A great horse barn is made up of many parts. The wash rack is just one part, but it plays a big role. It is the place that you rinse off or bathe your horse. There are many different types of wash racks. A rudimentary wash is just a concrete slap with a hose nearby.
Location is the most important part of a wash rack. It needs to be flat. The horses as well as people will slip if it is very slanted. It should also not be in a high traffic area of the barn because of its tendency to create mud. Wash racks are best placed not right next to a parking lot because of the occasional stray water flying in to the parking lot and hitting the parked cars.
They can be either outside or inside of the barn. With a little bit of work a stall can be converted to a wash rack. One of the benefits of having it inside is that you can still wash your horse when it is raining. The back of the stall can be very helpful when the horse is unsure of bathes, because it gives a barrier for them. In any wash rack there needs to be good drainage.
The flooring is the next major part of a wash rack. Just plan dirt is muddy and slippery. Concrete drains well and it won’t get more dirt on the horse. It can also be slippery depending on the type of concrete. Rubber mats are good because they still drain and they aren’t as slippery as concrete. They can be cleaned and they offer more of a cushion for the horse.
Wash racks are much more useful if there is some place to tie your horse. A hitching rail is one good option. I think the most popular is the cross tie. Cross ties keep your horse safe and they help to keep them still. A bar at the back of the stall is nice in that when the horse pulls back they will hit that instead of pulling hard on their halter.
Water access is the one essential to any wash rack. Hoses can do the job and they work great. If it has the option of being heated, that is amazing. The heat allows you to wash your horse when it is colder outside, and helps when washing a wound in the winter. Hoses however can trip and spook a horse. One way to stop this from happening is to run it so that it comes from the ceiling. You can attach the hose to a strong arm that is attached to the ceiling and then the hose is off the ground, but still very useful. A basket or shelf that is nearby is not essential, but helpful to keep shampoo, brushes, and drying tools handy and clean. A wash rack is a nice thing to have in any horse property.