Healthy Stables by Design

Someone once asked long-time FSC affiliate and award-winning equestrian architect, John Blackburn, to describe his design for the ultimate horse barn. After designing over 160 horse farms and facilities across the country, he still finds the ultimate barn impossible to define as every site, client and horse is different; no one barn fits all. His new book, Healthy Stables by Design, illustrates the main elements always considered in his structures through a series of projects with various locations, purposes, and prices. For Blackburn Architects, every project has three things: the site; the owner; the horse. While the first two may change, care and concern for the animal never does.

A leader in the niche of equestrian architecture, John Blackburn has over 35 years experience. His projects range from polo barns to thoroughbred and training facilities to therapeutic riding centers, as well as many others. Healthy Stables by Design is the first work to solely feature a collection of his projects and expand upon his approach to healthy design. Presented in large-format photographs and accompanied with sketches and drawings, this book breaks down technical principles of stable design.

Each project promotes the health and safety of the horse through strategic use of elements, such as aerodynamic principles and passive solar heating and cooling. No one would think twice about building a house that provided comfort and protection for its human inhabitants, so why should shelter for horses be any different? The designs for these structures vary based on the personalities and aspirations of the owners, just as they change for the site location. Designs for the horse farms and stables in this book have evolved from Heronwood—Blackburn’s first venture—to the storied, behemoth Thoroughbred breeding facility Sagamore Farm, to California’s Devine Ranch with its meandering code and environmental restrictions, to iterations such as the Midwest’s Pegaso Farm, built around the principles of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style architecture.

Inside the pages of this book, a reader will find more than just beautiful pictures (although there are many of those), they will also be able to discover and understand the approach behind each project- whether on the East Coast, in the sunny state of California, or anywhere in between. The book is an inspiring read for the horse owner, experienced rider, trainer, or aspiring equestrian with a love of horses and a concern for their welfare. As one devours this book, they will come to appreciate the level of care and planning for the life of the horse and the safety of the equestrian intrinsic to stable design—and how both must work together for optimal results.

Healthy Stables by Design is already available for pre-order, please check out for more information on the book, as well as to find out more about events near you. All author profits will be donated to equine charities.

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