the perfect barn: a squeeze stile

i am smack dab in the middle of a 10-day barn sitting gig at the barn (NSCS) where amchance and i board the derps. you might recall that we’ve been there since february, and it’s been wonderful. the barn is small–only 10 horses. the BO, BO’s hubs, and the rest of the gang are terrific. it’s a tightly knit group of eventers who genuinely enjoy each other’s company. interestingly, the fact that trainers come in to teach once or twice a week–rather than being on-site full time–has also been great. it’s a really quiet and low-stress environment.

anyway, since i’ve been “managing operations” at NSCS, i’ve been thinking a lot about barn/facility design and efficiencies. don’t get me wrong, NSCS is pretty darn perfect. but i’m an improver by nature–always thinking about how to build a better mousetrap.

i’m doing some research on a few of these items in order to expand on them, so i think i’ll start a series featuring some of the things i think contribute to building a better barn (assuming money is unlimited, of course, and building from scratch):

first up, the squeeze stile and its variants. a stile is an arrangement of steps [or posts] that allows people–but not animals–to climb over or through a fence or wall. i think most people are aware of the stile, but may not know what it’s called. for those of us who have foxhunted or evented, a stile may be even more familiar.

and here is a good example of a human stile:
but the type of stile i’m claiming is utterly necessary for an efficient barn is the squeeze stile. here is the simplest iteration. it’s simply a human-sized pass-through.


I am so over latching, unlatching, latching, and wrangling gates and chains when i need to get into and out of a paddock when i need to retrieve a feed pan, or wrangle a hose, or simply smooch my horse.

or there is the Y-shaped squeeze stile. a little more complicated in design, and perhaps a bit less appealing to a curious horse?

V gate

and there is this prefab design, appropriately called the C Gate. (sadly, i can’t find the website again. bad blogger!)

to me, a squeeze stile in every paddock is perhaps the single most significant improvement i would make to any barn. what to do you think? essential, or silly indulgence?


16 thoughts on “the perfect barn: a squeeze stile

  1. New reader here! I’ve honestly never been at a barn that had one (I don’t think) but I LOVE the idea! Could also be good for safety too because there’s less gate opening/closing so in the situation of a larger boarding barn, so less opportunities for someone to not latch the gate.


  2. We tried to put a squeeze stile in our big arena, but it ended up being too big, and one of the horses got out. I still like them, especially the Y design. It’s a bit easier for me to get through.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always loved these at the barns I’ve been at that have had them. So much easier than doing gates or trying to squeeze my fat ass under the fence.


  4. i’ve never seen one of these – but they sound sooooo clever! i’m constantly saying that the hardest part of getting used to a new barn is learning how to latch and unlatch all the various gates etc… and this solves that problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Definitely an indulgence, but not a silly one! I love the idea. I’ve taken advantage of accidental squeeze stiles (oops our posts were put the wrong distance apart and we have to wait to fix it!) and appreciated them a LOT.

    Liked by 1 person

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