A 2003 Barnmaster barn has been donated to LOPE!
We are really excited about this gift and want to thank the Malone family for their tremendous generosity. LOPE can now start the Homestretch Heroes Rehabilitation Program. With the new rehab barn, LOPE can take in more seriously injured racehorses that need stall rest and longer rehab care.
In conjunction with this donation, LOPE is focusing its 2008 Capital Campaign on raising funds for the barn foundation, installation and electric wiring, while also starting a special surgery fund for racehorses with knee and ankle chips. Please visit the 2008 Capital Campaign page to learn more.
The barn has five stalls, plus a tack room, front porch and side lean-to (for storing farm equipment). Thanks to Tri-County Barns, the barn has been disassembled and is waiting to be delivered here — once we've completed the foundation and concrete work.
When I heard that such a nice, big barn was being donated to LOPE, I was thrilled! But then I realized all the things I didn't know about barn construction. My head was spinning just thinking about foundation construction, concrete work and barn moving logistics.
Then I talked with Kay at Lucas and Liebe — she explained that the first step is to build a foundation or dirt pad for the barn. Joey at Tri-County gave me the specifications: about 8 inches high and at least 10 feet wider than the barn itself (which is 48 ft by 48 ft). And he recommended the type of dirt — caleche, which is a local material here in Texas.
Armed with this information, I started calling dirt contractors. They all had different information for me. One would take several days to do the job, as his dirt source was far away, requiring long round trips for delivery. Another recommended crushed limestone instead of caleche. And a third had multiple trucks available for delivery, but was having trouble locating a calache source near us.
All of them agreed on one thing: the job was going to be more expensive this year, due to diesel fuel costs.
We decided on a local dirt contractor, Denis, to install the foundation. He was fast, knowledgeable and liked our ex-racehorses, too! Plus he was recommended by one of our neighbors, Hycourt Farm, as Denis had completed their barn foundation and arena footing.
He brought his heavy equipment and smoothed down the barn site, prepping it for the massive quantities of dirt to come. Then he carefully measured to see how level our site was — he explained that he'd build up the foundation on one side to create a perfectly-level barn pad.
Over the next two days, twelve giant truckloads of dirt arrived. After each load, Denis would smooth and pack the dirt into a symmetrical surface.
I was impressed by the result — our completed barn foundation is strong, level and drains well. For the first time, the new barn seems truly "real."
As you can see from the photo, the horses here are ready for their new barn — in fact, one bay mare is getting downright impatient!