Do you flip through the pages of popular horse magazines and dream over their examples of today’s best horse stalls? That dream can belong to you, too…
When the time has arrived and you’re ready to build your dream horse barn, there are many details to take into consideration. You’ve probably been planning this moment for years but just in case, it’s still a good idea to keep an actual list of your wants, likes, and essentials. If you’re in the market for all the features that are found in the best horse stalls, this list is a good place to start.
What features do the best horse stalls almost always have?
1) Interior Stall Doors with Yoke Gates
One of the first things people notice when they step inside a quality barn is the long sweep of stall fronts and doors. Nothing will take a horse lover’s breath away like a beautiful expanse of European Styled Horse Stalls… especially if they are filled with happy horses, popping their heads out to socialize. A yoke gate will allow your horse to interact, while keeping your guests and other horses safe. A stall door that swings out into a spacious alley is the preference for many equine affectionados but occasionally, you’ll see the slide doors, which can be just as easy on the eyes. If you’re putting up your own barn, we’d recommend you stick with the swinging stall doors, as they are much easier to install, maintain, and tend to have less problems over the years.
2) Exterior Dutch Doors
Horses are curious beasts by nature and most of them love to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world around them. While Dutch windows are solid options in a good horse barn, you can really expand a horse’s enjoyment with exterior Dutch doors on their stalls. These superior doors will allow more ventilation, freedom and safety for your beloved horses. They provide access to an exterior field or paddock, and a quick escape route in case there are any barn troubles.
3) Spacious Stall Paddocks
There are many different versions and ideas of a “paddock”. On some farms, it’ll be a generous amount of pasture that has “sacrificed” or sectioned off to ensure that horses cannot overgraze or get into too much trouble while enjoying their outside time. In other farms, it may be a smaller stall box that only measures a bit larger than the stall itself does. No matter the amount of land you have to sacrifice, your horse will thank you if you make sure to at least have a small paddock that is attached to the stall and open most of the day for easy access.
4) Vented Stall Dividers
Socialization is very important to equines but sometimes, to keep your team safe, you cannot allow constant, open fraternization. When this is the case, it’s a great help to your horse’s mental health to offer them vented stall dividers. There are many styles to choose from and really, you can’t go wrong on design as long as it speaks to your sense of style. For safety, as long as you choose a quality stall divider that is a complete solid weld, one piece construction divider that’s made from a 2” tubular heavy duty 12 gauge steel, you’ll be treating your horses with the best there is.
5) Automatic Horse Waterers
When planning the layout and amenities of your barn, it’s best to plan for what features are going to help you save time and lighten your daily chore load. Hauling water is no fun and can very time consuming so it seems clear to reason that keeping an automatic horse waterer in the stalls is just good, common sense. Automatic waterers can be as basic or high end as you’d like. Those who live in colder climates should definitely consider a heated version, at the very least.
6) Rubber Horse Pavers
Almost nothing contributes to the safety and comfort of your horse more than the flooring you choose for your barn. We all know to stay away from concrete floors but a novice horse enthusiast may not realize how much interlocking rubber horse pavers or a solid roll of stall mat can do for the overall health and happiness of a horse. The best horse stalls are equipped with this essential safety and comfort feature before the horse even lays hoof inside. Plan ahead so you can provide the comfort and safety of rubber horse flooring for your team, too.
7) Wood Mounted Stall Fronts
Along with the horse stall doors, the wood mounted stall front that you choose for your stalls will also have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of your horse barn. You can really let your style show with your stall front selections. You’ll find vertical vs horizontal wood patterns, tons of brass accents, grills, bars, and more to design with. The most important thing to keep in mind with wood mounted stall fronts, however, is safety and maintenance. You’ll likely want to go with a solid wood vertical, tongue n groove option, if possible. Why? Because the shorter the length of wood, the stronger it’ll be against kicks and other types of damage. And the wood that runs vertically in a stall will typically be a shorter length than the horizontal cuts will be.
8) Safe, Non-Protruding Hardware
There’s almost nothing sadder than finding little bumps, scrapes, and random injuries on your super star mount. To ensure your horse stall is completely secure and there’s nothing in the stall for them to get caught up on, only shop for safe, non-protruding hardware. This will include everything from stall door hinges to a heavy duty latch system. Quality pieces may even offer a lifetime warranty so talk to your vendor about the best options available.
9) Equine Grooming Stations
Including space for an equine grooming station in your barn is as beneficial to you as it is to your horses. You’ll much more happily take care of grooming needs when you’re in a warm, dry, contained environment… especially when inclement weather is just outside the barn doors. Horse grooming stations should be setup with warm water, drying racks, and grooming partition crossties. If well thought out, equine wash stalls can also double as a veterinary area or extra storage for seasonal equipment.
10) Premium Barn Lighting
We all know that farm work goes from dusk til dawn… and often into the night. With all the extras you put into your horses’ safety, it makes sense that you’ll think about your own ability to see and safely take care of business at night. There are many options for premium barn lighting but if you pick the right setup from Day 1, your pocketbook will benefit from energy savings and your barn will see improvement in lighted coverage area, an easy installation, and a long lighting life. Our choice pick for premium barn lighting is ArenaBright T5 and T8. They are a solid choice for most barns and arenas and have instant on and instant restrike abilities down to temperatures down to -20. Brrrr.
For a horse that’s kept inside the stall for part of the day, there’s nothing more important than space. Horses need ample room in their stalls and stall boxes so they can move around and exercise. Barn aisles need to be wide enough for horse safety and maybe even to drive small farm equipment through. Adding a couple extra feet here and there may bump up your overall barn budget, but it’ll be worth it in the long term, and your horses and farm hands will love you for it!
At the end of the day, we hope your dream barn has been designed with the amount of grace, elegance, and style that works for you and your family. Spacious aisles, stalls and paddocks can be made comfortable with rubber horse mats and quality lighting. The grace and style can be found in the stall fronts and Dutch Doors. Building a superior horse stall can be as simple, or as complicated as you want to make it. We hope you’ve gotten some helpful information from this article but if you need extra help, please don’t hesitate to contact the horse stall experts at Saratoga Stalls.
What have we missed?! We’d love to hear your opinions of features in the best horse stalls in the comment section below!