Champion horses deserve a champion place to stay. And that’s what Neena and Knight are getting in their new horse barn on the Johnson property.
Mark and Deborah Johnson moved to northwestern Alabama about a year and a half ago, downsizing from twenty acres to seven acres. Most of their 29 show horses went to other homes, but they kept Neena, a Quarter Horse, and Knight, a Tennessee Walker. Both have World Grand Champion titles going several generations back.
Providing a quality home for their horses was important to the Johnsons. “That’s why we were so picky of the barn that we got,” Deborah says. They checked locally but could not find the quality, pre-made barn they were looking for. When they searched online for manufacturers near them, Hilltop Structures “stood out.”
“We saw the pictures and how well their barns were constructed,” says Mark who is an engineer. The couple drove the two hours to Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee, and looked at the samples in the lot. “We were really impressed with the workmanship. And the Kings were extremely nice.” This, along with the reasonable prices, proved they had found the right manufacturer and the right barn.
The two-stall, portable barn arrived just before winter. Setting up the barn “went like clockwork,” Mark says. Using a specialized machine called a mule, Hilltop owner Dave King lifted the barn onto wheels and towed it across the yard, around the house, and through two gates into the pasture where Mark had prepared a foundation pad. “It was really interesting to watch. You could tell they had done it a lot of times before.”
Before leaving the site, Dave climbed atop the barn to install the 20” copula the Johnsons had special ordered to give their barn “a classier look.”
Not yet having a water line run out to the barn, the Johnsons filled horse buckets with water and hung them up for Neena and Knight. When single digit temperatures hit the area, they fully expected the water to freeze. But to their surprise, the water had only a thin layer of ice that the horses could easily push around and still get a drink.
“I talked with other people who had other barns, and their water was frozen solid,” Deborah says. “I told them that they had to come over and see my barn.”
Mark credits the quality construction and insulated roof. “I’m impressed with how tight all the joints are. We don’t worry about mice getting in, it’s so well constructed. Usually I will see quarter inch gaps on some structures, but this is steel tight.”
As for the horses, “they love it,” says Deborah who spends quality time with Neena and Knight every day. “When it’s raining and the stall doors are open, they will put themselves in the barn.” That’s because the barn is so nice and tight, Mark says. It’s a place where the horses feel secure when bad weather comes. The barn windows and top half of the Dutch doors can be opened for air flow when the horses are inside.
Although the Johnsons have downsized, Deborah — who was born into a long line of horsemen — already plans to breed her mare Neena and knows they will need more space in the future. Fortunately for them, they know that can easily be done. “Dave said he can bring another unit in and actually connect the two barns to each other,” Deborah says. When the time comes for another barn or structure, the Johnsons will “definitely use Hilltop.”
It only makes sense – the best home for the best horses.