Home | Organic Garden Advice |Horse Keeping

A Stall That Will Make Your Horse Happy! - Design and Build A Great Horse Stall

A horseís stall needs to be safe and comfortable for both the horse and its handler. In order to create a safe and pleasant environment for your horse to live in, itís important to consider several factors, including the size of the horse stall, the type of door used in the horse stall, the ventilation and flooring in the stall and the fixtures used in the stall.

What Are the Features of an Ideal Horse Stall?

The ideal horse stall is very roomy, has plenty of light and ventilation, has a comfortable floor and is constructed in a way that none of the parts of the stall can readily injure a horse.

How Big Should My Horse's Stall Be?

According to animal science experts at Penn State University , a horse stall should measure a minimum of 10í by 10í. However, it should ideally be 12í by 12í or larger, depending on the size of the horse who will be living in the stall and what percentage of its time the horse will spend in the stall. A rule of thumb to consider is that the length of horse stallís walls should be at least one and a half times the length of the horse who will be occupying the stall.

In addition to having adequate length and width, a horse stall should also have adequate height. The walls of the stall should by at least eight feet tall, and the stallís ceiling should ideally be ten to twelve feet tall, or even higher. The higher the horse stallís ceiling, the better the barnís ventilation will be, and the lower the risk will be of the horse hitting its head on the barnís ceiling.

What Kind of Doorway Should My Horse's Stall Have?

The horse stallís doorway needs to be wide enough to easy allow a horse and its handler to go through the door at the same time. A doorway that is eight feet high and four feet wide is ideal, and a doorway needs to be a minimum of seven feet tall and three and a half feet wide to be safe. A narrow doorway increases the chances of the horse hitting injuring its hip or other body parts by banging them on the door frame and also increases the chances of the horseís handler getting banged or otherwise injured while going through the doorway alongside the horse.

Dutch doors and sliding doors are both commonly used in horse stalls, and both are acceptable choices. Some horses may attempt to jump out of their stall if the top part of the Dutch doors is left open but most horses wouldnít even consider doing so, and generally relish the chance to hang their heads out of their stall into the barn aisle or barn yard.

No matter what type of stall door you choose, keep in mind that the bottom of the horse stallís doors need to be low enough to the ground that a horseís hoof canít get trapped under the door. There should be a maximum of three inches between the bottom of a horse stallís door and the ground.

What Kind of Fixtures Should My Horse's Stall Have?

Every horse stall should have a place for the horse to drink and eat, so water buckets or an automatic waterer, as well as a feed tub are must-haves. A hay rack or a manger for hay feeding are also good things to have in your horse's stall. Optional fixtures for horse stalls include a tie ring so that a horse can be tied up in its stall for grooming and tacking up, fly control accessories, and a salt block holder so that a horse can have easy access to a salt or mineral block.

Should My Horse's Stall Have a Window?

Ideally, your horse's stall should have a window that's at least 2' by 2' in size and that can open in order to provide ventilation as well as light. Horse stall windows can be made of glass or Plexiglass, and should either be positioned high up so that they are out of the horse's reach or, if within the horse's reach, the windows should be protected with tightly-spaced metal mesh or bars.

Will an Open Window Provide Enough Ventilation For a Horse Stall?

While an open window can provide some ventilation for a horse stall, it probably won't provide an optimal amount of ventilation on its own. A combination of windows, open stall doors (use stall guards or mesh stall doors whenever possible) and ventilation between stalls (through bars, open partitions above stall walls, etc.) will provide your horse with enough fresh air to keep his respiratory system healthy.

What Kind of Flooring Should I Use in My Horse's Stall?

The floor of a horse stall should provide as much cushion as possible while also being durable, non-slip and easy to clean. If you're building a new horse barn, you'll have your choice of both modern and traditional horse stall flooring systems. If you're trying to improved the comfort and cleanliness of an existing stall, your choices will be more limited.

Traditionally, stall floors have been made from materials such as clay, packed grit, wood or concrete, none of which are ideal. However, the use of high quality stall mats and bedding can vastly improve a stall floor's performance in terms of comfort, durability and ease of maintenance.

Nowadays, new horse barns are often sited with good drainage in mind and are constructed with an underlying drainage system, and a subfloor of compacted, leveled grit topped with leveled gravel. The subfloor is then topped with a porous flooring system made of materials such as grid stall mats, creating a nearly perfect stall floor in terms of cushion and drainage.

More Horse Health Information for Horse Owners

Keeping your horses at home in an equestrian or horse-friendly community.
Selecting a Horse Insurance Company -- List of Horse Insurance Companies
Horse Insurance -- What Kind of Horse Insurance Coverage Should You Have?
Horse Wormers - Develop a Winning Horse Deworming Strategy
A review of the 2009 Wintec Pro Dressage Saddle