Considering an Equestrian Building Project?

Middleburg Eccentric

A growing percentage of our business in the greater Middleburg area has been beautiful equestrian facilities. Some have been in conjunction with separate residential renovations, others incorporated grooms quarters or apartments for weekend getaways or guests and others have been multi-barn complexes. We’ve even “rescued” a client from a project that went sour with their previous builder. In each case, we brought BOWA’s 30 years of experience, proven processes and network of specialized vendors and tradespeople to bear to deliver quality, value and beautiful functionality.

When approached for an equestrian renovation, my mission is to learn about the owner’s goals and needs, then provide valuable guidance. The truth is, I’m not the right fit for every barn project. For a simple structure, I’m probably more “horsepower” than you need, but I’m always happy to share my experience and point folks in the right direction. However, for complex buildings, higher-levels of finishes, situations where the owner is remote and other more-complicated needs and scenarios, BOWA is the perfect choice.

A successful equestrian project requires proper and thorough planning. Great forethought must be given to ensure the welfare of the animals, functionality, environmental stewardship, aesthetics and overall feasibility. An experienced team can guide you through a detailed planning process to determine how best to balance your priorities, needs and goals to ensure smooth construction and a successful result.

Consider the Site

The first step is to carefully evaluate the site, taking the time to do research as needed. Important considerations include zoning restrictions, easements, sufficient acreage, optimal layout, availability of utilities and any homeowner association or town requirements/limitations. It is best to uncover any limitations or challenges prior to beginning design.

Facilities and Functionality

It’s always beneficial to create a list of needs, wants and maybes. With both current and long-term usage in mind, consider the type of construction you want, the number of horses to accommodate, tack and storage needs, sleeping quarters, wash needs, aisle widths, and style preferences. Do you need a riding arena or ring or more than one structure? An experienced professional can also help you to consider air quality, manure management, temperature regulation, drainage, insulation and other aspects critical to the success of your project. There are many, many pieces to the puzzle and each needs to be carefully vetted and weighed against your budget goals before construction begins.

Pasture Planning

As important as what’s under roof, is carefully planning for your pasture needs. How many pastures are needed, are they for show horses or larger feeding areas, where do you need water access, are they easily accessible and have I considered maintenance are all questions that should be asked and answered during the design phase.

These points are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning for successful equestrian construction, which can be as complicated as any whole-house remodel or new home project. With years of experience in this arena, I know that the time spent in careful planning, value engineering and thoughtful design goes a long way in terms of delivering quality, value and an equestrian remodeling experience you can enjoy.

Tim Burch is a Vice President of BOWA, an award-winning design and construction firm specializing in renovations ranging from master suites and kitchens to whole-house remodels. A Northern Virginia native and third-generation builder, Tim enjoys calling on his 30 years of design build experience to solve clients’ home-related challenges. He is the Construction Advisor for The Mosby Heritage Area Association and sits on the Board of Building Appeals for Fauquier County. Prior to joining BOWA, Tim was the Lead Project Manager of Construction for the Emmy Award winning construction reality television show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC Television. For more information on Tim and the BOWA team, visit or call 540-687-6771.