Horse stalls are the most effective way to keep your horse out of the harsh weather. They offer protection and warmth for your equine companion. However, horses are not necessarily meant to stay cooped up in a barn all day, so how can you maximize your resources in order to give your horse the protection he needs while giving him the freedom he deserves?
First, let's have a look at the size of the horse stall. Generally speaking, horse stalls are around 12ft by 12ft, however your horse may need more space depending on his current circumstances. In addition, the average ceiling height is at least 9ft tall so that your horse can move his head freely up and down. Obviously, large draft horses should have a larger stall. Therefore, you should upgrade to a 14-16 ft by 14-16 ft stall with a 12 ft ceiling. Furthermore, a more active horse should also have a larger stall. If you plan on breeding horses, you should accommodate your broodmare with a large stall that will adequately fit both her and her foal. A nice addition to this stall would be a removable partition so that you can separate them once you wean the foal. Finally, larger stalls are useful for horses who are sick and on stall rest. Although they shouldn't exert too much energy, they still need a larger space in order to stretch their legs.
Next, the flooring needs to provide appropriate comfort and stability for your horse. First, you need to dig below the stall and fill the hole with some sort of soil. This allows the urine and other wet substances to filter to the bottom of the stall so it is not too slick for your horse. Second, you need to determine the appropriate drainage layer. Dirt and stone dust are both appropriate options for drainage. Some say that stone dust drains better than dirt, however dirt is a cheaper option. Choose the best option for your current financial needs. Next, we should focus on the stall mat. Our personal favorite mat is the GGT Stall-EZ. It is a wonderful addition to your barn because it reduces bedding requirements, saves time and money on stall maintenance, is light-weight and durable, is seamless, and ensures safety of your horse by reducing slickness within the stall. This pad allows urine to pass through while providing stability and appropriate padding for the horse. Finally, the last layer for your horse stall is the bedding. Wood shavings is by far the most common type of stall bedding. It is cheap and easy to find with your feed. However, you should not use this for horses with respiratory problems because the saw dust can worsen your horse's illness. Another option is wood pellets. These are initially more expensive than shavings, however it is easier to clean and absorbs more moisture than shavings. Finally, shredded paper is an option for horses with respiratory problems because it does not produce the dust that wood produces.
Finally, make sure that your horses' stall has great natural lighting and ventilation, has dry floors, and does not flood. In addition, make sure that your horse is able to enjoy the outdoors on a daily basis. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us.