Cold and snowy Northeast Ohio weather shortens the amount of time one can comfortably ride a horse outdoors.
“We sit next to a park,” says Pat Klodt, “and it’s okay for my wife to ride her horses in the summer or in decent weather, but she wanted to be able to ride all year long.”
Klodt and his wife, Becky, wanted to build an arena and barn facility on their property near Alliance, Ohio, but they wanted a structure that would fit both their needs and their budget. After seeing an advertisement for ClearSpan equestrian structures, Klodt’s interest was piqued. Eventually, the Klodts decided a ClearSpan facility would be the optimal way to train and ride the horses all year long. Klodt designed the structure to fit his needs and was active in the building process.
The Klodt building is a Tension Fabric roof with a galvanized steel frame, explains Joe Teixeira, with ClearSpan National Sales. The dimensions of the building are 83 feet wide X 135 feet long. The building has partial end walls with a 12×12 rollup doors.
“The Klodts built the building themselves, including the five stalls in one end,” says Teixeira. “They really thought outside the box with the design and ultimate construction. The building also incorporates natural ventilation and high efficiency lighting for nighttime use.”
The five stalls, which are 4 feet x 6 feet x 16 feet, are Priefert stalls from Straight A’s in Minerva, Ohio. The stalls are lined up along the front wall of the building, with haymows built over each one. Each stall door opens directly into the arena. The entire look of the structure is open and welcoming.
A challenge in building the stalls was coming up with flooring that would keep bedding dry. “Here in Ohio, we’re on a lot of clay and we don’t have the best drainage,” Klodt says. He dug the stalls six inches deep and filled the area with gravel. Then he used Stall Skins rather than rubber mats to allow for better drainage. Only the wash stall has a concrete floor.
Using the available space efficiently was a priority in designing the facility. The haymows are above the stalls – and the expanse of the roof provides a lot of space for hay storage. There’s also a couple feet of space between the top of the stall dividers and rafters, and it is in this otherwise unused space Klodt added lighting. “I put the lighting there to protect it from the horses,” he says. “If the horses are fooling around, they can’t bust the lights and cause damage.”
Klodt takes advantage of Mother Nature as much as possible when it comes to heating, cooling, and lighting. For example, the wind comes from the southwest, so in the summer, it hits the building in such a way that the heat blows right through the structure. “That keeps the temperature comfortable even on warm summer days,” he says. For the winter, Klotz added two roll-up curtains in the back to close off the arena and keep the wind and cold out.
One of the things that attracted Klodt the most was how the fabric roof allows natural light into the facility. “My wife has a horse trainer who uses a regular pole barn, and it’s dark inside. When we looked at the ClearSpan, we thought that it was the nicest thing in the world to go into on a sunny day.”
In fact, it was this natural lighting that attracted Klodt to this type of structure. It provided the closest simulation to outdoor riding, which was important to the Klodts. The arena is shrouded in sunlight, but protected from the elements.
The fabric roof provides a unique atmosphere for night riding, too. Six lamps are used to provide illumination. The way the lamps are situated, the light reflects off the ClearSpan roof and creates an even light throughout the building, without shadows.
Klodt uses radiant heating to add some warmth to the building, but that’s the only heating in the structure. “The arena allows my wife to ride out of the wind and the other elements,” he says. With the radiant heat, it is comfortable riding inside, even when the temperatures outside are sub-freezing.
The arena floor is two inches of sand and 28,000 pounds of rubber crumb, but Klodt admits that, if he had to do it over again he would have only put down an inch of sand. When asked why, he said if the sand is too dry, the horses have to work a lot harder. The extra inch of sand is more difficult to keep wet and soft.
While overall the ClearSpan building fit Klodt’s needs and desires for a horse facility, Klodt still needed to make a few tweaks to the design. Around the sides of the arena are ClearSpan piers, but Klodt saw these as an area of concern for horse safety. “What I did was took a 2×8 all the way around the arena,” Klodt says. “We tacked privacy curtains to the top and anchored it to the bottom. It makes the horse think there is a solid wall there, but if the horse happens to kick it, there is flexibility in the structure to keep the horse from injury.”
Klodt pointed out one final aspect of the building, one that takes advantage of the surrounding landscape, which includes nearby Walborn Reservoir. The stalls, he says, are set four feet from the front of the building. “We have a beautiful view of the lake,” Klodt says. “We put in a park bench, and we can sit there and look out at the scenery. If it’s raining, we’re under shelter, and life is good.” RB
This CD features informative articles about creating a practical and professional place for your horses to call home.
• 28 stories about horse barn projects
• Veterinary facilities
• Practical barn design
• Ventilation, insulation guidelines
• Stalls, flooring and fencing