Sunday 14 August 2022

Summer Barn Updates

I’ve been beating myself up for the minimal barn progress that I feel like I’ve been making this summer. In all fairness though, it’s a bit hard to be your own contractor when you also have a full time job, get Covid, still want to ride and take a vacation…etc etc :)

Looking around this morning though, I think there has been progress worth documenting. An hour here or there tacked on to regular pony chores eventually had to add up! 

A short list of July/Aug barn improvements:

- WATER! In the spirit of DIY, I learned how to be a plumber in the beginning of July. Or at least enough of one to tie into an existing tee we put in when we had the house water service redone a few years back. It ended up being a 200’ run to the barn and despite renting a little machine, I used two work vacation days on raking and shoveling. Also on a 100 year old house there are many old pipes in the ground and we may have initially dug up and identified the wrong tee ;) But I have water! At the barn! 

Hydrant at the fence line and one at the barn. No more garden hoses required!

- Barn interior renos. Remove all the nasty chicken coop mess and garbage a tenant I’ll now hate forever installed in the barn (so gross! So many truckloads of wire and old junk to the dump) New gravel base installed, new plywood on bottom of walls, barn is pony safe once more.

I should have taken a before picture, but it was so awful and discouraging to see it so trashed. Imagine someone put used boards, pallets, and wire covering the whole interior and never cleaned up anything from the chickens and you might get close to how gross and un horse friendly it was. It took days to get all the nails and wire off and 4+ truck loads of junk to the dump.

- Barn exterior upgrades. Built and installed a gate on back of barn so I can leave the doors open in nice weather. Installed a new post supporting the front roof. The old one was compromised and someone’s fat itchy bum *cough Bridget cough* really did a number on it. Replacing posts is going to be ongoing, but for now I can check the urgent ones off as done.

Back of the barn. I really like how this turned out, now I can slide the big doors open in the morning and ponies can have a room with a view.

Front of barn featuring a new centre post :)

Front of barn. Stall doors on left, feed/tack straight ahead. It used to be two 10x10 stalls, but now it’s just one big one with the two doors and I’m liking it that way.

To make myself feel better re: my progress, here’s a back of barn before pic May 2021. Things have definitely changed! 

Front of barn before. When it’s all really done I’ll have to recreate these picture angles exactly, there’s a new fence line and paddock here now and some nice rose bushes and a garden in front of the barn on the right side.

Front of barn before

- Yard cleanup. All the old construction waste from demolishing tenants old creations over the winter finally went to the dump and the whole place is rider lawnmower/Bridget friendly at last.

Perfect for napping and eating now

This was maybe 1/4 of the brush and construction waste we took away.

- Poles painted, jump standards ready. What can I say, this was so low priority, but I needed something easy to do when I was feeling like garbage. I now have a set of jumps ready and waiting.


- Rubber mats installed in barn (soon). Person bought a house locally and found them in the backyard and didn’t know what they were for but they’re actually the proper stall mats and they’re new! So of course I bought them :)

- Manure bin (soon)

- Drainage for ring installed. Existing ditches piped and filled (Sept) 

- Shelter/tractor storage build in spare paddock (Oct/Nov)

- Continued perimeter fencing (Ongoing)

- Extend roof on barn for grooming area (Oct/Nov)

- Arena base added (October -ish) 

I feel like this is the cheapest and slowest barn reno ever, but I suspect there are more than a few of us out there not wanting to spend a fortune and trying to fit such projects in around a real job. I can’t be alone in this! 



  1. love those new barn gates! must feel so satisfying to clear out all the old junk omg

    1. Memorable day for sure when got rid of the last load of it! Building those gates is actually super satisfying too, for a minute or two I considered a little side business! Then I quickly realized I make way more money at my day job and I own horses so I need money lol

  2. Holy cow those before/afters though 🤩🤩 it may feel slow to you but watching your progress from afar is so inspiring!

    1. Right? Was feeling a bit discouraged re: progress this morning then I dug those pics out for this post and now I feel pretty great seeing the difference :D

    2. Completely agreed!! It looks amazing! I am also so impressed with the scope of the projects you have taken on, I would have zero idea how to replace posts, hang doors that actually open properly, etc etc!

    3. I have zero idea half the time too, but I don't mind puttering around and planning things out in great detail. The results are mixed, but I enjoy trying. Google and Youtube are handy in a crisis and my stepdad and my the neighbour are valuable resources when I'm really stuck on something or need big machinery.

  3. You've made a TON of progress and the barn is SO cute!

  4. Love your barn! Also every place with a barn we have bought (2 now) had so much crap in there left by owner. The first one in TX literally took us months to get all of it out and it was piled up to the stall doors. HORRIBLE. This one was better, they still left some stuff but overall cleaned it out (ONLY cause we put it in the contract they had to !LOL). I cant wait for you to get even more things done. Looks amazing. Also I wish you would come build gates and do plumbing projects for me. I need help :)

    1. Turns out tenants do the same thing! In another life I think I might have liked to have been some kind of specialty tradesperson, building and fixing things has always appealed to me.

  5. This is looking awesome. I admire you for all the hard work you are doing. I wonder if putting a scratching post in the field would limit the scratching on the actual structural posts? Probably not but might be worth a try. Barn become a catch all for crap even when they are being used, let alone empty.

    1. There are nice trees elsewhere, she just really likes that post/the barn for some reason! Great idea though - I could 'plant' the old post in the center of her paddock and maybe that will divert her from the barn.

  6. The barn is turning out to be super cute! Just imagine what a couple of pony heads looking out over that gate are going to look like!

    1. I'm very excited for that day! This weekend's project is to get Sophie's paddock ready for her.

  7. I love your barn! By taking your time, you have thought it out very nicely. The before & after photos clearly show how much hard work has been put in. What a difference.