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  • Writer's pictureClay Nelson

Sustainable Stables: 2023 Year in Review

Updated: May 11

2023 marked a year of impactful projects and exciting growth for Sustainable Stables. Engaging in the creation of twenty-four equestrian properties across eleven states - California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia - we are excited to share our achievements and initiatives.




Private horse property, Kansas: We provided equestrian planning and design services for a private horse farm in Kansas that included a four-stall Castlebrook horse barn complete with tack, a wash bay and hay/equipment storage, along with a separate Legacy Post & Beam barn, designed in partnership with Joel Perry of Indwell Architecture & Design, for personal use and entertainment. We further assisted our client throughout the construction phase, enabling the plan to successfully be brought to life. We supplied paddock slabs and dry lot/arena edging products, both made from 100% recycled plastic, to provide an eco-friendly solution for both stall and barn aisleway flooring -- along with paddock slabs used in the dry lot and laneway directly connecting the barn to multiple pastures. A benefit we offer to all our planning & design clients, we were able to provide these products at wholesale pricing, resulting in substantial cost savings for the client.

Collectively, the overall layout we developed enables the horses to be primarily kept as one or multiple herds, with individual stalls available as needed, providing an optimal environment for horse health and well-being. To learn more about the horse-centric model implemented for this project, we encourage you to visit

This horse property in Olathe, Kansas included both a Castlebrook horse barn and a Legacy Post & Beam barn for vehicle storage and entertaining.


Servant’s Heart Ranch, South Carolina: We assisted Servant’s Heart Ranch with the planning and design of their new horse facility in Clover, SC. Servant’s Heart Ranch is an amazing non-profit organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health through equine mentorship. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2023, and included design and construction of an eight-stall shed-row barn with attached dry lot and pasture system. The project featured our paddock slabs for use in the barn’s aisle-way, stalls and attached dry lot, along with our Eco Slabs -- a unique permeable paver system -- used as flooring for the covered barn wing that will be used to welcome guests and host meetings.


We look forward to continuing to work with Servant’s Heart Ranch as they proceed with planning and design of future project phases, to include covered and outdoor riding rings, a covered round pen, additional pasture acreage, and ultimately a new 20-stall barn and welcome center to serve as the heart of the facility.

Design rendering and matching photo (mid-construction) of the new horse barn we designed for Servants Heart Ranch in Clover, South Carolina.

Bandera Farms Park, North Carolina: In late 2023, we kicked off an exciting new project with Pond & Company, a landscape architecture firm headquartered in Atlanta, GA, where we will assist POND with design and construction management of Bandera Farms Park, a 115-acre site located in the town of Summerfield, NC. Bandera Farms Park will serve as a critical part of the future Piedmont Greenway and will include an equestrian-focused trails preserve, with about 4.5 miles of dedicated horse trails paralleling the Greenway. The project is expected to last two years, with plans to open to the public in late 2025.


As a side note related to our equestrian trail planning and design services, Clay Nelson of Sustainable Stables had the opportunity to co-present a recent webinar hosted by American Trails entitled, “Got Mud: Tackling Mud and Erosion on Equestrian Trails” (you can view a recording of the webinar by clicking on the title link) alongside international leaders in equestrian trail design, including his good friend and trails mentor Jan Hancock of Hancock Resources, author of the formative book on equestrian trail design, Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads and Campgrounds.        


We are excited to be working in partnership with Pond & Co on the design of Bandera Farms Park, a destination equestrian trails and community playground project in Summerfield, North Carolina.



An exciting moment for Sustainable Stables this past year was learning that one of our recent custom designed horse barns in Michigan, the Wild Blessings Ranch Equine Facility, was awarded the National Frame Builder’s Association Equine Building of the Year (Expert Division). A huge thank you to our clients on this project, along with Wedeven Bros. Construction, for making this possible. You can view the project on our website portfolio page here.

Design renderings and photos of Wild Blessings Ranch in Michigan, winner of the National Frame Builders Association 2022 Equestrian Building of the Year!

We also visited several other recently completed projects, including a visit to Remington Run, a premier boarding facility in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (portfolio page can be found here). It is always exciting to see our designs come to life, and that was certainly true in this case.  

Design renderings and photos of Remington Run in Chapel Hill, NC



In addition to our equestrian planning and design services, 2023 saw exciting growth in our stable supply sales, led by sales of our mud management and permeable paver solutions (Mud Grids and Paddock Slabs), both made from 100% recycled plastic. These products provide an incredibly effective and sustainable solution to manage mud on horse and livestock properties. The paddock slabs also provide a more functional and cost-effective solution for barn aisle-ways and stall bases than traditional concrete. Our 2023 sales represent hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste plastic kept out of landfills and repurposed for a second life!!!

Paddock slabs being installed at one of our central Texas projects for use in the barn aisle-way, attached dry lot and stalls.



In addition to continuing to grow our equestrian planning and design services, a focus of 2024 will be the continued development and implementation of our pre-designed barn line. These barns will be centered around designing structures that facilitate more natural ways to keep horses, with a focus on group housing in one or multiple herds (with traditional stalls included as needed). We also plan to add to our line of stable supplies to include:


  • Stall systems designed specifically for use with recycled plastic lumber, which offer many advantages over traditional wood. In addition to repurposing plastic otherwise destined for landfills, these boards do not rot, splinter and horse’s do not chew them. They are 100% waterproof and do not absorb pathogens like wood, improving the health and biosafety of horses.

  • Components for use in construction of run-in sheds and barns, including posts, doors, windows and bracing. 

  • Additional solutions for arena and dry lot edging.

Early concept renderings of our new line of open-air horse barns, designed for more natural and horse-centric horsekeeping that better integrate with sustainable land management practices like rotational grazing and use of runs and/or group dry lots.


Finally, we are beyond excited to announce that beginning this year, Ross Cram, who has been working with us over the past three years, will now be a part-owner and partner of Sustainable Stables!


As we stride into 2024, Sustainable Stables remains dedicated to innovation, sustainability, and creating spaces that prioritize the well-being of our clients’ horses, their caretakers, and the land their horses and humans call home. Join us on this exciting journey towards a greener and more sustainable equestrian future.

To learn more, please visit our website,, or send us a message at

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