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Half walls for stall fronts?

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  • Half walls for stall fronts?

    Ok, so I'm looking for an inexpensive way to do stall fronts. At first I was just going to save for a couple years and get some with nice grills and sliding doors and everything, but I really can't stand looking at the stall fronts we have now...THEY HAVE TO GO! They're painted brown and white, chipping paint, rusted "homemade" front grills, heavy sliding doors, it's all really ugly. The wood is all chewed (not from my horses, we bought our farm a little less than a year ago with the barn already on the property) and I don't really want to bother replacing wood, sanding, repainting, striping the grills of paint, repainting grills, etc etc. 1) I just don't have that kind of free time and 2) I'm not a fan of the type of stall fronts we have.
    Anyway, so cheap stall fronts...
    I was thinking about doing solid wood walls about 3.5 or 4 feet high using those nifty u-channels. Then for the stall door I was going to use stall gates. I found some stall gates from Ramm fencing that go all the way down to the ground, I would probably use them. I would cap the wood half wall with a metal strip so the horses couldn't chew (not that they should, the get free choice hay inside!).
    But I can see some pretty big cons to not having grills on the stall front like...
    1) horses possibly jumping out of the stalls
    2) a horse in the isle possibly getting bit by a horse in a stall
    3) a person in the isle possibly getting bit by a horse in a stall
    4) horses chewing blankets, pads, wraps, halters, bridles, etc, that are left on blanket bars on the stall fronts
    5) horses getting into fights because they will now be able to reach each other because they don't have stall front grills.
    There are also some pros, like...
    1) horses will be more comfortable because they can see each other
    2) more "room" in the stalls for horses to turn around
    3) better ventilation
    4) they will be pretty so I won't cringe everytime I walk into the barn
    5) they're inexpensive

    Should I go for it and put up half wall stall fronts? Or should I wait until I can afford new stall fronts with grills and sliding doors and just try to ignore how ugly they are.
    I run (or will be running) a small boarding barn in the near future. 6 stalls, 2 of them are for my horses. How would this set up look to a possible new boarder?

    Thanks for reading my rambling!
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

  • #2
    >>>>>But I can see some pretty big cons to not having grills on the stall front like...
    1) horses possibly jumping out of the stalls<<<<<

    I have full stall fronts (solid below, bars above). On the rare occasion a horse gets really agitated, I'm glad I do.


    • #3
      I did something somewhat similar to "temporarily" enclose the back walls of our stalls until we get the proper sacrifice runs & "real" walls built.

      These went up quickly & cheaply, and I can always sell or re-use the 4' gates elsewhere.

      As far as the inmates kibbitzing... they do, but they don't actually fight. If I have two "fighters" next to each other, they'll wreak havoc regardless - so I try to arrange the victims accordingly.

      While I didn't use the u-channel for the ends, you certainly could, and it would be quicker / easier than my halfbaked toenailed stuff. We DID use u-channel for the other proper 3 walls, and will when we go to finish off these walls. Eventually they'll be lined w/ tongue & groove to match the rest / be sided outside with board & batten to match the rest and will have Dutch 1/2 doors. I'll probably do grills on either side of each doorway from the 1/2 wall up to the top when I finish them off, too...

      Links to a couple of pics:



      While I left that lower part open, you could always fill that in completely, obviously. They just went up quicker this way, took a little less lumber, and it will be less for me to demolish when I go to do a proper job of the lot.

      Hope that helps to maybe visualize it a bit...


      • #4
        So long as the horses aren't too aggressive, you aren't worried about a horse jumping out if left alone in the barn for some reason, and you don't plan to keep frightened weanlings in the stalls it seems like half walls should be fine.

        Might want to fully enclose just one stall in case you have a horse or foal tempted by the easy exit or one who is particularly grumpy.

        My stalls have the yoke things in the interior stall doors and dutch doors on the back of the stalls. So not fully open stall fronts but still... you can tell I am a big fan of horses being able to poke their heads out

        I don't have aggressive horses so for me the biggest downside is no blanket bars.


        • #5
          Where do you get U-channels?

          and RidingArts, I love that building....


          • #6
            Ive seen half stalls once before in a low budget, private barn. The whole stalls were half stalls (so the sides open too), and it was pretty scary. When I read the title, before I even opened the thread, I thought, "bad idea, horses can jump out/bit each other or a passing person/horse". Horses do crazy things and Ive seen several horses try to jump out over a dutch door.

            I like what ridingarts posted pictures of. I would feel safer with that. The beams break up the openness and I feel like that would discourage the jumping out part more.


            • #7
              I boarded in a barn with a couple half-walls, and it was fine. However, at least every other stall had grills so that the "naughty" horses would have grills, and the well-behaved ones could hang their heads out over the stall fronts. There were never any issues with horses fighting or biting anyone or anything, but the grills on every other stall helped a lot.

              Could you do one stall with a grill, and the others opened, for now? That way if you have one naughty horse you can put him into the stall with the grill? Then add grills to the others as you can afford it?


              • #8
                Originally posted by HPFarmette View Post
                and RidingArts, I love that building....
                Wow, thanks SO much! Labor of love and pain and $uffering, I tell you... And still not all the way finished... I'm a little shy to post pics of it, there are so many big, fancy places out there, you know? Our tiny place is very humble, and far from finished yet. We're slowly building everything ourselves.

                More pics here, if you'd like to see more: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=8c594b9e32

                But to return from the hijack (sorry!) - as far as more open stalls / heads out, etc. - I like to let them have their heads out as much as possible. Some critters DO get pretty naughty, tho - so it depends a lot on the inmate(s) in question as to how much latitude you can give them. A lot of times it depends upon how much turnout / exercise they get, too...


                • #9
                  We've got partial walls in our small barn (3 stalls). They're about 5' on the fronts (doors too) and 6.5' between the stalls. I like it and so do the boys. The height in the front let's them put their head's over to say hello but gives me confidence that they can't jump over from a standstill. The height between the stalls means that while they can kiss each other, they can't actually get at each other to bite or fight.

                  Our stall walls are dropped into u-channels and made of cedar "car decking". Even the stall pawer hasn't made a dent in the walls.

                  Would it be my first choice in building a barn? No, I'd rather the high-end look, but we didn't build the barn and it's perfectly functional as-is. Happy to get you photos if that would be useful.


                  • #10
                    SS, we have built our barn ourselves and finish different parts as we can afford to. Stall fronts have been pretty far down on the list. In this picture you can see the stalls.


                    We have used all rough cut lumber so the boards are substantial. I definitely like Ridingarts pics and am going to show DH how nice they look. The summer ventilation is fantastic. We hang large 4' fans in the corners of the barn and the horses get plenty of air.

                    We have a variety of animals (sheep, a cow, a pony and three horses) and this configuration works well for everyone. Our herd is relatively docile with no young stock.
                    Alison Howard
                    Homestead Farms, Maryland www.freshorganicvegetables.com


                    • #11
                      Alison your pics are beautiful! Very nice how you tied the profile of the barn in with the house... funny how we have almost the same colors - and I want to do similar flower boxes under the windows once I finally get to that point. :-)

                      Love your big overhangs, too!


                      • #12
                        I did these stall fronts myself for roughly $120 including all lumber and hardware.

                        (my barn was not done--by a long shot--when that photo was taken 4 years ago, but I had to move the horses in anyway)


                        If I was looking at a boarding barn I probably wouldn't feel comfortable with half-walls. And as an owner I like the stall to be an enclosed place where I can work with the horse and know they won't attempt to escape. JMO.

                        Let me know if you'd like to see more pics or know what materials i used...


                        • #13
                          OP- 3.5 feet is not tall enough, for open stall fronts--I'd go 4.5-5 feet. More deterrent to "jumping out" urges, and also keeps horses from leaning into the aisle. Solid walls and gates like the ones another posted would be great. I have one stall with an open wall (we never put the grill work in) and the horses don't really do more than grinch at each other, though I wouldn't want two unhappy campers side by side.

                          I used Priefert Modular stall components, and all I had to do was add wood--roughly $1000 a stall. They look fabulous (gray powder coat) 6 years later--in the damp, gray PNW that's pretty good.
                          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                          • #14
                            My parents have open fronted stalls in the barn and have for 15 years. It only works because they have a 16 foot aisle. With a narrower aisle horses might be able to bite others walking by or in the crossties, but with the 16 foot aisle it is fine.

                            They are probably 4.5 feet high. They should be at least wither height for the horses. No way would 3.5 feet contain a horse reliably. We have never had a horse try to jump out.

                            There are advantages. It is very friendly and the horses all enjoy socializing and standing with their heads together. The disadvantage is that they can also fight. Would not be good for a nasty horse.


                            • #15
                              I agree that 3 1/2' is nowhere near tall enough for a stall wall (or front). But as far as half walls go, that's what I have in my barn and I haven't ever had issues with horses trying to jump out....even when very agitated.

                              My stall fronts are 5' tall and the doors are 4 1/2' tall. Horses can hang their heads out, but they can't reach over the wall to bite a cross-tied horse in the aisleway (my aisleways are only 10' wide). We also have a 2"x6" board that makes a "ledge" or "shelf" along the top of the stall wall and I think that helps because it doesn't allow the horses to comfortably push against the wall if they do want to lean out.

                              My walls between the stalls are 6' tall, but they're boards up to about 5' and then open frame the last foot. Hard to explain what that means, but basically a horse can see through but can't fit their head through any way other than sideways....so there's not enough room to get stuck, but there is enough room to "kiss" the neighbor. I don't particularly like the design (and wouldn't plan my stalls that way), but the barn was built when we got here and mine don't live in stalls unless they're on lay-up for some reason, so I haven't ever made the effort to change them out.
                              Flying F Sport Horses
                              Horses in the NW


                              • #16
                                The barn where I board ("low-budget" is a good way of putting it) has half-wall fronts. I haven't measured, but I'd guess they're 4' tall. There are the two mares that like to charge when unfamiliar horses walk down the aisleway (and some genius put these two mares across from each other so you have to walk dead in the center of the aisle to keep your innocent gelding from getting got) but you'd have that issue with v-fronts or dutch doors too. The only horse that has ever gotten agitated enough to try and jump out was a filly being weaned and desperate to get back to mama. As long as your horses are generally good citizens I think you'll be fine. The horses seem to get agitated less than at my previous barn which had grill fronts - I think sticking their heads out and being a part of things keeps them interested and generally calmer. If I ever get around to building my own barn I'll probably do half walls the same way.


                                • #17
                                  We converted an old dairy barn and created 5 new stalls along a 70 foot section. We used rough cut hemlock 2x12s and 4x4s as our corner studs. The side walls go all the way up and the back walls are stone with each stall having at least one 2x2' window. The fronts are 1/2 walls up to 5 feet and the beam that delineates the edge of the aisle hangs down to 8 feet. In the 11 years we have been here, 1 weanling jumped out, 1 person got bitten and we had to replace 3 boards from the one and only boarder who, when wearing his cribbing collar, chews instead ( grrr ). We built our own doors too out of 3/4 inch plywood reinforced with 1x4s and with 2 latches and that are flush to the ground so no little babies get their feet stuck under. They are also 5 feet and we have experimented a few times with different hinges and have settled on 8" strap hinges 4 per door. As my kids are rather clever, some of the doors have 2x4 gate boards in brackets over the front. More than one has let them selves out, somehow reaching the bottom latch or bouncing the door until the latch slides. Brats.

                                  My herd lives out much more than in but when all are in, they seem to be happier hanging out over their walls being social. We have been lucky as my warmbloods and QHs are all pretty laid back. 3 of my boys think it is hysterical to pick up their rubber feed tubs and throw them over the wall when they are done with dinner. I like the ventilation, the social aspect and I don't really have any negatives. The jumper was just 6 or 7 months old and had been weaned for a few months and my DH was doing turn out for me and left him to last as he was ( still is) a chicken about walking 2 at a time. I still don't know how the little bugger got over the 5 foot door and under the 8 foot sill. We went over him with a fine tooth comb, not a scratch on him!!

                                  I always thought we would put in grills but haven't seemed to need them so I really don't think it will happen at this point.
                                  bad decisions make good stories


                                  • #18
                                    PS - the horses dont jump out but the 4H goats even as 6 week old kids can clear it so we had to put chicken wire from wall up to ceiling. They would run and jump on the side wall banking over to the front wall. I never saw such a sight, as they are white it was like popcorn, we laughed our arses off. Kids these days!
                                    bad decisions make good stories


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ArabDiva View Post
                                      I did these stall fronts myself for roughly $120 including all lumber and hardware.

                                      (my barn was not done--by a long shot--when that photo was taken 4 years ago, but I had to move the horses in anyway)


                                      If I was looking at a boarding barn I probably wouldn't feel comfortable with half-walls. And as an owner I like the stall to be an enclosed place where I can work with the horse and know they won't attempt to escape. JMO.

                                      Let me know if you'd like to see more pics or know what materials i used...

                                      This looks just like my barn. This barn was built before we moved in. It did have solid walls between the stalls but I made them half walls with wire so they could see each other. Ive had my horse in a full sliding metal door stall and the half walls and she is SO much happier and more settled when she can put her head out.

                                      Granted, my horses are at home and arent ones to bite others as you walk by or try to jump out.


                                      This is like 3 yrs old and when we were making the end stall 10x20 and making that part of the aisle in front of it part of the stall.

                                      Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Ok everyone has BEAUTIFUL barns! I'm jealous and would lovvvve to see more pictures!

                                        I would be getting the u-channels from RAMM fencing as well.

                                        My isle way is fairly wide, I'd say 12 ft (I know, bad me! I've never actually measured!) also, the stalls are only on one side of the isle, so I'm thinking as long as whoever is walking a horse in the isle is careful, no one should have any trouble.

                                        My horses aren't agressive but I like to be on the safe side, never know when someone will be in a bad mood and decide you look mighty delicious!

                                        My horses are pretty calm, I really can't see one of my guys trying to jump out of a stall, no matter how upset they get. My TB is a scaredy cat and I just don't think he has it in him, my QH probably could, but he never gets uspset in his stall and he is a bit of a lazy fatty, I just don't think he would bother. They both have dutch doors as it is, and no one has thought about jumping to my knowledge.

                                        3'6" is too short now that I think about it, that height is asking for trouble. However 4'-4'6" would be good. My QH isn't exactly tall, and 5' is pushing it, he would be able to see out, but he would really have to raise his neck to get his head out and I'm not sure how good for him it would be considering he has a pretty level topline. My TB is a little over 16 h so he's not exactly a giant either.

                                        I'm never planning on boarding or owning a weanling. Just not going to happen. A yearling maybe, but not as a boarder, as my own ONLY. If I did get a yearling he/she would stay out in all but the worst weather, I don't like babies in stalls. The only reason I keep my guys in at night now is because not all of my fields are fenced in and my pastures won't hold up to 24/7 turnout currently.
                                        Last edited by SAcres; Dec. 17, 2011, 12:37 PM.
                                        come what may

                                        Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013