Horse Stalls: For Beginners
By: Shannon Clark, MWI Components
What Should I Know?
When you begin considering horse stalls for your barn, it can be challenging to know where to start. Here are a few basics you should know prior to building your horse stall systems.
1. Choosing Grills
The right grill for you and your horse is a key factor in the process of creating your ideal horse stall set-up. First you must determine if you want an additional opening of some sort outside of the standard grill. A grill with a 12x12" feed opening might be the right option for you if you're looking to interact with your equine friend with a bit more convenience. Others may sway toward the swing out feed door. Because these are large enough to accommodate hay, there's no need for you or your help to enter the stall during feeding times. Regardless of your grill styles, grillwork with galvanneal substrate is sure to maximize protection. Ensure the grills' welds are concealed, as well, as this will prevent rust and extend the life of your grills.
2. Picking the Perfect Stall Doors
Picking the perfect stall doors isn't always as easy as it may seem. This all depends on the size and complexity of your horse stall vision. Stall door options include: solid, mesh, yoke, standard, yoke drop front and standard drop front. Each option can help personalize the stall system and add character to your barn. First, identify if you want an opening for your horse to stick his/her head through. Stalls with these openings are great for private barns where horses are able to familiarize themselves with one another. However, you may need to steer clear of the opening if you are building a show barn, as horses may crane their necks while looking into the aisles. If you use the aisle for grooming with cross-ties, you'll likely benefit from the option to close the stall door openings. This will prevent the occasional biting during grooming.
3. Lumber Selections
When it comes to lumber, your possibilities are great. When you buy a horse stall metal frame, you are able to pick the wood of your choice. When you select your lumber, please keep in mind color-but also durability. Wood color can always be altered upon receiving it; however, quality can not be changed. Select the right wood for your needs:
Southern Pine or Other Softwoods (like fir or cedar): If you choose softwoods, using the highest grade of wood you can afford is recommended. Softwood is prone to warping and twisting. The boards may also shrink as time unfolds.
Domestic Hardwood: Oak and mahogany are quality options for stalls. Hardwoods are more expensive, but they last longer than softwoods. Although, some hardwoods (locust, for example) are toxic to horses, so choose carefully.
Exotic Hardwood: These can be very dense, and they hold up better to horse kicks. They last longer and give your barn a higher-quality aesthetic. Unfortunately, exotic hardwoods can also hurt your wallet, as they are typically a more expensive option.
Plastic (HDPE) Infills: These are synthetic materials that are often made to look like wood. These will keep their finishes over time. Plus, they're easier to clean and are more sanitary than wood.
4. Lighting Preferences
Before you get ahead of yourself, take the much needed time to consider lighting in your horse barn. Vinyl windows are a great way to add natural lighting to your barns. Adequate, cheap lighting is essential in a project such as this, so you'll thank yourself later for planning in advance. However, be cautious about the placement of your glass windows, and be sure to use a window grill to allow for better ventilation and additional light. Window grills also protect your investments by keeping the horse from kicking or pushing against the glass. Additionally, consider adding a shutter for safety in poor weather conditions. Finally, dutch doors and bale windows are excellent ways to add style, air flow and lighting to your horse barn!
Creating a horse stall system requires heavy consideration of multiple factors. Grills, stall doors, lumber and lighting are just the tip of the iceberg with horse stalls. A few other factors to keep in mind consist of floors, stall walls, stall, gate, and door latches and track packages. If you're a first-timer quality over quantity is a safe bet. You'll thank yourself for purchasing higher quality materials when your horse stalls last for decades, and you see your neighbor's-who decided to save a few bucks-stalls falling apart.
For more info on horse stalls, check out these articles:
https://extension.psu.edu/horse-stall-design and https://stablemanagement.com/articles/the-basics-of-horse-stall-design. Meanwhile, browse through our horse stalls brochure below!