Advice on stall doors - spinoff from hind leg stuck thru stall bars
We are in the planning stages of having a barn built and just read this thread in Off Course. We were looking into having sliding stall doors with a full grill and wood shavings guard at the bottom. We chose this thinking it would help with cross ventilation in the barn(in SC). Now I am concerned about feet going thru these doors. Should I be? The bars are 3" on center.
I will say, for the millions of horses stabled behind grills, few have accidents.
Then, why try your luck, when we have other ways to confine horses?
I worked for a BO that would not put a horse in a stall with grills, had seen a few race colts stick their legs in grills playing around and would never again have any horse in a grill enclosure.
Still, many of the fancier barns use grills, like the look of it and never have an accident.
We built our portable stalls with horizontal bars, that are commonly called fairground type stalls and I have never heard of an accident because of those.
We first made them with three bars, but that was a little bit too far apart, so we modified it and added one more, that we have not painted yet.
One advantage of that type of stall fronts is that you don't need feed doors, you can just slide the hay or feed scoop right thru the bars:
If a horse kicks thru them, they will get their leg back with minimal damage.
I see more and more top barns going to that.
Now, if you are talking about using bars on the bottom of stalls for airflow, that Is a hairebrained idea.
That is putting the real possibility of a horse hitting the bars where most horses would hit if they kicked, like when annoyed.
There are strong mesh panels today, with 2" squares, that are much more horse friendly for that.
We have stall doors with half grilles on top. For better horse entertainment and cross-ventilation we also have top grilles between the stalls. This doesn't probably work with stallions and mares in heat, but works with our old geldings. They get to see each other and sniff around. We also have grilles in the stall fronts with doors for water bucket access and an opening to the feedbuckets. So we are surrounding our horses with wood from the floor to about 4-5 feet above the floor, but then again we are in Maine...we do use standing fans in the height of summer for air.
With that many bars so close and not very long, reinforced at short distances by a horizontal bar, it would take a very strong horse to get a foot thru that.
If a horse was going to kick with that force, I expect there would be little that would hold up, but for most horses, that seems it would be good enough.
What I meant is that in normal grills, about 2" to 2 1/2" spacings, the chances of a kick getting a foot thru them is more possible than with other kinds of stall walls.
My opinion is that, if we have what we have, we make do and hope we are lucky.
If we are building new or remodeling, I would go for the safest possible and know even then, when confining horses, nothing is 100% safe.
I've never seen this style door. I'm sure it could work -- definately not going to be a problem for legs or hoofs going through. But I agree with Kat that it will collect dust, webs, hay, etc.
Also think about which way the weather comes into your barn. I have four stalls on the front of my barn and two on the back -- we used to use stall guards for everyone but I had to stop for the four on the front because if their dutch doors and windows were open, bedding would get blown into the aisle. So now their doors (bottom is wood, the top has bars) stay shut.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
check out www.lucasequine.com for the best doors. I have the ones that are total screens with no bars. The same type that most of the vet schools have. I had the drop down yokes added. Wish I had added the bedding guard on the bottom. Just truly top of the line, very heavy doors. Great airflow.
I saw something like those open stall fronts in a veterinary clinic, with solid concrete block between stalls and they were very happy with their barn.
I've looked into the Lucas fronts......they are not actually mesh but heavy solid wire with lots of weld spots...the diameter is thick but can't remember the dimension...maybe almost a 1/4"......I don't think a horse would kick through them.
We've been installing these for years. The mesh front door is similar to several other companies-maximum air flow and, for foaling at least, you can see the entire stall from the doorway. It a 1/4" welded mesh that is almost impervious to anything a horse can do to it. http://www.weldyenterprises.com/hand...p/h_stall.html
Honestly, for airflow? We never even close our stall doors. They are always open and I just put a chain stall guard across the front. The horses live outside most of the time, but if they are in for extreme heat or nasty weather, they just hang out with the door open.
My mares go to the university of MN for breeding and they have screen fronts on the stalls...my big Irish mares can really make a racket...and once they realized they could make a racket they choose to make edutorial comments often. It is odd to me that other horses there don't do what my mares do but if you have a smart horse and they have something to say they will say it with feet on metal...thank God they never learned to scrape their teeth up the bars at home. THAT makes me nuts.
We didn't have the luxury of any kind of budget when we built out little barn. We used chain link driveway gates (they come in a set of 2 and re supposed to open in the middle). We used one on each door and they come all the way to the ground (so no caught feet) and cost around $40 each. They have been up 3 years and work great (haven't lost any shavings).
Of course my guys are out most of the time so they haven't tested them too much.
I hate sliders. They always seem to come off the track at the worse times. Maybe they are better now?
Here's the Lucas mesh stall front at my old boarding barn. This really thick steel mesh is pretty kickproof. These stalls were mostly inhabited by rambunctious 17-hand warmblood youngsters who never had any kick-through incidents. I am replicating these stalls in my new barn, except mine will be galvanized. As someone mentioned on another thread, the black powder-coat looks nice until a horse (such as my mare in the photo) chews the paint off; then all you got is rust and shattered dreams.
Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life
I haven't seen the design you show before. The grille on the bottom has close spacing, so I don't think a foot would be likely to be caught. That having been said, that area of a stall door can end up taking a lot of abuse and I'd choose a tried and true design like mesh or wood for the bottom part of a stall door that I feel really confident isn't going to bend or break.
I would suggest going with a shavings/bedding guard, a mesh bottom, and then mesh vs. grilles for the top. Or, just go with a solid bottom and a mesh vs. grille top. I know what you mean about wanting ventilation, but having the bottom of the door being mesh vs. wood probably doesn't make that much of a difference. Plus, I think you will find that doing a mesh bottom adds a decent bit onto the price of your doors. I also think that aesthetically it is nicer sometimes not to have the view into the stall of the bedding, because stalls are only perfect and beautiful for about 10 minutes after you put a horse in them.
If you have breeding horses (foals, yearlings, stallions) I would recommend against grilles completely and would only use mesh, and no openings for heads to stick out.
I'm also going to urge you to consider carefully whether or not you really want a design that allows your horses to stick their heads out. Horses that can stick their heads out can chew on blankets, bite other horses walking by, rake their teeth on the outside of the door, chew/crib on the edge of the door (a la Ginger Rogers in the Crone's post above), etc. I know that some people really love to walk in a barn and see heads hanging out of the stall doors, but if you are going to go that route then you should buy the inexpensive mesh swinging stall doors with the yoke at the top, DON'T waste your money on fancy sliding doors. One of the top suppliers of fancy doors told me that he once did a photo shoot of some of their work that included doors with yokes--the shoot was done the same day the horses were put in the stalls for the first time and they had to photoshop out damage that occurred.