Do’s and Don’ts for Building Your American Barn


While people have different opinions about American Barns being better than Traditional Stables, we believe it all comes down to your preferences. We’ve listed out a few pros to having an American Barn in a previous blog post, Why American Barns May Be Good for Your Horse.

Here we are going to discuss the do’s and don’ts of American Barns that will help you and your horse enjoy the barn together. The design and features of American Barns affect both the time and money you put into keeping you and your horse happy and healthy.

Whether you are considering building a brand new barn or giving your current one a redesign, here are some tips from Jon Williams Stables, 20+ years of experience building bespoke American barns.


  • Have aisles wide enough to let 2 horses pass comfortably, at least 10′ wide. 
  • Have walls only slightly above door height in there so it all feels very open, and the horses can groom each other over the walls if they want.
  • Full-height sliding doors on stalls, half walls or ‘windows’ so that horses can still put their heads into the aisle. 
  • Have lots of windows; Louvre is our favourite style, possibly Dutch doors on the outer wall.
  • As much natural light as possible, weather permitting (using clear roofing).
  • Central service areas (tack room/feed room/storerooms/office/wash stalls) rather than at one end or the other. Keeping feed, hay and bedding in the middle of the barn, especially in a large barn, means less travel distance. (16 stalls or more). 
  • Create a feed storage area that opens both to the outside of the barn for stocking and to the inside for removal, so there will be a constant rotation of hay/feed.
  • Have appropriate temperature controls – fans in hot summers and heating if winters get really cold.

horses in american barn


  • Have narrow aisles
  • Have a low roof
  • Store hay in loft areas. While it’s quite convenient to store hay in a loft and drop it into the aisle, it is not only a fire hazard but adds to the barn’s dust and allergen levels. 
  • Keep the windows closed
  • Make stall doors too narrow for wheelbarrows
  • Use latches that require two-hand operations on any doors inside the barn or outside gates and fencing.

american barn tips

These tips are only touching the surface; we have much more where this comes from and would love to discuss your specific needs over the phone. Better yet, we have the full ‘turn-key’ service at Jon William Stables. Meaning we can handle the planning permission, complete design and build with full electric and plumbing, leaving the site move-in ready the day we leave.

Give us a call today, and we can find the best way forward to creating your dream American Barn at 01380 850965.

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