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Which Type of Horse Barn Is Right for You?

A horse barn is a large investment, regardless of how big or small it is. When a horse barn is designed with longevity and horse safety in mind, a well-built horse barn grows in value over time while providing your horses with a safe and comfortable environment. Horses need a suitable environment to live happily, and this access to pasture for grazing and of course, the right kind of stabling.

What are the best types of horse stables? And which type of horse barn is right for you?

Common Horse Barn Designs

Finding the perfect horse barn for you is as simple as meshing your practical needs with your design aesthetic. But let’s face it, that can be easier said than done! Without a proper guiding hand, designing your horse barn can turn disastrous.

Open Horse Barns

Also called a run-in style barn, an open horse barn features three solid sides and an open front. These barns are more of a simple shelter than a protective barn. They provide plenty of fresh air and natural night while offering added protection from the back and sides. Open style horse barns are typically the most affordable, as they are built with minimal materials and a simple design.


  • Most economical horse barn style
  • Takes up less room on your property
  • Gives horses access to shelter at any time
  • Less work for you as horses can come and go as they please


  • No dedicated indoor work area
  • Smaller space means less storage

Shedrow Barns

A shedrow horse barn is similar to an open horse barn, but it has a solid front wall with stall doors.  The number of stalls can be customized to fit your needs. Shedrow style barns are the type of horse barn landowners with smaller-sized lots tend to gravitate towards because of this barn’s smaller footprint. Shedrow barns provide room for your horses that is sufficient to house them comfortably while not leaving too much room for other features.  Their budget-friendly price tag and economical structure make this type of horse barn a great horse barn style for those just getting into horse riding.


  • Very economical horse barn style
  • Takes up less room on your property
  • Allows for interaction from outside with your horses for stimulation
  • U-Shaped Shedrow great for use in training
  • Covered overhang makes for easy animal access


  • No dedicated indoor work area
  • Smaller space means less storage

Two-Story Raised Center Aisle Barns or High Country Barns

Classic, timeless, spacious: The Raised Center Aisle (RCA) barn is all that and more! If you love unique structures as much as you love horses, this is the horse barn style for you. Built with two parallel rows of modular horse stalls, horses can live very comfortably in this barn. The RCA Barn offers an option for an upper loft for you to store all the hay and supplies necessary.


  • Optional Extra high pitch roof
  • Holds many horses comfortably
  • Small footprint with big storage space
  • Conservatively priced


  • Second story loft is often small in size and difficult to access

One-Story Raised Center Aisle Barn

These barns can be either large or medium-sized. The aisle is in the center and the stalls are along the inner perimeter, which means you can comfortably work and spend time with your horses during rainy days. One-story center aisle barns are the type of horse barns used by both professional stables and homeowners with a lot of horses. Pair this with a cupola or weathervane for a one-of-a-kind horse barn style.


  • Protected covered space at every angle
  • Two rows of stalls economy of space
  • Extra area available for tack room or feed storage


  • More expensive all-in cost
  • Requires careful ventilation

Considerations When Choosing a Horse Barn Design

Now that you are familiar with some of the different horse barn styles, it is time to determine which one is best for you. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on your barn style.

  • Number of Horses

Naturally, the number of horses that you are housing now and in the future will have a big impact on the type of barn you choose. You want to make sure that you build a big enough barn with enough stalls, but not too many that you do not have the time or space to accommodate that many horses. The more square footage that you add to your barn, the more it will cost you, so carefully consider what size you actually need.

  • Size of Stalls

The size of your stalls really depends on how much time your horses are spending inside and what type/size horses you have. 12×12 stalls are typically enough for horses, but if you have large horses, you may want a larger stall. Additionally, if you have mares needing to be foaled, or horses that are staying inside for extended periods of time, you will want 12×16 stalls.

  • Barn Location

Locations matters. House and barn placement matters to a lot of people because you will likely be going out to the barn at least a couple times a day. You might want your horse barn near the house so you can easily walk to your barn daily. Or you may want to allow easier access to turnout, less contact with boarders and do not care about how close it is to the house. Keep in mind that horses attract flies and can be quite odorous so deciding where to put the barn is very important.

  • Climate

Climate may not be one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about the style of your new horse barn, but it is certainly something to consider. Some horse barn designs are better suited for certain climates. Open horse barns (or run-in sheds) are a good choice for warm climates due to the amount of ventilation and air flow, while a closed barn with an interior aisleway will be more suited for colder, snowy type climates.

  • Inside Layout of the Barn

The size and location of your barn will also have some bearing on the layout of the inside of the barn. Will the stalls have paddocks off of them or will they just be box stalls? This will determine your layout and overall design of the barn.

Do not forget to find a spot for a tack room, wash/tack stall, water spigots, hay storage, and any other rooms or areas you need. It is best to know what you need before you start building so you do not realize you missed some important details down the road.

  • City or County Laws

Make sure you check your city and county laws to ensure you are abiding by them. Different regions can have laws regarding setbacks, number of horses per acre, and permits required. Double check that you are obeying any laws regarding building or having animals on your property.

The Castlebrook Difference

Castlebrook’s barns have a warm, inviting look which adds to the beauty and value of your property. All Castlebrook barns, round pens and round pen covers are designed and manufactured on site at Castlebrook’s facility. That is why we can provide you almost limitless choice of sizes and styles. Castlebrook can manufacture a barn, round pen or multi-use structure and to suit your exact needs.

Castlebrook never misses a ship date. We are so confident in our on-time guarantee that we are willing to guarantee it — in writing! Castlebrook understands how important it is for your project to go as smoothly as possible. This begins with your structure shipping on the date we’ve promised. Castlebrook knows of absolutely no other barn company offering this guarantee. Where other companies disappoint, Castlebrook guarantees to be on time, every time!

Please contact our professional team today at 1-800-52-BARNS. We gladly accommodate Saturday appointments!