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A Comprehensive Guide to Crafting Custom Horse Stalls

Whether you’re riding your horses on woodland trails, competing in events, or simply enjoying their companionship, the experience is always a source of joy and fulfillment.

But when your horses aren’t galloping through the fields or exploring new places with you, they need a special place to relax and unwind: a place of comfort and safety that will keep them safe and healthy.

You don’t want to keep your majestic horses in small, unsightly, or unsafe stalls. But what should your horse stables look like? What features do your horses need for ultimate comfort and health?

At Sunset Valley Metalcraft, we know that your horses deserve the very best! That’s why we create custom horse stalls that prioritize comfort and safety, ensuring a luxurious and secure environment for your horses.

If you’re unsure what your horses need, we’ve got your back! Keep reading to learn all about the process of designing high-end custom horse stalls.

Why Quality Horse Stalls Matter

Horse stalls provide a welcoming shelter for your horses. Stalls are typically located inside a stable or barn and provide a “home” for your horses. Here, your horses shelter from the elements, rest, and eat.

Horse stalls are also a place where you, as a horse owner, spend time. Whether you’re grooming your horses, training them, or simply spending time with them, you want your stalls to offer a comfortable and inviting space that fosters a strong bond between you and your equine companions. sta

Frankly, if your stalls are cramped, dingy, and run down, neither you nor your horse will enjoy being there. It might even be dangerous for your horses⁠.

That’s why it’s essential to take the time to design and build high-quality horse stalls that both you and your horses find comfortable and beautiful.

Seven Key Features of a Thoughtfully-Designed Horse Stall

Let’s take a closer look at horse stall designs. What features do your stalls need to keep your horses safe and comfortable?

1. Spacious dimensions

It’s crucial to have a stall that’s big enough for your horse! Cramped spaces affect your horse’s physical health, mental health, and overall temperament. 

The inability to move freely may lead to your horse suffering stiffness or muscle atrophy. Spaces that are too small can also lead to hygiene problems and behavioral issues.

Here is our recommended stall sizing:

Ponies & Medium Size Horses: 10′ x 10′

Full-grown Thoroughbreds: 12′ x 12′

Draft Horses: 12′ x 12′ or 12′ x 14′

Mare & Foal Stalls: 12′ x 14′ or larger

With the correct stall sizes, your horses can move comfortably, lie down and rest without constraints, maintain proper posture, and exhibit natural behaviors, all of which keep them happy and healthy!

2. A sturdy door and latching system

The door and latching system is often the weakest point in a horse stall, so it’s important to make sure it’s sturdy and will keep the horse inside even if the horse leans, pushes, or kicks against it. 

At the same time, make sure to get something that’s smooth and easy for a human to open.

Remember, the best way to keep your horses safe is to prevent them from being able to escape their stalls on their own!

3. Grille bars with proper spacing and openings

The top of your stalls should have grilles that the horses can look through. Grille bars need to be positioned such that the horse can’t stick it’s hoofs or legs through the bars and get stuck, and lower grill bars need to be spaced closer together. 

There’s also a risk of horses getting stuck if the upper grille bars are spaced too far apart and they try to stick their heads through.

Of course, horses may become distressed if they are cooped up in a stall where they can’t interact with each other or get a good view of their surroundings or the aisleway. To solve this problem, incorporate a v-shaped yoke or a grille opening into your stall design.

4. Feeding and watering systems

Horses need access to water at all times, so your stall design should include a watering system. The best option is to install an automatic waterer in the corner of the stall, ensuring that your horse never runs out of water.

You should also think about the best feeding system for your horses. Make sure to mount the feeder where the horse can easily reach it, where it doesn’t get in the way, and where you can easily refill it when necessary. 

5. Openings for working outside the stall

On a similar note, consider adding a hatch or a feed door that allows you to do things like provide feed or medications without actually entering the stall. 

Not only is this more convenient but if you’re working with a dangerous or skittish horse, it keeps you safer and the horse more comfortable.

6. Ventilation

Proper ventilation in horse stalls is crucial for maintaining good air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory issues in your horses, and keeping them happy and comfortable.

Higher ceilings allow warm air and dust to rise and be ventilated out of the stall instead of gathering oppressively around your horses. Make sure you also have windows, doors, and other openings that you can open or close to provide cross-ventilation when necessary.

Overall, when you design your stalls, keep airflow in mind. You can even install fans in the stalls to improve circulation and reduce flies and other pests that irritate your horses.

7. Drainage

Finally, the key to keeping your horse stall clean and healthy is to design it with drainage in mind.

The critical thing is to construct the base of your stall with suitable materials, such as compacted gravel or concrete, to provide a stable and durable foundation. If the surface is uneven, urine and spilled water will pool on the stall floor.

You can also construct the floor to slope to a drainage outlet or gutter system. But remember, horses need level ground, or they may develop back and leg problems. If you build a slanted floor, make sure the slope is no more than a 1½% – 2% grade.

With these features, your horse will be comfortable and well cared for in their new stall!

Durable and Beautiful Materials to Consider for Your Stables

When constructing horse stalls, your first consideration should be durability. You don’t want your horse to be able to kick through the material. We recommend making partitions of 1-1/2” to 2” thick wood to provide this durability.

The grille is typically made from a durable metal resistant to corrosion, such as steel or aluminum. Steel is the more high-strength option. Aluminum is preferred if you need something lightweight, such as for portable horse stalls. But since aluminum is not as strong, it’s more likely that a horse will bend the bars and injure themselves. 

Finally, the materials you choose significantly affect the overall look of your stables. Choose a premium hardwood such as oak, maple, or cherry, which provides a sophisticated and elegant appearance.

Although steel is probably your best grille option, one way to make it look classy is to choose a grille that’s been powder-coated with a luxurious black or crisp white finish.

The Benefits of Customizing Your Horse Stalls

When you choose to customize your horse stalls, you reap numerous benefits, including:

    • Stalls that cater to your horses’ specific needs

    • An overall look that fits your style

    • Optimized space in your stable or barn

    • Custom safety features that keep your horses as secure as possible

    • Convenient features that make caring for your horses a breeze

At Sunset Valley Metalcraft, we would love to make your dream horse barn a reality! We are a family-owned business that has been making custom horse stalls in the Lancaster County, PA area since 1975.

Besides custom horse stalls, we also offer:

What to know more? Browse our customer testimonials and our project gallery, or give us a call and ask any questions!We’d love to hear from you!