincere functionality to even the most modest of barns.
The inclusion of secure storage for your expensive tack and equipment and the handiness of all in one spot for last minute needs when tacking up and training is a smart choice. If you haven’t orchestrated a tack room in your barn to date, you always have the option of retrofitting an unused stall (yes, I’ve been told unused stalls do exist) for the purpose.
The inquisitive nature of horses and the inevitable presence of rodents and nosey dogs, cats and other critters make a feed room that can be closed off with a door a necessity in the barn. The ability to keep grains rotated and fresh and safely out of animal reach, the neat organization of diet supplements, and safe and secure storage of expensive equine medicines plus the quick proximity of emergency medical supplies can be a boon to the busy horse owner. And don’t forget to include a fridge. A small fridge can be a valuable asset to keep medicines requiring refrigeration handy and also provide a great resource for liquid refreshments (yes, of course I mean water), snacks and nibbles and a place to store a bag or two of carrots.
When you have a place for everything, your barn will be much easier to keep clean and tidy, and it will also be safer for all its users, human, equine and the family pets.
Whatever space you have available it pays to plan ahead. The single most important factor is to add a durable floor to deter critters from digging under mats or through the earth to burglarize your supplies. If you are planning a new barn build, modular barn builders offer convenient pre-installed floors for tack and feed rooms in their designs and an array of cabinets, feed chests and saddle and harness cabinets.
When hanging bridles, rather than screw multiple bridle hangers into the wall, the placement of a painted or stained wooden board with the hangers installed in an evenly spaced fashion can provide a pretty accent to your design. The bridle or halter hangers can be patterned evenly, one up and one lower down, to allow more room for the headpieces.
Remember, all leather prefers airflow to keep it in peak condition, and the addition of a humidifier in warmer climates can save much tack cleaning.
Don’t forget to include a blackboard or notice board of some sort that you can post feed rations and notes for other barn users, and include a list of emergency numbers for fire/police/ambulance as well as veterinary contacts, your own emergency contact, and evacuation plans. Make sure it includes your street address, as visitors may not know it offhand, and also your home phone number. This information should be posted somewhere conspicuous and always accessible with working Wifi (with available password if you have poor cell phone access) and/or phone line nearby.
Locks on cabinets or tack room or feed room doors are always a good idea as it provides the option to keep areas or supplies off limits during busy times at the barn when you are distracted with other matters or when you are absent. Professional trainers may wish to consider adding a second tack room to separate their own equipment from access by boarders or visitors.
Whether you are interested in retrofitting a space for tack and feed supplies, or building a new barn, check in with modular barn builders for design tips and an array of options to customize your structure to suit your individual needs. Remember, functionality is more important than fancy when it comes to your horse barn and a well laid out and well-built structure will bring you many years of happy, productive use.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Horizon Structures Inc., Atglen PA – Modular horse barn and indoor riding arena specialists. Horizon Structures also offers both residential and commercial kennels, coops, multi-use structures and playsets. Please visit https://www.HorizonStructures.com to learn more.