If you’re lucky enough to have purchased property with no horse-related improvements on it—such as a barn, a pipe corral or two, a tackroom, and a hay shed—you can design and build nearly anything you want to. (Be sure to check with local ordinances regarding size, etc. before you start.) You can also build it any where you want to.
I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of location because the wind has been blowing steadily for over a week now. I have to close my eyes when I drop hay into the horses’ feeders because otherwise chaff blows straight up the feeder into my eyes. It also gets into my hair and clothes. Even the sweatshirt I always wear this time of year under my heavy jacket has alfalfa leftovers on it. Last night my husband caught me while I was taking my boots off and said, “You’re not going into the house like that. You’ll get alfalfa all over the furniture.” While he brushed my sweatshirt off, I ran both hands through my hair and leaned over. More chaff.
My husband and I built the house from scratch, to our specifications, and we did take north, south, east, and west under consideration. What we didn’t think about—because neither of us has lived in the high desert before—is that it’s unusually windy out here. (He grew up in San Diego, I grew up in New Jersey.) We live in a canyon in the foothills, and most of the time the wind—a pleasant, off-and-on breeze—comes in from the ocean carrying moisture. Some mornings when I go to feed I can see the marine layer to the southeast of us. Other times we’re lost in the clouds ourselves.
But when the wind isn’t blowing from the southwest, it’s blowing from the northeast, and those winds are cold. In other words, the wind either blows up the canyon (from the ocean) or down the canyon (from someplace that has glaciers—Alaska comes to mind). Very rarely do we have cross-winds. Why does what direction the wind is blowing matter? Ever tucked your shirt into your jeans before you put your jacket on only to get back inside and start scratching because you have hay chaff in your underwear? When I was still boarding Prim, before the house was finished, I called one place and she said they fed alfalfa cubes. I asked why, and she said, “Because their hay blows right out of their manger.” Right, I thought, but she wasn’t exaggerating. And, if you put up a tie rack—useful for grooming, bathing, and tacking up—I have to think which way the wind is blowing so I don’t groom my horse only to have all the dirt blow back on her.