Shade Fabric? Velcro for cross ties? Barn in progress pics

Phase 1 A of the LS barn build is almost complete. The goal of phase 1 A is MVP (minimum viable product) for horses to move in.

With lumber still as costly as precious metals, I’m holding off on enclosing the building. I am building fence across the long walls of the barn. Curious about using shade fabric above the fence to block some sun. I’ll need something @ 6’ wide. The total length of the barn is 45’, I’m open to using multiple pieces if need be. I think I would prefer cloth that already has grommets. I’ve found a few online sources but was curious if anyone had any particular brand recommendations or experience using shade cloth?

Also, I’ve heard of Velcro break aways for cross ties, anyone have a link for those? There is an existing concrete slab that I’d like to build a wash rack with cross ties on. For sure will need a lintel there, but am considering doing a full pergola so I could pop another shade screen on the top. Any tips on that?

Barn in progress pics!

I ended up going with a metal building less the siding. AKA a carport. I’ll use corral panels to make two temporary “stalls” in the back half of this building @ 15x20 each and park my horse trailer and tractor in the front half, leaving an “aisle” next to the horse trailer for grooming etc. I’ll keep my supplies and a bit of hay in my trailer. Feed in an old deep freeze. So that’s my Phase 1 A. The ventilation will be on point at least lol.


Smart to put it on an elevated pad, that will really help keep it dry.
It is so very nice to be able to work out of the weather, priceless.

Thanks for the pictures, may help someone else’s plans.
Let us know how it progresses and what you like or would like a bit different once in use?


Try Farmtek for shade cloth. They have many options and will do custom cuts.

Looks like a great start!


:+1: ON your design putting the barn inside your pasture
I did pretty much the same with a standard pole barn - sacrifice paddock around the front & sides, opening to pastures on either side.
Makes Life so much easier as horses turn themselves in/out & even a non-horseperson can feed.

Can’t help you with the fabric or velcro questions, but both sound practical.
This is from Year 1 - horses in sacrifice area, stalls are stage right on the opposite wall of the barn from the one with the service door in the pic. Dutch doors in the back left open 24/7/365:

Stalls from inside:


Well for crossties, velcro is not really necessary. I just use baling twine, with a loop for a snap on the end of it. Not fancy, not expensive, “breakaway” is built in just in case you need it in an emergency. Gets even better when it gets a bit frayed, old. If it breaks, easily and cheaply replaced, or just tie a knot. Attach them high on either side of your grooming stall, so that when you unsnap them, they don’t hang onto the ground, stay suspended. If you have a three sided grooming stall (rather than in an aisle), you won’t get too many emergency situations needing the cross ties to break, the solid wall behind them will eliminate the option to pull back, the sides give “protection”, and they don’t usually “bull forward” to break the ties, it seems. IF something happens, the twine will break before anything else does. A good grooming stall is about 9 feet wide. And as long as it needs to be.

For shade fabric (we used it in our hay barn to stop the snow blowing in), we used “plastic burlap”. I think the stuff we got was 5 feet wide, (maybe 4’), and in a roll 50 feet long. It was cheap. Easy to put up, screwed it on with “battons” onto the walls of the barn, and uprights. It has lasted well, we have high winds.


On the shade question, you can try this company, they know their stuff, is where most SW horse people get their screens:

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Velcro doesn’t like to be wet. It loses some of its “stickiness” so it may not work as well depending on what you are using it for. I find a lot of the heavy duty more difficult to peel apart. Some of it is lousy finger dexterity versus just plain tough. It also can accumulate quite a lot of debris which can cut down on performance and can be a big PITA to clean. I found that a little brush from the shoe repair shop helps. The brush is a 1x3" or so and has brass bristles and it usually says “for use on suede”.

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Like so many people, I use the crossties with Velcro built in. Zero complaints. These are what mine are like:

With that said, two long lead ropes with baling twine on the end makes equally safe crossties IMO.

While I have seen lots of pictures of people using shade fabric, my only first hand experience was at a boarding barn where I kept my horses from 2017-2018. They converted a huge pole structure into a horse barn, but the ends orienting E/W were completely open. The wind would whip through the barn, not to mention rain/snow drenching the end stalls.

Since the openings were so large that doors/walls were a serious construction project, they tried several “cheap” mitigation strategies to lessen the problem in the interim, including shade fabric. They installed the shade fabric with this heavy duty cable system. It looked well installed and secure, but Mother Nature just laughed. The wind shredded it in less than a week. It’s worth noting, this is not a particularly windy area, either.

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The site Bluey posted looks great! I love shade fabric.

Beware I recently purchased a section, custom, from a place near Chicago. The binding was flimsy even though I paid extra for an inner core.

I did buy some years ago from a company on ebay that was fantastic. I think it’s like the product from Bluey’s post. This has been the BEST purchase. I also first used it on my hay shed to keep out snow and rain, I think it’s been up through at least three winters. Works perfectly. Two years ago purchased it for a quick fix on the side of a run in, works so well I am not replacing the top wall.

I think the key is to use the small “ball” bungies on every grommet and keep it tight. The bungies provide a bit of flex, but the fabric really doesn’t move. The pictures from the site Bluey posted show installation using the small bungies.

The only damage I’ve had was in a corner where the bungies broke and I didn’t fix them. I have a lot of wind and snow!

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Per shade cloth company I’ve recently spoken with: the key to avoiding damage from wind is to keep the shade cloth taut. Damage arises when wind can get a purchase and start whipping it around.


Prefabricated " mare motel" type barns are that open. If you can put solid wood walls on just the short sides do you really need anything more than just some round pen panels to make stalls + runs?

It does depend on which way the Winter winds come and your overall climate but it worked fine for the boarding barn in CA that I was at.

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I used shade cloth over me dog kennels for about 5 years and never had a problem. I bought the shade tarps available at TSC that has grommets and secured them with zip ties. I live in a VERY windy area and they always did well.

We also use a loop of bailing twine to make our cross ties break away. It works well. If you want to have the rope stay with the horse, put the twine at the wall end of the rope. If you have a horse that would spook if it was loose with a rope hanging off its halter, put the twine on the horse end of the rope.

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Thank you. It was a struggle finding someone to do the dirt and rock work but thankfully we got it done. The contractor found the high point in the yard and built the pad so that the lowest point in the pad is 8” over grade of the aforementioned high point in the yard.

Thank you for the suggestion for Farmtek.

I keep trying to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day lol. Eventually, I’ll do board and batten siding to match the house.

Your place is very very nice!

Ease of use for a non horse person to feed was a priority when I laid out my little design. Interestingly, it turns out the ladies ( a mom and daughter ) that live next door to us had horses in their younger years and have already offered to take care of horses if we need. Very sweet ladies. I figure if it’s set up so that basic care can be done without opening any gates or going in with the horses it will be easier to find farm sitting help!

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Are you still able to buy hay baled with “grass” string? That stuff breaks nicely. Locally produced hay is baled with nylon string these days and it doesn’t break near as easily as the old grass string did.

I won’t cross tie in an aisle. And I never hard tie. I’ve been using blocker tie rings for everything but was curious to try the Velcro as I understand it’s located closer to the horse’s halter so if horse does get in a pickle there aren’t ropes swinging everywhere.

Thank you for the link. I will check them out!

That is good to know. Thank you for sharing!

We have a hay farm, make our own. Do you mean “sissel” twine? If so, no, we use the orange (or blue) plastic stuff for small square bales, and the thinner stuff for the round bales. I use the small square twine for my cross ties, thicker than the round bale twine. But sissel twine works just fine too. And as I say, with a grooming stall, there isn’t a lot of pulling back or breaking the ties anyway, and the twine I use breaks as necessary, if necessary.

I had a friend years ago who was boarding at a place that had chain cross ties. Her horse reared up in the ties, and fell over backwards. And was suspended upside down by the chains. A wreck. Have also similarly “admired” those with elastic inserts, which make things snap back onto the horses face when they break. Really, the baling twine is the best option!!! Not fancy, but very functional. Just another of the many potential uses for excess baling twine.

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Thank you for the screen shot of the Velcro cross ties. I will try those.

I don’t trust baling twine to break when it should. Perhaps I’m paranoid? One too many wrecks with tied horses maybe. My personal favorite is tying in the horse’s stall. But that’s not a good place to bathe a horse.

I’m a bit concerned about the screen shredding too. The plant nurseries use it a lot here, might go ask them what works too!