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Whether you’re adding horse stalls to an existing structure or constructing a brand-new stable, there are at least three types of stalls to choose from. Before making that choice, a few practical matters should be considered to find the best stall for your horse.

Things to Consider to Find the Best Stall for Your Horse

Ventilation

  1. Arguably the most important thing to plan for is ventilation. Without proper ventilation through the stall, the air becomes stale and more likely to be infected with germs and toxins. This is most likely in a stable where hay, straw, dirt, and other dusty bedding can clog up the air with miniscule particles. This stagnant, infected air can cause respiratory illness in horses which, even if not deadly, is detrimental to the horse and your wallet. Consequently, all horse stalls should have a certain amount of openness for airflow. To what extent depends on the building. Some stalls may require more openness if the stable itself is not well-ventilated. Whether you’re building horse stalls in sunny Texas or wintry Alaska, airflow is essential.

Temperament and Safety

  1. Consider the temperament of your horses. Are they social or contrary? Do they spook easily or keep a cool head? Will your horses spend the majority of time in their stalls or only occasionally? If your horses are not particularly social or need physical barriers to keep them from injuring people or other horses, a stall that is partially opaque and contains them inside their allotted space is ideal. If they are social and well-mannered, a structure with good visibility that allows them to see beyond their stall and socialize with passersby would be fine. With either disposition, a sufficiently high stall wall is important. Horses, even those possessed of a gentle nature, remain animals with animal instincts. You want to be able to contain a kick that can reach seven feet high, if they take the notion.
  2. Though not any less important, you’ll need to think about the amount of aisle space between stalls. Some stalls feature sliding doors while others have hinged doors that swing outward to open and shut. If the stable is spacious, the latter can be effective, but in tight spaces sliding doors are preferable.
  3. Another consideration is the openness of the stall fronts. If the aisle is sufficiently wide, the horses can’t reach each other to annoy and pester, making a more open stall front safe. With a narrow aisle, completely enclosing the stall front to keep the horses’ heads contained within their stalls is prudent.

Now that we’ve covered a few basics, let’s go over the three most common types of horse stalls.

Mesh Horse Stalls

Horse sticking his head out of a mesh stall front

Advantages

  • Mesh horse stalls are ideal for maximum airflow. Even in a closed-up stable, the air will
    circulate through the stalls.
  • Their openness does not compromise sturdiness or stability.
  • Typically, they can be constructed with either a sliding or hinged door.
  • Visibility for both the horse looking outward and the owner checking on his stock is the best of
    all stall types.
  • They can be raised off the ground which allows for efficient and thorough cleaning of the floor
    as well as better ventilation. The downside to this is bedding will not necessarily stay put
    within the stall.

Disadvantages

  • Mesh horse stalls are not the prettiest option. They’re practical and get the job done, but there
    isn’t a way to make them aesthetically pleasing
  • If having other horses visible will encourage misbehavior and high tempers, mesh stalls would
    not be ideal as the horses would be able to easily see their stall mates.

European Horse Stalls

European

Advantages

  • European Horse Stalls are the definition of elegance and grace.
  • Often this style is custom-designed with attention to detail which makes an impressive
    presentation of your stable.
  • With their swooping fronts and lower front panels, European horse stalls are ideal for
    social, well-adjusted equine.
  • One aspect of this design is rounded components rather than squared corners. This minimizes the
    possibility of injuries to you or your horse when coming into contact with the unyielding,
    rigid pieces of a stall.

Disadvantages

  • European Horse Stalls do not offer a sliding door option. This style would not be ideal if your
    stable aisle does not have adequate room for the door to swing during opening and closing.
  • Elegance, gracefulness, custom design, and attention to detail all come with a higher price.

Traditional Horse Stalls

Traditional Full Swing Front

Advantages

  • Sometimes called the American style, Traditional Horse Stalls combine good looks with practicality and function.
  • They fall somewhere between the European and mesh styles for ventilation, design, and price.
  • Similar to the mesh style, they can be raised slightly off the floor.
  • Flexible in visibility and design, Traditional Horse Stalls offer both sliding and hinged doors
    and can be enclosed with metal bars on the top half of the stall.
  • These bars act as a sturdy barrier against anxious horses while still allowing for necessary ventilation.

Disadvantages

  • The design is typically less attractive than the European stalls.

Whichever style you choose, remember you know your horses and your stable needs better than anyone. Now that you’re armed with information and a stall style overview, making the right decision for you and your horses shouldn’t be so challenging!