Aisle Safety For Horse Barns
By Jason T. Atilia
One of the most overlooked parts of horse barns is the barn aisle. Stalls and tack room are designed with function and comfort, which sometimes lead to poor aisle layout. However, Christine Bakarat, horse enthusiast and designer of several horse barns, insists that barn aisles are just as important as stalls and grooming areas. According to Bakarat, barn aisles serve multiple purposes. Makes sense because for horses, the barns are their living space and driveway in one. Needless to say, barn aisles are high-traffic areas with both equine and human activities. I suggest that you follow Bakarat’s simple guidelines in building or redesigning your barns for human and equine safety.
Poorly structured horse barns with improperly maintained aisles are annoying and in most cases, hazardous. The recommended doorway width for barns is eight to twelve feet, depending on the barn area. Ideally, aisles should follow the same width. This enables traffic without overcrowding. Bakarat proposes a simple reference to determine the sufficiency of the width of your barn aisles. First, two horses can pass side by side through it without touching. There should be a comfortable space between the two animals because horses are territorial animals. Second, the aisles are wide enough if a horse can turn around without bumping the stalls. This makes maneuvering horses indoors easier, especially if the feed and tack are inside the barn. Third, a person can pass through the aisle without getting bumped or nipped by the equine occupants of each stall.