I think there's a good time to put up walls--and basically, that is between horses when they're eating. There's nothing worse than going out to the barn in the morning and finding a half kicked down stall divider.
When we built our barn, last winter, we put up a 36x60 enclosure--and we figured we'd fix it up little by little as the funds became available. (You know, when money falls from the sky or grows on trees.) Eventually we imagined a barn with thick dividers, concrete, enclosed, heated tack room, hay storage, brick pavers lining the breezeway, fans, and barn art--like the barns you see back East in magazines--the kind you'd like to actually live in. This would be our "dream" barn.
It's a year later, and the part we're currently working on is the solid dividers. We have automatic, heated waterers, 12x24 runs, and lots of dirt. We still have a long way to go. But these dividers are a huge step in the right direction. They'll block out wind, keep the horses from stealing each other's food, and encourage them to do all of their socializing (and eliminating) outside in the runs.
I would think that watching us do all of this since we moved in a year and a half ago, would discourage anyone from starting from scratch unless you have enough money to hire someone to do all the work and build your dreams for you. It's time consuming, expensive, and there's a huge learning curve.
But there's also something to be gained from it all--knowledge, patience, and pride when it's done well.
I'm the dreamer and my husband is the practical one behind it all. I dream up big plans for us, and he gets in there and does most of the hard work. I'm his "go-fer". I hold up boards while he cuts them, I hold up one end of the measuring tape to keep it straight, I drive with him to keep him company at Home Depot, I shine flashlights in the dark--oh, and I turn on and off water mains and electricity when he yells for me to do so.
So fittingly, I give him all the credit for building and designing the stall wall above--but it was me who took the picture. (wink, wink.)
If you could build your "dream barn", what would it look like?