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How do you stop your horses from gnawing on your dutch doors?

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  • How do you stop your horses from gnawing on your dutch doors?

    We have a 7-stall barn, of which 3 stalls have wooden Dutch doors leading out into the layup paddock. I typically keep the top door open unless it is below 10°. However, there is always at least one horse that starts gnawing on the "x" crosspieces on the bottom door, either from in his stall or if outside in the paddock. I am truly sick of replacing the boards on the doors, and I hate how unsightly it looks. Does anyone have any suggestions to prevent the horses from being able to chew on it?
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

  • #2
    Close the top doors. I know, not helpful. Are the x crosspieces actually structurally necessary or could they be removed? I don't have Dutch doors, but had sliding wood doors on my stalls (since removed as I never used them) and they were really well built and didn't have the cross pieces on them. They still got chewed around the edges, but nothing in the middle to grab. But they made "do" chewing the batts off the outside walls of the barn (which got removed when we remodeled). If there is a wood edge, they will chew it. Especially bored in winter!


    • #3
      Metal edging...
      Equus makus brokus but happy


      • Original Poster

        horsepoor, yes, closing the top doors won't work, especially in the summer -- and still doesn't keep them from doing it if they are out in the paddock.

        The crosspieces are both to provide added support to the wood, and esthetics. All of the doors on the barn (front/back/side) have the crosspieces (dark green on a white background), and the side this is happening on faces the road, so I can't really remove them.

        hosspuller, how would I put metal edging on them?

        Here is what the doors look like (just smaller, as this is the front of the barn):

        They chew on the crosspieces, and top of the bottom board.
        Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


        • #5
          Vicks VaporRub. Apply liberally.


          • #6
            Unfortunately this is the draw back to the design. The X makes excellent purchase for horse that like to chew on things. I don’t use doors with the X “detail” for that reason.
            I made the fronts of our doors using bead board. But even being flat we have has some horses that are still able chew off the paint and get into the wood.

            Using a “V” half screen of the right “V” size allows them to hang their head out but does not give them enough room to drop their head down and chew on things. But with some horses when there’s a “will” they find a way to get at something.

            Installing angle iron or aluminum will protect the edges but they can still work on the exposed wood surface. Or cover the flat surface of the X with metal cut to size. This could be costly. And they will still scrape the paid off.

            You could replace the X detail with PVC/plastic “trim board” that can be bought at Home Depots or building supply. It is sold in standard “dimensional” sizes used for house trim.
            This would/should stand up to a fair amount of abuse and still look OK. It is much harder then wood but they will still be able to scrape/dent it over time. Eventually may end up looking like a worked over plastic dog bone.
            It comes in white and can be painted. But the paint does not “hold” very well and could be easily scraped off. So I would leave it white if you should use it.

            I have used Chew No More which is clear and does discourage but requires repeated applications.


            • #7
              Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
              Vicks VaporRub. Apply liberally.
              Vicks and other like stuff does work. But collects/attracts dirt bits of hay and becomes unsightly. IME


              • #8
                I put up a webbed stall guard after my horses ate the bottom door and I had to replace all 4 bottom stall doors. Has worked very well for me. Either the closed:


                or open:


                You can also buy the plastic stall guards but they are pretty heavy.

                Yes, it's a PITA to do it every time but the least expensive.

                You could also use the metal ones like:


                I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                • #9
                  The board and batten on our barn was a look thing too, but taking them off on the horse side really didn't look bad once painted. I understand wanting to have things look nice, but I'd take smooth doors over chewed up x doors any day. But I wonder if something with a smaller chew place, so maybe thinner boards with beveled edges or such might prove more difficult for a horse to get hold of? I'm not crazy about the metal edging to deter chewing as I see it often rusting or getting pulled up in areas where it can cut a horse, or catch hair. We have plastic corner edging on some of the door frames and posts of my barn and that has worked well, and I felt it was safer than metal, but it isn't the prettiest (white plastic).


                  • #10
                    I've used carpet tack strips to keep my cribber off my dutch door. Worked like a charm and was the last time I had to rebuild the dutch door. Horse never even got a bloody lip.


                    • #11
                      I have dutch doors and board and batten on the barn siding. Fortunately, the horses are on the back side of the barn. You would think I was keeping beavers not horses. I finally gave up.


                      • #12
                        If you decide to cover the edges with metal, you can buy metal edging at a place like Lowe's or Home Depot. You can usually cut it with tin snips, screw the pieces on, and then paint over them.
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling


                        • #13
                          I've used metal corner edging designed for drywall installation. Easy to cut, paintable, and discourages chewing. Cheap, too


                          • #14
                            I screwed a heavy-duty metal strip across the top and sides. It sort of fitted over the top. Worked like a charm.
                            SouvenirFarm.com: Rustic Wall Decor & Garden Accents | Gifts for Nature, Garden & Horse Lovers | MerryLegs Horse Christmas Stockings


                            • #15
                              I've used "angle iron" pieces that were cut the size we wanted. Screwed on and can be painted. They come in sizes/thicknesses. I got mine at the coop or might have been Southern States at the time. Gotta think Home Depot has them too. Anyplace that sells metal. But I had a cribber at the time. Discourages them too cuz they can't get a purchase on the metal so well and it tastes bad! Just my 2 sense!