No Barn, No Horses?

While reading the Summer 2021 issue of Equus magazine, I found an article titled “Horsekeeping Without A Barn” by Hope Ellis-Ashburn.

My first reaction was, “hey, that’s me!” I have some open-air outbuildings but no structures with stalls. I have kept horses for almost twenty years at home without a traditional horse barn or most other equestrian amenities.

Horse barns certainly provide a lot of human convinience in the area of horse keeping. Having multiple horses all in one place, close by and contained-at-the-ready has advantages for their hands-on care and easy accessibility for riding.

The larger and busier the barn, the more typical it is to have horses in barns with stalls. Think show barns, lesson barns, breeding barns, racing barns, Summer horse camps and many boarding facilities.

But what about when you have horses in your backyard? This article makes the argument that barns are optional.

“We all have romanticized visions of the barn we would love to own one day. But sometimes a dream barn- or perhaps any barn- is out of reach. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to give up the dream of horse ownership or that you’ll have to keep horses in a way that compromises their health or happiness.. . You might even find that the barn wasn’t really the dream after all, and that a barnless lifesyle holds benefits you never even imagined.”

Hope Ellis-Ashburn

Unless I win a contest with a really big money prize, I am guessing that my own backyard will remain sans horse-barn.
It was fun to read an article by an author whose horse-keeping experience closely mimics mine.

The writer gives lots of great hints and tips for living the barnless lifesytle including about horse shelter, feed/tack storage, manure management and horse containment/control. The article makes the case that with some planning and creativity, no barn does not necessarily mean no horses.

If you would like to read the article “Horsekeeping Without A Barn,” but are not an Equus print subscriber, go to to see all the places you can read Equus online.

5 thoughts on “No Barn, No Horses?

  1. Great to read a positive response to a common issue. My bedroom was my tack room for years, best air freshener ever, everything smelt like a saddle shop. I would have had the horses in there as well but that would have changed the smell rather rapidly I’m sure. lol

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    1. Ha, ha! I can see that the fairytale of sharing a bedroom with a horse would end with the first manure deposit! Thank you for the laugh! But I bet that keeping tack close by WOULD fill the room with that delightful horse smell. 🙂

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