Stall Door Placement and Design

My stalls will have interior doors into the aisle and outside doors to runs. I’m having a hard time deciding how these doors should be placed.

Outside doors will be Dutch doors and inside doors are yet to be determined.

I originally thought I’d put the outside and inside doors in the center of the stalls. Then I started thinking that maybe outside doors to the far side of the stalls would provide better wind / sun protection. Outside doors will remain open bar hurricanes, medical box rest, etc. Then I got myself all worked up wondering if the door placement would impact ventilation (most important during our dreadful hot and humid FL summers). Does anyone have any opinions / experiences with placing doors that they are willing to share with me?


A Google image search gave me enough to go with for the below bit of my OP. But if you have a fave pic still free to share :slight_smile:

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Inside doors. I love a good swinging door. But! I’ll be mucking by driving my golf cart and wee dump trailer down the aisle. Sliding doors are more convenient for this type of mucking ime. No pre fastening the stall doors open and still convenient to muck if horses are occupying the stalls. I’ll probably end up building the stall fronts myself. I’m looking for examples or pictures of stall fronts that have some sort of “gossip” or “feed” door in them that either swings out or slides over. I’m not a fan of yokes or drop down doors for this particular project. If you have a picture I might could use for inspiration, I’d love it if you shared!

I prefer the aisle door to one side and the door to outside in the middle. It’s easier to walk a horse into the stall and turn them to remove the halter with the door to one side, and the horse is less likely to bang into stuff playing around if the run door is in the middle. Having them not both in the middle also makes it less likely that a horse will come barrelling straight through from the run out into the aisle if, say, you’re cleaning stalls with the door open and the cart in the doorway. My barns have always had sliders on the aisle side and dutch doors to the outside and that’s worked fine.


Thanks for sharing your experience. Especially the goofing off bit. Safety first!

Ours we are building when the welder gets here have the front door in the middle.
Is easier to lead a horse in or out if the human doesn’t have a wall pushing him in front of the horse coming or going in the stall.

The doors on the outside, to the runs, are offset enough that a horse in the nearby pen can’t reach and bite a horse going or coming into their stall, but still leave the West side of the stall with as much protection from wind and blowing rain and snow as possible

Since stall width is 16’, that means the front has 2’, then 4’, then 4’ door, then 4’, then 2’.
The 2 foot is the feed door.

The 16’ back wall has 8’ solid, then 4’ door and 4’ solid.

Our doors are hinged doors, our preference as sliders tend to be less steady, horses are more apt to kick them off the tracks or bottoms and they tend to easily give trouble, sooner or later, not sliding right.

Hinged doors can also, if not hinged right, sag and become hard to open, but for us they tend to give trouble much less than sliding doors.
We do have plenty of room in front of the doors.
If the aisle is narrow, then sliding doors are safer, nothing to be in the already small space there.
Or when driving a manure wagon down the aisle, easier to get close to the stalls if the doors slide.

Good to think about all those before building starts.


Thank you for your help. 16 ft stalls sound lovely. I really like the idea of avoiding fights at the door to the stall. I really love swinging doors but they just aren’t quite right for this project. I need to be able to drive into the aisle and open the doors, at 11 feet I’m thinking my aisle will be too narrow. I like aisle doors in the middle too but I usually only see them locally at racing associated facilities. Probably they were thinking ahead to bouncing TB colts.

I’m trying to think ahead. I’m imagining doing daily chores. Like what if it’s raining, lots of rain here in FL, and I need to muck stalls while the horses are in??? Or unload feed and hay, in the rain? And separate gates on the runs, need those! I saw a facility once where the only way to access the runs was through the stall. It wasn’t very convenient.

My current horse is good in the barn. Even under duress he avoids collisions with humans but who knows if the next horse will have any manners. I’m trying to be prepared with safe, solid facilities that are efficient to maintain and can accommodate a variety of needs.

Thanks again! :slight_smile:


Put tractor sized gates into your runs. Even if you don’t have a tractor (yet!) You never know when you’ll want to get in there with screenings or something :grin:

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Yes. Screenings. My new permanent Christmas wish list item lol.

It was a hot mess there as the runs were put up on existing native soil. As you can imagine the situation deteriorated quickly.

Yup yup on the tractor size gates.

My barn has outside doors to the side for weather protection and it works well because it maximizes the area inside that is protected from the weather. I have sliding doors between the stalls, which works well because my barn is also the shelter so the horses are in through there all the time. Swinging doors would get in the way. One word of cautioned, though: my sliding doors were installed with door stoppers about 3 feet up the wall to catch the open door. This was the perfect height to catch blanket straps, as I learned the hard way! So I have removed them. Sliding doors also have a guide roller at the floor so you want to be sure to use a guide roller that doesn’t have sharp edges. My barn has good ventilation while also breaking the wind with offset doors. In the summer I set up fans to keep horses cool but also to try to keep the flies out.

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Our current barn has swinging doors that swing all the way against the wall, no different than an open sliding door would fit, so nothing “to get in the way”?

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I have sliding doors to the aisle, and swinging Dutch doors to the outside. They are on the same side of the stall. So I guess, a downside is that a horse could come barreling through both doors because it’s a straight shot. But that never really happens in my barn.

More importantly, in my opinion, is that the deepest bedding can all be on one side of the stall. That way it doesn’t get tracked outside as easily and the aisle side area is swept clean for feeding.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend swinging doors in the stall aisle. That’s a pain. I only have a three stall barn so they would definitely get in the way and make things like pulling a horse out for the farrier more complicated. Or dumping feed quickly.

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I hate hate hate swinging doors in a center aisle. It makes getting multiple horses in/out tricky, and also a nuisance for cleaning stalls. I use sliding doors on the interior walls, and the doors are usually left open, with a stall guard up for containment. My sliding doors are all against one wall. I purchased the farm, so didn’t design it that way myself. Center-placed sliding doors might be nice so it’s easier to split hay pile from water buckets and still make both easily accessible from the doorway.

Exterior Dutch doors are all center-stall placed.

Even if you plan to build your own stall fronts, I recommend getting catalogs from Ramm, American Stalls, etc. There are lots of pictures you can browse through and get ideas/inspiration from.
We’re in the process of purchasing a new farm, and one of my first projects is to replace all the swinging doors with sliding ones. Looking through all the drool-worthy photos in the company catalogs really helped me narrow down what I want.

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I will repeat, swinging doors that open all the way back against the stall wall will fit an aisle with stall guards just as well as sliding doors may.

Sliding doors are harder to slide over repeatedly, need to be worked on regularly, take way more maintenance and aggravation when they don’t slide.

The only place sliding doors are a necessary option is where the aisle is narrow.
There a swinging door would need to be moved all the way back out of the way every time someone just wants to get a horse out.

For wider aisles, having worked in barns with both kinds, sliders or hinged are a personal preference, not really one better, both can have advantages and problems.


The doors all on one side of the stall would be an advantage regarding bedding.

I’m struggling a bit to firm up a plan. My current horse is a doll. No barging, charging, or any other sort of bologna. But god knows what sort of other horses I may end up with.

I have lots of thinking to do

I love catalogs!

I have been browsing a lot of internet pictures. I’m fairly certain I want some sort of swinging/sliding feed door. Something that allows horses to be fed without going in the stall and that can be left open so that good horses can stick their head into the aisle. The actual doors will be sliders though. While I actually prefer swinging doors, my set up will be better served with sliders.

I’m thinking about using mesh instead of bars/grilles but am not sure.

There is an internet picture of a neat barn aisle with 2" wire mesh stall fronts.
They have sliding doors and the sliding door top itself folds back half of it, letting a horse stick their heads out, but still narrow enough to keep one from wanting to jump out or stick its neck out too far to bite.
I thought if someone wanted heads sticking out, that was an easy way to do that and it looked good.
Will see if I can find it again.

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Could not find it, but these are the same idea, half the top of sliding doors, could also be swinging doors, can open.

What we may not want is if the opening door swings down and hangs there, where horses have been known to lick it and get a tongue or jaw hung and wrecks to happen with those systems.

Here are some internet pictures of half door top only open:



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I boarded at a barn with drop-down yokes in part of the barn (my horse was not in one of those stalls). Three horses broke their jaws one summer playing with them. (Owner did the QH circuit and never turned out their own personal horses).

I personally hate hate hate sliding stall doors. Just as a general rule. :wink:
I have a minor obsession with Euro curved stall fronts with a swinging door in the middle.

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ARC Integrated systems stalls offers a swing-out feeding door

I bought their stall fronts (though not with that option) and have been very happy with them–in terms of both price and quality. Great hardware, it’s a high quality kit. And the grills are aluminum, so shipping cost is cheaper, and rust free! Takes some patience to install but that’s probably true with most stall kits.

But take note of how the swing-out feed door will restrict ability to open the real stall door. It’s not like it’s a big deal to simply close the small door before opening the big one. But might be nice to have the swingout door as part of the real door. That way you could slide it even if the small door is open.

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Why do you want swinging feed doors? Just curious - it’s a cute little feature and maybe worthwhile if you have 20 horses to throw hay to. I can’t remember how many you will have but not that many, I don’t think?

I doubt I would ever use them - for feeding hay, the slider is just as easy. And for feeding grain - there is about a 0% chance that their feed pan would be directly below this opening. And if the opening is up high, you can’t reach in and put a feed pan on the floor.

So again, if I had a 20+ stall barn and had other people throwing hay in - I might like the idea that stalls weren’t being opened and closed and maybe not latched properly. In my 3 stall barn - they would not be very useful… I wouldn’t want to pay extra for them. But I suppose if they are not additional money - so long as they are safe they would be fine.

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On the other hand, feed doors of all kinds, for feed and water, make feeding easier for anyone that may not be confident going in with a horse and safer that a stall door won’t be left where a horse can open it.

The times someone may feed when the regular feed person is not there is when those are good to have and they don’t hurt anything if they are not used other times.

Have worked in barns where they had a regular feed door above the 4’ and a smaller below and others with one feed door at 3’.
The water bucket doors are handy to not have to go in there balancing a bucket, they can be exchanged with a full one right from the aisle.

I think feed doors of all kinds server their purpose and those may be many.

Curious, a trainer has regular feed doors, but horizontal bars above the solid standard 4’ bottoms.
She said that now, feeding complete rations pellets, is faster just to stick arm thru bars and scoop feed into manger than using the feed door.

But, if and when feed changes, like back to hay, the feed door again will be one appropriate way to feed.

I myself walk in the regular door and feed on the ground and do other with the horse right then, don’t right now have a need for a feed door.
The rare time someone else fed for me, like when I had to stay in the hospital overnight, I was glad they didn’t need to go in with the horses, could just put some hay thru the feed door and look at the horses from the outside.
Horses have stalls with runs and 6’ water thoughts you can see from the aisle.

There are all kinds of ways to manage feeding horses and feed doors of all kinds to do that.