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Award Winning Equestrian Architect John Blackburn Makes a Stop in Chicago Area on Book Signing Tour

Pegaso Farm in Mettawa, IL, designed by award winning architect John Blackburn. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Pegaso Farm Hosts Charity Event for Blackburn’s Healthy Stables by Design


Mettawa, IL – October 10, 2013 – Equestrian architect John Blackburn was featured at a private book signing event hosted by Pegaso Farm in Mettawa, IL to benefit the Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS). Guests arrived to the immaculate Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie style farm, designed by Blackburn, to tour the farm featured in his new book, Healthy Stables by Design. The coffee table book showcases some of the outstanding farms Blackburn has designed throughout the country.

Designed to allow natural light in, Pegaso Farm provides a healthy environment for horses.  Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Barn owner, Bob Price, gave Blackburn a challenge when he asked the architect to create a farm on the 24 acre parcel modeled after a home designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students in 1959, while keeping the health and safety of the horses in mind.

Pegaso Farm owner Bob Price. Photo by Donovan Mueller

“Three things are needed to make a successful barn,” Blackburn explained. “You must understand the needs of the owner, the demands of the site and consider the health and safety of the horses.”

Pegaso Farm showcases the Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie style architecture. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Blackburn went on to explain that one of the key elements in designing for the health of the horses is proper ventilation. The Prairie style chosen by the owner, features a low roofline, which presented a design challenge for Blackburn since his ventilation design requires a higher roofline.  To compensate for the owner’s desire of the style, Blackburn lowered the 100’x200’ indoor arena and raised the stall section to achieve the proper ventilation. The design of the farm uses the windy city’s airflow to its advantage with the arena facing the direction of the cold winter winds and the stable area facing the direction of the cool summer breezes.  Plenty of open Dutch doors and an open-air concept indoor arena, add to the fresh airflow throughout the barn.

The open concept indoor arena allows natural light and proper ventilation.  Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography. 

Natural light is another factor in Blackburn’s designs. Pegaso Farm showcases beautiful windows and doors that allow in so much outside light there is no need for additional lights during the day. Blackburn also used a special polycarbonate material for skylights and upper wall construction that allows in light without creating harsh sunspots, which is especially desired in the indoor arena.


Temperature is another consideration in Blackburn’s designs. Building in a cold climate requires a design to keep horses close to the outside temperature in the stall area but also offering a warmer area for grooming and bathing. Pegaso Farm has a central grooming area that can be closed off by beautiful doors to accomplish this requirement. Heated floors in the barn area and radiant heat in the indoor arena provide warmth without blowing dust and dirt that occurs with other heating systems. Open Dutch doors in every stall and cross ventilation throughout; keep the farm cool in the summer months.

Healthy and happy horses at John Blackburn designed Pegaso Farm. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography. 

Safety of the horses is also a major consideration in Blackburn’s design decisions.  Rubber mats in stalls and aisle ways, firewalls, rounded corners, pin-system stall latches so horses don’t get hurt by protruding hardware and wood paddock fencing are some of the safety features evident in Blackburn’s barns.


“The horses are happy here,” said owner Price. “We let the artist (Blackburn) go with the design and we love the results.”


Pegaso Farm houses Price’s prized Andalusion stallions from Spain and a few Warmbloods from Germany. Dressage trainer/rider Sarah Hippenstiel competes at high-level dressage shows throughout the country with the horses. 


All proceeds from Blackburn’s book signing tour will benefit various charities. Tracy McGonigle, director of this event’s charity, HAHS, was on hand to explain to the guests how the organization rescues horses and nurses them back to health so they can be adopted by loving families. The organization is located in Woodstock, IL and has been in existence for forty-seven years housing approximately seventy horses.

Proceeds from the book signing tour benefit various charities throughout the country.  Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

In addition to his visit to Pegaso Farm, Blackburn will make public appearances at bookshops, museums, equestrian venues and major horse shows across the country.

The Healthy Stables By Design Calendar of Events:

Oct. 15 - The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC - public book signing to benefit Prancing Horse, Inc. Center for Therapeutic Riding (a PATH International recognized therapeutic riding center) 

Oct. 16  - Books on Broad, Camden, SC  - South Carolina Equine Park

Oct. 18 - Glenwood Farm, Ridgeway, SC - private event to benefit Equine Rescue of Aiken  

Oct. 19  - The Gracious Home, Waxhaw, NC- to benefit Carolina Equine Rescue and Assistance 

Oct. 20 - Ketchen Place Farm, Rock Hill, SC - private event to benefit CANTER Mid-Atlantic 

Oct. 22-27 - Washington International Horse Show, Washington, DC - signings and launch celebration on Oct 25 in the Acela Club to benefit PATH International Wounded Warrior Project 

Oct. 29-31 - Alltech National Horse Show, Lexington, KY - signings to benefit ASPCA 

Nov. 6 - Lucky Jack Farm, Rancho Santa Fe, private event to benefit a Reins Therapeutic Riding Program 

Nov. 9 - Salinas, CA - Steinbeck County Equine Clinic - private event Steinbeck Country Equine Clinic - Monterey Horse Park 

Nov. 10 - Pebble Beach, CA - Pebble Beach Equestrian Center to benefit Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Nov 12 - Private Farm Woodside, CA - private event to benefit Community Horse Advocacy Program (CHAPS)

Nov. 21 - River Farm Leesburg, VA -private a to benefit The Equine Rescue League (ERL) 

John Blackburn's design provides cross ventilation, natural light and safety features. Photo by Donovan Mueller

About Healthy Stables By Design by John Blackburn with Beth Herman  

Healthy Stables by Design is a museum-quality coffee table book that illustrates Blackburn's approach to equestrian architecture through dramatic photography and compelling writing. It introduces the concepts of aerodynamic ventilation, strategic natural light and passive solar heating and cooling into significant horse barn designs ranging from exquisite to functional.

About John Blackburn

John Blackburn serves as the President and Senior Principal of Blackburn Architects, a Washington, D.C. firm. He has 35 years of expertise in architecture and 30 years of work focusing specifically on equestrian architecture with more than 160 horse farm designs to his credit. His award-winning work is widely known for its beauty, functionality and sustainability.

Blackburn has built facilities for racing, polo, hunters and jumpers and Quarter Horses in a variety of climates and evolving site conditions and he has been featured in dozens of equestrian, architecture and luxury lifestyle publications.

Click here to learn more about Blackburn Architects.

Healthy Stables by Design by John Blackburn is now available for purchase. Click here to order your copy.

For more about Healthy Stables by Design, by John Blackburn, click here.