Stall Set Up

We have been in our place for a year and a half and finally have a handle on how the barn needs to be configured. It is a 30x30 that is set up as an L shaped shed row with a 10 foot rear overhang in the back that someone built a tool room into. Our goal is to convert it to a center aisle barn with 2 10x10 stalls on one side with the tool room (soon to be tack and feed) at the end and the other a 10x20 stall with a wash stall at the end.

We have to build out own stall fronts ( to save money) but I really like the open “mesh” stalls for our humid and hot climate. The current thought is to put down 10 inch shaving guard and use a 4’ tall powder coated wire fence panel topped with a horizontal 2x6. Then use 1/2 dutch doors where the ‘filler’ is made of the same mesh. There would be solid walls between the stalls.

What do you see being the problems or issues from this type of front? Unless the weather is bad over 90*, storming, or raining below 60* the horses are pretty much only in at meal times.

You might be happier with sliding doors, especially if aisle is narrow. I am not sure WHY folks love heads hanging out in the aisle, but have only seen problems from allowing it. You have to repair lower doors constantly with horse pushing it off the wall screws. Swing of door takes up a lot of space, hangs up when door is not hung right again after repairs. You could put up a full mesh door, slider, to give you plenty of air flow. We used beveled blocks at the base of doors to hold the bottoms down, with a stopper block on the wall for open slider door. No rods or sharp metal edges devices that horse could step on and hurt themselves. Wood blocks still in place with many injury free years of horses going down the aisles. Doors do NOT move outward if kicked or rubbed on. I love sliders, they are NEVER in my way when using the aisle, have never needed any repairs over those many years of use.

I don’t have horses knocking gates loose, removing things hung by the stall, leaning out to bite passing horses, jumping out of their stall when buddy leaves. We drive tractor and spreader thru the barn, hay trailers to unload, no heads out to get hurt on as machinery goes by. Sure saves on repair of things in the barn!

I would suggest you put buckets in the front of stall. Horses tend to stand there watching stuff, so they drink better with buckets right under their noses. Having hay in front by the window also keeps the poop towards the rear, with horse standing and eating there. Not pooping on good hay in the back, as horse circles to get a bit, then look out front again.

I know you want to save money, but perhaps a local shop could buy the heavy mesh, make up your stall screens and sliding doors for you. The mesh could be the stuff used for caging off industrial areas, with 2"x2" openings that will prevent horse getting caught on. There are quite a few manufacturers of mesh stall products that can make panels or doors up to your specs, once you give them measurements.

See if there is a local person or sawmill to buy rough cut lumber for your stalls. It is cheaper, larger dimensions because it has not been planed smooth. Horses “usually” don’t chew on it as much as nice pine from the lumber yard! We used Oak for inside walls, white Oak is harder than Red oak, if I remember correctly. Or some other hard wood available locally. Elm is great if you can find it. Use galvanized nails if wood is green, the tannic acid in Oak will rust plain nail heads off in a couple years. Oak hardens as it hangs in the stall, so you don’t want to be putting in nails with hardened oak!! You would probably have to drill those holes, not just hammer them in!

You might want to provide chewing logs in the field or paddocks, giving them something to gnaw on that is OK to eat. Willow, dry Oak, hickory woods are making my horses happy with the winter need to chew they all get. The Mule is different, they chew all the time. Mule folks I know have pipe corrals, mules ate the wood to nubbins. I would make sure he had a good log to chew year around!

We had the local furnace place bend galvanized sheet metal to cover all wood edges in the stalls. Make sure you get those sharp edges bent down, then nailed down, to prevent accidental slicing. Sure saved any gnawing on stall edges! They could make long runs in the shop, we installed it ourselves and it was pretty inexpensive, fit exactly tight on the places we needed it.

Hope these ideas can help you save a few dollars.

My stalls are wood on the bottom half and chainlink fence material on the upper half that has been stapled down onto the 2x6s. My barn has sliding doors (same fencing/mesh on the top half) leading into the aisles, and solid dutch doors that lead out into a paddock.

In general, the “fencing” material has held up fairly well except in a few spots where some cribbing must have occurred, and it has come un-stapled from the wood. So I have to manage that section carefully to make sure they don’t get pushed in/out with noses, and ultimately it will need to be replaced. The walls between my horses are also half wood, half fencing.

As far as dutch doors v. sliding - I can’t really tell from your description but I agree with gumtree - I would hate dutch doors opening into my aisle.

In general, the use of “fencing” or mesh seems fine; I’d rethink the doors. I like my barn because it is really open and airy.

A friend has stalls like you want. THey are great. Husband made them, and painted the mesh panels. THey also have mesh panels in the wall between stalls - horses are social animals!
And add another vote for sliding doors.

We prefer hinged to sliding doors.

Many today are making partitions about 1/4 to 1/3 of the division wall solid in front, the rest where horses can see each other.

This way when you feed horses are not right there maybe making faces or kicking the wall because the other horse may be looking at them.

We are going to start making our 16’ x 16’ stalls now, out of 2" square tubing and they will also be that 2" square 1/4" welded rod mesh on top, solid at the bottom.
They will have a 2’ solid feed door and 4’ solid by the feeder door in front, 12’ mesh between stalls.

The reason we will go solid at the bottom is, mesh bottoms can have a horse hang a shoe on it much easier than the top mesh, if a horse rolls against it, or kicks at it.

We won’t have horses hanging heads in the aisle, they can see and hear and smell others plenty well in the barn and out in their pens without it and it is safer all around.

Not having solid walls will get you better airflow and the advantage of seeing the whole stall and horse better with all mesh, other than the kick bottom to keep bedding in, but for us, the stalls always open, the wind will just blow too much in there, so we will cut that wind down with solid 4’ of the bottom of the stalls.

We are making the last stall out of a solid division wall with the stall before it, in case we have a horse that needs to be completely separated for whatever reason, but all the others will be where they can see each other, especially important with young horses.

Thanks for the replies!

I understand sliding doors being more space friendly, but with our mule I know it would be broken on day 1. They are also out of our budget. Since my barn is literally just me and my hubby, crowded aisles are not really a thing that happens. This set up would give us a grooming and tacking area that is NOT the aisle so horses can’t bite each other. I think that in the future we can easily add sliding doors if we choose, but I personally like sliders on the outside and 1/2 a dutch door on the inside, for small entirely private barns like mine.

Right now the stall are solid on all sides with back windows and 1/2 doors in the front. It is dark and stuffy. Our goal is to create a more open barn for both air flow and sight. Our herd lives out for over 20 hours a day. When we bring them in for weather our donkey and mule stress over their “solitary confinement.”

The only horse who wears shoes does not paw or kick at the walls, but we are thinking about a backing of lexan for the mule’s door to limit climbing.

When you were building your own, was their anything that you wish you did differently? Any materials you wished you used instead?

I agree with Bluey with the stall walls. I highly recommend doing some bars/mesh/gaps in the wood (depending on budget) between stalls. Especially if you need light and air flow, and especially if you have some who get worried about being alone.

The best set up (IMO) is where the bottom half of the wall is solid. On the top half, 1/3 is solid (the area by there they are eating and drinking so they have privacy) and the back 2/3 is bar or mesh. It’s the best of all worlds.

If you want it a little more DIY friendly and you know your horses get alone (or can be put in an order where they get along with their neighbors) you can just inset spacers between each board when you construct the walls so there are gaps between the boards. (Again, I would make the bottom section solid, but that’s personal preference.) Then horses can still see each other and it improves airflow significantly without having a big financial investment. You might actually save a board or two per wall.

But solid walls seriously limit light and airflow.

I loved having my horses be able to hang their heads out over the 4’ door, or 5’ front wall. The horses were all so much calmer, and more relaxed.

[QUOTE=Fairview Horse Center;9008549]
I loved having my horses be able to hang their heads out over the 4’ door, or 5’ front wall. The horses were all so much calmer, and more relaxed.[/QUOTE]

I like the way it looks also, but some times, some horses, if they panic or get some strange idea, that opening may end up like the first picture, a horse that tried to jump thru the opening.

The other pictures are of openings between stalls, so horses can see each other, still with a closed space to eat in relative peace.
That is what we will do, first 4’ by the feed door solid, the rest of the division between stalls the bottom half solid, the upper one 2" square wire mesh.
Pictures googled and from pinterest:




How high do you intend to build a kick “plate”(or whatever you call the heavy planking on the bottom of stalls)? I’m thinking about 3ft for my new stalls, but I don’t have any high kickers, so you might want to go higher.

This is assuming that by “mesh” you mean welded stud wire? You wouldn’t want to put it low enough for an energetic kicker to go through it.

How high do you intend to build a kick “plate”(or whatever you call the heavy planking on the bottom of stalls)? I’m thinking about 3ft for my new stalls, but I don’t have any high kickers, so you might want to go higher.

This is assuming that by “mesh” you mean welded stud wire? You wouldn’t want to put it low enough for an energetic kicker to go through it.

We have been sourcing wire mesh and what is called “bull wire” in some fabricator’s web sites is too large for horses at 4" x 4".

For horses welded wire mesh needs to be 2" square or 2" x 4" and of at least 6 gauge, better 4 for stalls.
6 is good enough for pen panels, is what we will use, what so many use here for the past years and has the best reputation for safe, when installed properly, of course.
Tractor Supply here carries the 6 gauge 2" x 4" welded wire mesh here.

There is no perfect material or ways to build around horses.
Horses can figure ways to hurt themselves, no matter what you use.
It is a trade-off with what you want to have and what you compromise over and hope you are lucky no horse goes there where it gets hurt.

Our vet expansion used the 2" x2" 4 gauge welded wire mesh for their stalls and are very happy with it, first picture.
I think 6 gauge is what Noble panels are made of, not sure, second picture: