In this article, we are going to cover some of the basic costs that go into build a barn, indoor arena, outdoor arena, fencing and even footing. This is a great place to start for anyone looking to build an equestrian facility! And because we cover all facets of such a project, those of you who only want a barn, for example, should find this useful as well.
This is quite a long article, so feel free to use the links below to jump to the section you are interested in:
- Costs to Build a Barn
- Miscellaneous Barn Costs
- Costs to build an Indoor Arena
- Costs to build an Outdoor arena
- Costs for Arena Footing
- Costs for Fencing
- Costs for Run-In Sheds
If you’ve been involved with horses for some time, it would only be natural to have thought about owning a horse property, and there are a few ways one can do this. You can:
- Purchase a turn-key facility.
- Purchase an existing facility that needs renovating. It might be cheaper to acquire than #1 but renovations can get very costly, very quickly.
- Buying vacant land, or a property with an existing residence, and building a barn/facility.
- Building the facility on a property you already own.
Some people simply want a small barn and some paddocks with run-in shed to make up their facility. Others require a state of the art training operation. And there are many variations in between.
Our dream has always been to purchase a piece of property with an existing residence and build both a barn and outdoor arena with good all-weather footing to use in the warmer months. We’d then board our horses during the winter. The right property for us hasn’t come up yet but there are all sorts of variations to making up your dream horse farm.
PLEASE NOTE: the costs presented here are only ESTIMATES. There are so many variables that go into such a project and it is impossible to get an accurate cost of everything with knowing exactly what your property is like and knowing exactly what you want. Costs are in Canadian Dollars unless otherwise stated.
Let’s begin with building the barn…
The cost of building a barn is going to depend on a number of things, some of which include:
- Size. The wider you want to go the more expensive it is going to be.
- Labour costs in your area.
- Material costs in your area as well as the type of materials you choose to use (e.g. steel vs. wood).
- Whether you “Self Build” and manage the site or use a Contractor.
- Style of the barn
- Whether or not you require a zoning variance to build the barn (this can get very costly).
- Building Permit Costs
Your options for building a barn typically include a barn kit or prefabricated barn, using a barn builder/contractor or going completely custom using architects to draw up your ideas and then using a builder/contractor to build them.
On average, you should expect to pay anywhere from $30 – $80 per square foot for a barn, sometimes more depending on how fancy you want to get.
Here is a break down of some of the costs…
1. Barn Kit / Prefabricated Option
We’ll use DC Structures as an example. They build extraordinary barns and offers beautiful barn kits. Although started in the US, they do service Canada as well. We highly recommend checking out some of their projects!
Their kits range from US $38,485 to $200,000 (~$52,000 – $271,000 CAD). Or an average of CAD $33.90 per square foot. They offer a variety of style options, each of which come with upgrade and customisation options.
These kits typically offer the choice for adding in an upstairs apartment as well, which is ideal for those that need accommodations for barn staff.
However, these are smaller barns and likely won’t work for those needing a large facility. But they could be work for those of you who want a cost-effective way to keep your horses at home.
The barn kit costs, and generally all prefab builds don’t include shipping, land preparation, pouring of a foundation and often times roofing is excluded as well.
Most barn kits and prefab. projects are either self-managed (to keep the costs down) or a local contractor can be hired to help you.
2. Using a Barn Builder
From what we have seen, about $30 – $45 per square foot is what you can expect to pay to build a pole barn.
A timber frame, post and beam barn can run you about $50-$100 per square foot.
For a steel barn, you are looking at an average of $25 – $40 per square foot.
This again varies depending on the finishes you want, your customisations, what company you go with, and all of the other variables we listed earlier.
3. Going Completely Custom
Well, we can’t exactly give you a cost estimate to build a custom barn but expect it to cost quite a lot. Of course, this is going to depending on what materials you use, how high-end you go with finished and customizations, etc. When you go to a barn builder or contractor, oftentimes they have basic “outlines” of projects that you can choose from.
When you go custom, just by virtue of needing to hire an architect to draw up your plans and have a builder start from scratch on your project, you’ll likely be spending more than the other two options above.
Miscellaneous and Additional Barn Costs
Building Permit costs:
These costs are often different from one municipality to the next. To get an accurate cost you should call your municipality or visit their website. Typically, you can use the below formula to get an idea of permit costs:
Permit fee = SI x A
- SI = Service Index for classification of proposed work (see municipality for this amount, it can vary depending on what you are building).
As an example, It costs $2.91/m2 in Hamilton for farm buildings.
- A = Floor Area (in m2) of work involved.
$1,200 to $5,000. Possibly more. This depends entirely on how much clearing, leveling and excavating need to be done. If you need to demolish any existing building that will add to the cost as well. The cost will also be different if you do some of the site prep yourself vs. If you hire someone to do it for you.
$5,000 and $24,000. Naturally, this depends on the size, style, and roofing materials you choose for your roof.
$900 and $1,900. Again, it depends on how much you need to be done. If you have an accessory apartment above the barn it may cost more to insulate that the estimated prices here.
Plumbing and Electrician Labour:
$50-$150 per hour. Again, this may vary depending on your area and the company you work with.
$400 and $2,000. But again, this is going to be dictated primarily by the size of the area that needs to be painted.
- Concrete: $5-$10 per square foot. You can get the concrete floor brushed or textures to provide a little more traction.
- Interlocking brick: $8 – $15 per square foot.
- Wood Flooring: $8-$12 per square foot
- Laminate Flooring (for areas like viewing and locker rooms): $6-$8 per square foot
- Interlocking Pavers: We have seen as low as $3.50 – $8.50 per square foot ($4.75 – $11.53 CAD) Former from EVOPAVE, Latter for TRU-STEP Pavers. We have also seen other companies quote up to $32 ($43 CAD) for rubber pavers as well. Best to shop around.
- Rubber Matting in Stalls: $3.50 per sq ft. You are looking at around $500 for a 12×12 stall. But sometimes companies decrease their pricing per mat depending on how many you are ordering like this company here.
- Stall Mattress: Over CAD $800 for a 10×10 stall from StableComfort. This is for their basic mattress. So if my math is correct you are looking at about $8 per square foot for this size of the stall.
- Polylast Flooring: Depending on who you go to, you are looking at about $10 – $16 per square foot. They are great for wash stalls! You can get your personal quote from Polylast Systems.
The Indoor Arena
Size will matter here (both in length, width, and height) as will the materials you choose for your indoor arena and how high end you go in terms of finishes, lighting, doors, windows, and so on.
The costs can also vary greatly depending on how much land preparation needs to be done in order for the arena to be built.
Going through multiple resources and receiving quotes from different builders, we have seen an average of: $15 to $30 per square foot to build your indoor arena. As with everything horse related though, the costs can easily go higher than this. It would be wise to budget for around CAD $150,000-$300,000 for the average-sized arena at 80’ x 200’.
If you decide to go with a coverall arena we have seen an average of $120,000 – $160,000 installed.
The great news is, you can also get an ‘arena kit’ or prefabricated arena to go along with your horse barn kit! The bad news is, with prefab. you are often restricted by size.
From DC Structures, their maximum-sized arena kit is 90×120. HOWEVER, they can make modifications for you to get a larger arena but of course, this will cost more. Their pre-made size options range from 60×120 to 90×120 and are priced accordingly at $127,000 – $173,000 (~ CAD$172,000 to $230,00).
The Outdoor Arena
Again, this is going to depend greatly on the site, how much leveling needs to be done. How many rocks need to be removed or even blasted through. The soil type on your land will also be a factor in pricing. Fencing and if required, Lighting will also be a factor that impacts the total price for your outdoor arena.
You’ll probably be looking at about $25,000-50,000 for a 100 x 200 outdoor sand arena.
When building an outdoor arena there are two extremely important elements. One is the leveling of the ground. No matter how flat your land seems, it likely isn’t as flat as you think. The second is the drainage. Installing a good drainage system might be costly at the beginning but you will be happy you made the investment when you don’t have massive puddles in your arena after a rainstorm.
We cannot talk about footing with at least mentioning the base below your footing. It is a very important component!
As Alex von Hauff with Strathcona Ventures said in an interview with Horse Journals: “You can spend a million dollars on the base and $5,000 on sand and you’ll be happy. If you spend $5,000 on the base and a million on sand, you’ll always be unhappy. Spend most of your money on your base and drainage.”
We agree with this statement but still think footing is essential for the soundness and comfort of your horse.
From what we’ve found, your base install is likely going to be around $1.50-$3 per sq ft.
As for the footing:
You should be able to have this trucked in $15 and $40 per cubic yard.
Min. Order at 2000 lbs is about $0.19/lb
This is the same footing that was recently put in at Angelstone. You’ll require approximately 10,000-140000 lbs for an 80 x 200 arena. According to the GGT footing website, you’ll be looking at a price of USD$10,900 – $15,260 (~CAD $14,700-$26,000) just for the footing.
The creme de la creme of footing is Travel Lite or TravelRight (offered by Footing First). You can expect to pay close to $100,000 for a 100 x 200 arena. ($5 per sq ft). However, there are other options offered by Footing First that ranged from $1.50-$5 per sq.ft.
There are a variety of options out there as far as footing goes. Most footing companies offer a free consultation. So whether you are starting from scratch or want to upgrade your footing, you should contact an expert to get an idea of what the footing is going to cost you.
And again, do not forget to factor in the cost of adding a good base!
Fencing is a necessary component on every horse farm.
1 acres = ~ 800 linear feet
Please note: ALL COST AND FENCE TYPES CAN BE VIEWED ON SYSTEM EQUINE’S WEBSITE HERE. The below have been taken from their website as estimates:
- Posts: $6.50 – $30 per post
- Wood: $15.99 per 16’
- Wire Mesh: $800 – $950 depending on height per 165 feet
- Flexible: $635 – $735 per 660 feet
- Electric Braid: $155 per 660’ / $285 per 1320’
If you are installing the fence yourself there will be other bits and bobs you’ll need to like insulator ends for electric braid fencing, brackets, tensioners, and so on, all at an extra cost.
System Equine is the best company for fencing in Ontario. We recommend consulting with them for your fencing needs.
If you are handy and able to install the fencing on your own, then it might be worth exploring local hardware stores as they carry wood posts and rails, as well as some flexible fencing options as well.
We have looked at a number of companies and Brubachers seems to be the most cost-effective. They quote $2,000 to $3700 depending on the size you want.
North Country Sheds is another good company but a quote must to requested from them directly.
The above prices do not include the cost of shipping as of course, that would be location dependant.
Being able to get multiple quotes directly from companies and contractors is going to be your best bet for accurately costing out a project like this.
If you’ve ever gone to a tack shop, selected like 3 items and had your bill somehow come to $479.89… that’s what it seems like to build a horse farm. There are often unexpected costs that come up and costs add up quickly!
In reality, for a higher-end facility, with good footing and a barn with over 20 stalls, you should expect to pay over $1,000,000 easily. This might be fine if you already own the property but purchasing even vacant land these days is not cheap. Naturally, a small private facility won’t cost this much, and if you just want a barn, it will cost even less. It all depends on what you need.
For reference, at the end of 2019, the average sold price for a horse farm in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area was just over $1,200,000. The majority sold were smaller properties and hobby farms with an equestrian component. A good majority of the listings priced above this are still currently listed or were taken off of the market.
As of writing this article, the average price is around: $3,200,000. If you’re looking for a turn-key facility you should expect to pay anywhere from $2.5 – $3.5 million these days.
As mentioned earlier, another way to go about buying a horse property might be to buy one that needs updates and costing those out instead of buying a turn-key operation.
We can set you up on an equestrian real estate market watch so you can keep up to date with horse farm prices based on your criteria HERE.
For a list of trusted builders, footing companies, and other experts please contacts us directly here.