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  1. #1
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    Mar. 14, 2004
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    Default Communal stall? Would you do it?

    We are rearranging our barn a bit. We have stalls right now, plain pipe-panel stalls. Let it be said (though I really hope it doesn't become the focus here!) that in the winter our horses spend more time in stalls than we would like. That is a fact of life. We are in a flood plain. We get them out as much as we can.

    In our reorg, we are considering making a "playpen" out of one end of the barn. It would replace six stalls, so it would be the size of six 12x12s, plus the aisle between them which is about 8 feet wide. It would have six young geldings in it who are best buddies. Ages from 1 to 4. But it would not be a lot of space -- not a paddock at all, just a big communal stall. Do you think they'd like that better than individual stalls even though it is small? FYI it would NOT replace the turnout we do give them in the arena or a paddock where they can actually trot and run -- this would be more for socialization than exercise.

    What do you think?
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

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  2. #2
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    Feb. 8, 2002
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    Default

    If they all get along, why not?



  3. #3
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    I wouldn't do it personally. Then again, I own some pretty dominant horses that wouldn't tolerate others in their space like that. For socialization, I'd rather see lower stall dividers or grills between the stalls, instead of all of them having to be in one space most of the time.

    Assuming the aisle is 36' long, you're looking at 6 horses in roughly 1,150 square feet. Even though they are best buddies, I think they might get tired of being on top of each other all the time.

    Also, would all the horses be fed in there together? How would grain be handled?

    Personally, I wouldn't put 2 of my horses together in a space that small...



  4. #4
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    Sep. 13, 2002
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    If I'm reading it right, you are talking about an area 36'x32'? For 6 horses? I don't think I would do it. I think that the chance of injury is too great with that big a group in that small of a space. I have a 30'x30' dry paddock and feel that is too small to turn two of mine out together in. Too easy for one to get cornered. I can't imagine the mess they would make, too, with those numbers! Even if they get along great normally, you stick them in a small space, it might not be such a happy group. I get along fine with everyone in my family, but lock us all in a single room together, it wouldn't take long it to get ugly!



  5. #5
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Hmmmm - 2-3 at a time maybe, but I'd be afraid that even 6 get-along horses would have some little tiff over something, and even if it's not very dramatic, there isn't a whole lotta room to turn and spin.
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  6. #6
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    Feb. 21, 2007
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    Default

    If they were to be locked up in there, without a way to get out into an open area if needed, I probably wouldn't. It it were to be used as a sort of "loafing shed" area with an opening to a small paddock area, then I might consider it.

    Also, the question about feeding is going to need to be addressed.

    At the other end of the barn, would you still have stalls available to isolate a horse (or horses) if one needed stall rest or another sort of confinement? That is something to consider, too.

    Good luck!
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch



  7. #7
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    Jun. 12, 2007
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    CT
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    Would the barn have enough regular stalls so everyone would have a stall without use of this area? If not, then definitely no. I'd look into half walls or upper bars so they can see each other.

    If the choice was between putting in extra stalls and the loafing area, I'd go with the loafing area and use it as indoor turnout for one horse at a time when the weather is bad.



  8. #8
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    May. 22, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by joiedevie99 View Post
    Would the barn have enough regular stalls so everyone would have a stall without use of this area? If not, then definitely no. I'd look into half walls or upper bars so they can see each other.

    If the choice was between putting in extra stalls and the loafing area, I'd go with the loafing area and use it as indoor turnout for one horse at a time when the weather is bad.
    Agreed.



  9. #9
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    Mar. 4, 2009
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    No way. That's a very small space for that many horses, and especially with right-angle corners, one could easily get pinned in a corner with no way to escape if another got aggressive. I can't even imagine feeding time in there…

    Based on your comment about being on a flood plain and them being in there a lot during the winter, it just sounds like asking for a lot of pent up energy and frustration amongst quite a few horses in a tiny area.

    Agree about the stalls and making sure there are half walls so they can see each other. I'd want bard on those between the stalls, though, and open to the aisle.

    Do you have a built-up area that doesn't flood for turnout?



  10. #10
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    Sep. 8, 2007
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    Personally I wouldn't do it. I like a horse to have room to get away from another horse who might be agitating him. Even though your horses get along, six is a lot of horses in a small space. Sort of like the way you love your boyfriend until he moves in, LOL!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
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    El Paso, TX
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    Nope. Wouldn't do it. There is nowhere for a horse to get away during a spat. failure to move away when warned by another horse, can escalate a minor spat into a huge fight.
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  12. #12
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    Aug. 30, 2000
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    I wouldn't do it with 6, personally, although I know plenty of people who would and who would never have a problem :-). I'm just not lucky like that! But, if you have enough space to put in that configuration PLUS 6 stalls (I'm guessing probably not or you would have already, but just throwing it out there), I would absolutely do it as and use for 1 or 2 at a time as a loafing spot, or a holding stall while you cleaned their stalls, etc. I would worry about kicks in such a small space, and also I would think the cleaning would be a real nightmare.



  13. #13
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    Jul. 22, 2007
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    No. Six young geldings will be maturing and rearranging their status as they age. It could get ugly. Now if it was 3 walls with an open front to more area, maybe. At least that way someone would have an escape route, but I would still hesitate.

    Now, if it were 2 or 3 old stablemates, absolutely. Six just seems like a lot to me.



  14. #14
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    Jan. 16, 2002
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    I took the divider out between two of my 12 x 12 stalls last fall to prep the space for a foaling stall, and I don't think I'll ever put it back up.

    My small herd did really nicely sharing that stall all winter (two horses and a pony) and right now, after being a nursery for two foals, it's perfect for my gelding on stall rest. LOVE the size.

    That said, I think six teenaged boys is quite different from a bunch of settled, quiet mares! I don't think I'd want to coop them up in there perforce for very long. As a shelter, with access to turnout, yes. (this is how my stalls are used) But as a primary enclosure for more than a very short time, maybe not with young geldings.
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  15. #15
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    Nov. 8, 2006
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    I going with no way. Even if you don't mind caring for all the injuries and the vet bills (and probably damage to your barn walls), the risk of severe injury to the care taking when feeding and cleaning this "stall" would be very high. Getting a head caught between two kicks could very possibly kill a person and not only do the horses have no where to go, but neither will the person.

    There is a big difference between two horses and pony in a 24x12 versus several in a equally proportioned larger area. It is a lot easier to "read" that small group and keep horses and people from getting injured than a group of young growing horses that will have plenty of energy. You can't keep an eye on all six while your mucking to stay out of trouble.



  16. #16
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    Mar. 9, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by seabreeze View Post
    If they were to be locked up in there, without a way to get out into an open area if needed, I probably wouldn't. It it were to be used as a sort of "loafing shed" area with an opening to a small paddock area, then I might consider it.

    Also, the question about feeding is going to need to be addressed.

    At the other end of the barn, would you still have stalls available to isolate a horse (or horses) if one needed stall rest or another sort of confinement? That is something to consider, too.

    Good luck!
    I agree with these main points. I wouldn't mind it for two maybe three but six seems much. And I personally would always want that option of six individual stalls even if they were turned out so they could go in and out of the proposed run-in. . . as I would work it. . .



  17. #17
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    Nov. 1, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoZ View Post
    It would have six young geldings in it who are best buddies. Ages from 1 to 4. But it would not be a lot of space -- not a paddock at all, just a big communal stall. What do you think?
    Even "best buddies", when quarters get too tight, turn on one another. We used to board at a place where they were super-anal about grass so my three geldings were placed in a TINY sand area together and my husband's laid-back, 13 year old gelding became Jaws overnight; my trainer said that can happen to even the meekest of horses when a horse feels too confined by fencing/proximity of other horses. Just my experience.
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  18. #18
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    Mar. 26, 2005
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    OK, I'll be the Voice of Dissent here.
    This type of housing has been common in Europe for years & yes, for young horses.

    I had 2 geldings who shared a 12X12 stall by their choice and one was 17h+, the other 16h. They had free access to separate stalls & would each go into a stall for feeding, but I generally found them sharing a stall when they were in.

    A friend feeds her 4 mature geldings - aged 5 to 12 - in a 3-sided run-in just large enough to hold them. She has been using this method since the 5yo was a yearling.
    They are tied to eat from a manger that runs along the inside wall and everyone exists peacefully.
    Aside from it being (IMO) extra work to get them sorted out & tied, the system works.
    All wait to be brought in, tied in their place and fed. Then they wait to be untied & let back into pasture & this does not happen not immediately when the grain is gone.
    Everyone gets a flake of hay along with the grain and a hayrack setup in the middle of the shed holds additional hay.

    OP: you know your horses, make your decision based on that.
    You can always reconfigure the space, right?
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
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  19. #19
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    Apr. 26, 2004
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    The Netherlands
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    We have our 4 geldings in a communal stall. Could you please translate the sizes you use to meters? Or is that very difficult ;-)

    We have 2 five-year olds, my 7 year old and a 28 year old in the communal stall. This stall is about the size of 4 to 5 boxes. They love it. They can lie down together, play and chase together, sleep or stand together.

    This communcal stable was originally build for yearlings and our 5 yearolds have used it when they were 2 year olds together with 3 other young horses.

    We hang feeding "tubs" on the open side of the stable so they can stand next to each other and eat out of their own tub.

    Sure they sometimes chase eachother but most of the time they are very tuned into each other and they know their place. This was also the case with the youngsters before ..

    EDIT:
    And yes in Europe yearlings are held in communal stalls a lot and they enjoy it, they are very social and have their special buddies to which they turn to and eat next to.

    EDIT II:
    My sevenyear old also grew up in stables like this. I think he is glad to back in such a surrounding. He is a big horse and can now lie down without problems and roll over, the others watch out.
    And: There is no lovelier sight than seeing your horses lie down together and sleep.
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  20. #20
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    Nov. 8, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
    OK,
    I had 2 geldings who shared a 12X12 stall by their choice and one was 17h+, the other 16h. They had free access to separate stalls & would each go into a stall for feeding, but I generally found them sharing a stall when they were in.

    A friend feeds her 4 mature geldings - aged 5 to 12 - in a 3-sided run-in just large enough to hold them. She has been using this method since the 5yo was a yearling.
    They are tied to eat from a manger that runs along the inside wall and everyone exists peacefully.
    Aside from it being (IMO) extra work to get them sorted out & tied, the system works.
    All wait to be brought in, tied in their place and fed. Then they wait to be untied & let back into pasture & this does not happen not immediately when the grain is gone.
    Everyone gets a flake of hay along with the grain and a hayrack setup in the middle of the shed holds additional hay.
    Notice these two situations are VERY different from what the OP is wanting to do. They will not have access to a separate area and they are not being brought in to eat grain and a flake of hay and going back out. The OP's horse's may stay in for several days or longer at a time with no turnout... not the same as an hour or two. Also not the same as two horses having the same access to two stall (from which I presume they enter from outside turnout on their own from the sounds of it??)

    The situations above both seem very appropriate to me (and I've done the first), but I would never do what the OP is suggesting.



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