Thinking of building a new home for your horse? Whether you are re-doing an old barn or looking at stables/barns for the first time, you can find some helpful information in this article to help you decide which style you should go with.

What’s the difference? American barns house several horses under one roof in individual units with a central walkway down the middle, while traditional stables have several stables next to each other with doors that open out directly into an open area.   

American Barn Advantages 

  • Can be built bespoke to your desire
  • Each stable opens to the central walkway
  • Each horse can see what is going on in the barn
  • The high roof common feature aids in air ventilation
  • Large numbers of horses housed under one roof
  • Provides protection from weather elements 
  • Creates one central place for feeding, grooming, saddling
  • All of your equipment (rugs, grooming, feed) stored under the same roof as the horses
  • Can be built so each stable has a rear window to the outside, providing fresh air
  • Most stables have metal stall dividers (rather than a full wall) in between each stall so horses can socialise and see each other.

Traditional Stable Advantages 

  • Each stable has a window providing adequate ventilation
  • Easier to clean isolation stables rather than the whole barn
  • Individual stables reduce the chances of cross infections
  • Each stable has its own individual access
  • You can see to one horse without disturbing the whole of the yard
  • Better for horses with specific allergies as they can have a private stable
  • Can easily add on more stables

American Barn Disadvantages

  • They can have a busy atmosphere that may stress some horses out
  • Tending to one horse late at night can disrupt the whole barn
  • Infection can spread quicker
  • Can make it harder to manage horses’ allergies

Traditional Stables Disadvantages

  • Must have separate storage for all your equipment and feed
  • Horses may feel isolated compared to American Barns
  • Provide less protection from bad weather

There is no right or wrong answer here, it just boils down to what suits you and your horse’s needs best. If you have a horse with severe allergies, a traditional stable might be best for you. On the other hand, you may have many horses that are used to being around each other - in which case an American Barn would best suit you.

Whichever you choose Jon William Stables wishes you the best of luck. And remember, we’re experts when it comes to equestrian buildings so if you have any questions, we’d love to help!


With Jon William Stables, there's no fussing about – when we’re done with a job, it’s move in ready. Full ‘turnkey’ service provided with planning permission, construction, plumbing, and electricity. Get in touch today to find out more.