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Stall doors - "social" openings or curved cutouts - Y? N? safety issue?

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  • #21
    I LOVE a barn where my horses can hang their heads out and see what's going on. Maybe it wouldn't be necessary if they spend the vast majority of their time outside. But I've seen two horses relax dramatically when they moved to a stall where they could hang their heads out. I'm a believer!!

    We do avoid leaving anything very nice in front of my mare, but otherwise that's the only adjustment. She leaves blankets alone, but will destroy leather goods. Our aisles are wide enough that it doesn't create a safety issue.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


    • #22
      Originally posted by Chestnut Run View Post
      Not to derail the OP, just a slight tangent.

      You are right--most racetrack barns have dutch doors leading into the shedrow. BUT most (not all, by any means) trainers for the past 20 years or so, which is when I started at the track, use webbings and crossbars within the dutch doors. I, personally, don't like dutch door for exactly the reason you said--horses banging their knees particularly at feed time.

      Here's a link to what I mean. Just did a google search to pull up images. The first image on the article show the webbings I'm talking about.

      Here is a picture of our race training barn.
      Since the aisle in front of the stalls was just 7', we did have some issues with alligator horses.
      You can see our horses during the day behind a chain and webbing:
      Attached Files


      • #23
        You can purchase stall fronts with pipe fronts that have a removable V in them so you can take it off or put it up according to the horse living within.


        • #24
          With open top doors, one other thing to think about is the latch system. Mine are this kind of flip thing that is really easy for a horse to open when they are able to have their heads out, so I actually put a chain around just to prevent any wandering. When I have the top half of the doors closed, the latch is fine as they can't reach it. We had these same stall fronts at a prior boarding barn, and one of my horses knew how to open it, so I already was in the habit of adding the chain.


          • #25
            Originally posted by Bluey View Post
            Here is a picture of our race training barn.
            Since the aisle in front of the stalls was just 7', we did have some issues with alligator horses.
            You can see our horses during the day behind a chain and webbing:
            Very cool looking barn. It must have been in a warm climate to be so open. I've mostly been at tracks on the east coast, KY, and FL. And yeah, 7' would make major alligator issues. lol We would add a second crossbar across the top about 6 inches above the first crossbar for any alligators. Kept them mostly contained. Although, I did have one colt that got a second webbing across the top during training hours. He wasn't mean, just a very playful colt and loved to grab hotwalkers clothes and pull them in to frisk them for mints. Of course, after he did that a time or two, up went the second webbing.



            • #26
              Mine have the V openings in the tops of their sliding stall doors. I also have dutch doors out to their runs that are always open. I've not had a problem with them with my horses,at all, but my aisle is 16 feet wide, so no risk of horses reaching out to nip. I will say that I had a boarder whose horse used to grind his teeth on the front of the door, so I just put a stall guard over the opening and that solved that. My horses like to hang their heads out, and I like to give them a pat as I go by.


              • #27
                I don't like heads thru a door for all the reasons Bluey said. Even with wide aisles, it can be a safety hazard, to the stalled horse or anyone using the aisle.

                Our horses are turned out daily, have PLENTY of physical, social contact with other equines. They don't NEED every minute to be "connected or closer" to other equines or ME. I see heads hanging out as a PEOPLE issue, with person thinking in the horse's place, what PERSON would like best. Horses survive fine with heads kept inside the stall.

                I will suggest that you rethink your dutch doors, and go for sliders instead. With sliders correctly installed, door is OPEN OR SHUT. Nothing to lean on, pull the hinges out of the wall, make door hang crooked. NO edges to chew on. And for me, SAFETY is highest with the sliders, because horse can't jump over it to get outside if he WANTS to be outside. You could make a drop down, outside window with bars over the opening for air if you want. Horse is still contained behind a full strength door. Never had a slider door get saggy!!


                • #28
                  You have to admit that this picture makes the human feel soooo good about the horse in peace in the clean, airy, light barn there, his head out.
                  I don't think that is safe for some horses, young ones that may be full of it could try to jump out, maybe if it's buddy is leaving, but for an older horse without any other ambition but snooze away the day, that is ok.

                  For some humans, just like building a very pretty wood barn, that a horse is available for a quick pat or treat, with it's head out there is also very important, so there has to be a trade-off with what our heart's desire and what is sensible and safe and best.
                  No one can tell others what that may be, for them.
                  Attached Files


                  • #29
                    Hi, not quite sure if what we have applies, but I thought I would share anyway...
                    We don't have an "aisle" we just have one row of stalls...only 3 in fact...but here are a few pictures of what we have. We love letting them hang their heads out...sometimes we also open the door....





                    • #30
                      If you're worried about them pulling blankets off their stall fronts and you only have a row of stalls on one side you can put the blanket bars on the other wall, instead of on the stall doors. That's what our barn has (not my barn but barn I board at). The barn also has little windows (half the side of the door width) in the doors that swing to the side and attach to the other half of the door. So if you wish to walk a horse by or stand a horse near a stall you just shut this light window, and it doesn't have any more chance of a leg getting stuck.

                      Seen here


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by js View Post
                        Does anyone have this type of stall/door? I love the look but seems the horses would always be kicking shavings etc into the aisle; along with it blowing into the aisle if there was wind and paddock doors were open. Just curious for those that have them if the clean up issue is worse?
                        I worked somewhere that had those type of metal grate/square mesh fronts. It was nice because you can see the horses even if they are lying down. But you do get shaving going everywhere. We didn't have shaving guards but did sweep the shavings back from the front.

                        The other downside was that you do have to spray them down regularly or hand wash them because dust sits everywhere and it is very noticeable.

                        A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


                        • #32
                          We have the doors with the V shaped opening in bars that can be closed or open(swing up bars to close). Best of both worlds

                          I think sliding doors are both safer & more convenient. Easier to get in out, etc.


                          • #33
                            with a face like that, you certainly wouldn't want to lock it away!


                            • #34
                              I've seen the all mesh in a NJ barm, don't know how they kept warm in the winter! In one of the barns where I boarded they had cement walls on three sides, and given that it was a boarding barn, that was needed to keep horses that worried each other calm. So it's hard to say what works well. The mesh wouldn't work if two incompatible horses are next to each other. One kick and it's down and the less dominant horse would never feel safe in his stall. But I'm talking about the divider between the stalls.
                              (yup, I put a car side mirror up for my horse to look see, just like in prisons. Got some smirks for that).


                              • #35
                                I am pro head hanging out. I don't like "horse jail" and am building a barn with the euro fronts. That said, I also don't want blankets hung in the aisle, and want the aisle fairly clear. Additionally, I do get some rambunctious souls coming through the barn, and will have one quarantine stall for horses who might think it fun to jump out which will have a full stall gate.
                                I would never build an open barn like this for a boarding barn and unknown horses.
                                Last edited by FairWeather; Mar. 18, 2013, 03:24 PM. Reason: fixing odd typos


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by ElisLove View Post
                                  If you're worried about them pulling blankets off their stall fronts and you only have a row of stalls on one side you can put the blanket bars on the other wall, instead of on the stall doors. That's what our barn has (not my barn but barn I board at). The barn also has little windows (half the side of the door width) in the doors that swing to the side and attach to the other half of the door. So if you wish to walk a horse by or stand a horse near a stall you just shut this light window, and it doesn't have any more chance of a leg getting stuck.

                                  Seen here
                                  If a horse were to frisk around and paw at those upper bars, as far apart as they are and light, I would be afraid it hang a foot thru them.
                                  Those really need to be 2" or less apart.

                                  I know several trainers that absolutely refuse to put a horse in stalls with bars, having seen bad wrecks from those.

                                  Our old barn after the race training barn had the diamond expanded mesh for tops, but for that, I like the new little wire square mesh better.

                                  Ideally, maybe a barn should have fronts that can be left open or closed and some stalls with solid sides for the more aggressive horses, some airy ones for the quiet ones that like to see what is going on.

                                  If we have runs outside, then horses really have enough interaction with the world outside and a more closed in stall would be ok.

                                  Here many make stalls with concrete walls, easy to make, weld a frame with rebar in it and pour concrete.
                                  Some even add their brand to the walls.
                                  Generally, those have a whole gate for the front of the stall, if 12'x12' stalls, a 12' gate, rather than one more wall with a smaller door in it.

                                  I don't really like sliding doors because they don't work for long and some horses can, when getting up from laying down, push them and get a foot caught there, not as apt to happen with swinging doors.
                                  Now, if you have a small aisle, sliding doors will give you more space there.

                                  What we do in our barns is about trade-offs with the look we like, what is safe according to the barn owner and it's experiences and what we have to work with.

                                  I think whatever you do will be fine.


                                  • #37
                                    I went through this dilema when building my barn.
                                    I wanted the horses to have their heads out when I was there but also wanted the ability to shut in a naughty horse, or one that ate blankets or one that might jump out. I did not want blanket bars on the doors or drop down door tops becuase I have seen horses get their lower jaw caught on these.
                                    I solved this by having 3 stalls with euro fronts. These are for the quiet horses and ones that don't mess with their belongings. Then I did 3 stalls with dutch doors. I like the dutch doors a lot. The tops are open when we are there and they are closed at night. Finally, I did two stalls with full doors. These have no option for head out at all. I love the fleixibility that this combo give me. All of our blanket bars are to the side of the doors. Our alley is 16' wide so you can pass between two horses with their heads out safely.

                                    Incidentally I did wire mesh doors and upper dividers like Bluey linked to. I did not do all mesh fronts, because as someone upthread pointed out, this is cold and drafty in winter. I love having mesh doors since you can see the whole horse without going right up to his stalls. They have a shavings guard at the bottom and shavings do not go inthe alley. The mesh does collect dust though, as someone else pointed out. I think the mesh is safer than bars.