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Stall Design

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  • Stall Design

    For a horse that is not able to be turned out regularly during show season (Saddle Seat show horse) would a 16ft by 16ft stall be too big (with tailboards)? Would a runout (stall width and about 60-70 ft long) with 3/8- pea gravel (Cherry Hill recommended) footing attached to a stall as well be a bad idea? I would think that giving a horse room to move around and then a chance to go outside in a controlled environment (no sprinting) would be an all around good thing especially for a show horse who usually has to hang out in a 12 ft by 12ft stall most of the day.

  • #2
    I"m just an average backyard horse owner. I have a question - why can't a show horse be turned out during show season? If worried about fading, the horse could be turned out at night. If worried about bite marks from other horses, how about a private paddock. Just curious...


    • #3
      I personally don't think a stall can be too big, but that's just me.

      And my old barn had runs with the pea gravel and I LOVED them. Easy to keep clean, the horses seemed to really like to lay down in it, no mud, plus our farrier always raved about how healthy their hooves were because of the increased circulation from walking/standing on the pea gravel.

      I think it depends, though. I haven't shown Saddleseat in about 15 years, and when I was I never gave much thought to stall size, so I am really not sure. Will they be wearing their tails set? Padded shoes?


      • Original Poster

        I will have Saddlebreds (maybe some Morgans) so no big lick packages but yes they will have show shoes/pads on during the show season. I don't know if I would let them out in the run in if they had a tail set or bustle on because you definately wouldn't turn them out in one.

        I used to hear that a big stall gives them more of a chance to hurt themselves but I don't think thats correct.


        • #5
          I would go with the big stalls. You lose a foot in each direction with tail boards, so stall is really only 14ft x 14ft when you measure moving space. I might even make my stall bigger than yours, if it was possible. Could be longer, if not able to widen it also.

          You might ask the Farrier about the pea gravel stuff. Not sure if it would slow down the flight of hoof in a package, enough to allow horse to catch his fronts when goofing around. I do like a horse having as much space as possible outside, but if he is a show horse, you have to modify things.

          Kind of like mud DOES NOT suck off shoes, but DOES slow the hoof in travel enough to allow hinds to catch the fronts and pull the shoes off.


          • #6
            Originally posted by goodhors View Post
            Kind of like mud DOES NOT suck off shoes....
            Not so sure I agree 100% with that one. Certain pad arrangements and the right consistancy of mud create a lot of suckage! But by and large you are correct.
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              The question is where to put your money.

              The larger the stall, the more it will cost to bed regardless of how much more it costs to built it initially.

              Your better solution--both for your horse's enjoyment and your maintaining the footing outside-- is to build a regulation 12 x 12 stall and put some of the money you would have spend on bedding into rerocking the paddock as needed.

              If your horse is a bit of a pig in his stall, you might improve that with a long stall. A 16.1 wideload of mine did well in a 10 x 16 stall. The length helped him remember that the bathroom, the TV room and the kitchen were different places!
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat


              • #8
                I prefer the big stalls. Our stalls are in an old converted cow barn, with each stall being about 10 wide x 20 long. Every single horse in those stalls will eat on one side and "do business" on the other. So, I have found it much easier to keep these big stalls clean than smaller stalls. Also, I have had no issues at all with them getting hurt. In fact, if one of the horse (or horses) needs to stay up for an extended time, including for recovery from injury or surgery, they seem to cope well in these stalls - plenty of room to move around but not enough room to hurt themselves.


                • #9
                  Deep red clay mud can pull a shoe off. The constant sucking as the horse has to yank each hoof free eventually loosens the shoe until one of the steps makes the shoe suck right off.

                  One of the funniest things I've ever seen was someone who had their britches pulled down from red clay mud. Person trying to stomp/stork walk through very deep wet clay...one step they lost their boot...lost their balance and ended up stepping ahead again without boot...next step sucked the riding tights right down as she tried to yank her foot back out...she was not as amused about it as I was.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!


                  • #10
                    If he is to be in a stall with an attached run-in then I would err on the side of having plenty of room in the stall. Mine were once boarded in 16' x 16' stalls. It takes more time to clean them, and costs more to bed them, but they moved around more comfortably in them than they ever did in the 12' x 12' stalls, and did not get cast or hurt in their stalls.
                    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                    • #11
                      I would do 12'x12's and would not do an attached run. Instead I would plan on a few small paddocks (40'x40'-60'x60') that have good footing and are located in an area on your farm that has ideal drainage. IMO a horse is more likely to hurt himself doing quick turns in a long narrow run than in a square one where he can trot and canter in circles and is not forced to make hard stops and quick turns if he wants to play, and you will have better control of keeping the footing the the "exercise paddocks" in good shape if they are away from the building. Any time I see runs that run out from the barn they always have terrible footing near the barn from the roof run-off. They can definatly "sprint" in 60-70's space! And my experience is that stalls larger than 12'x12' for anything but broodmares are largely just a waste of bedding.


                      • Original Poster

                        I am rethinking the length of the runout. I am thinking of making it 16x32. I just want to give them a chance to stand outside and walk around a bit (nothing faster) and see other horses. I don't want to turn show horse's out just for exercise, its just not feasible during the show season. Would 32 ft be small enough to keep them from doing anything other than walking/laying down/rolling?

                        What kind of door should go out into the run? Should the doorway be standard (4ft) wide?

                        How high would a water bucket need to be so a horse won't put it in the water? Or should the bucket just sit on top of the tailboards?


                        • #13
                          Please forgive my ignorance - but - what are tailboards?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by In_ View Post
                            Please forgive my ignorance - but - what are tailboards?
                            A shelf around the inside of the stall that keeps the horse from rubbing his tail on the walls.


                            • #15
                              You use it for horses in a tailset.

                              I think he could get up a trot in 32 feet. Maybe even some canter depending on how fresh.


                              • Original Poster

                                So then what length would be ideal?


                                • #17
                                  Show horses are not made out of porcelain. Safe turnout can be provided, you can let them trot and canter, buck and play, given you take proper precations. Protective leg gear, enough exercise the rest of the time, and a proper diet that promotes an even energy level for starts. For the horse that gets a little too stupid his turnout might not be completly free, but in a bitting rig. All of the show horses here where I work get turned out, year round, even Louisville quality horses. If you are trying to make a turnout so small the horse can't do anything that he can't do in his stall I really don't see the point, just leave him in his stall and give him a window.


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with Renae. Unless he's really stupid 32 would be fine. Especially if you make the footing all weather.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      What about 20ft? I like the idea of the horse's just being able to go outside even if he can't run about. If I want to turn out a horse I'll actually turn him out in a grassy pasture. This is just for his stall so he doesn't have to sit inside all day like many show horses do. And in the off season the pea gravel will be good for the naked soles.

                                      Should the outside doors be bigger than the standard 4 ft width?

                                      How high would a water bucket need to be so a horse won't put it in the water, so it can sit more level with the withers? Or should the bucket just sit on top of the tailboards?


                                      • #20
                                        Can you please share your reasoning for not wanting your horse to do more than a trot outside? This concept is just so bizarre to me in all honestly. I just have never known people that think like this so am really curious if there's something I'm missing. My horse fractured his femur/ruined his stifle taking ONE wrong step. That step could have been in his stall. Know why? He had been inside because of bad weather and took ONE prancing step. He could have done this is a 10x10 area. A horse can kill themselves in a stall, so it seems healthier to provide a contained area with mud-free footing, safe fencing, FRESH AIR, and mental health time. I personally wouldn't want to sit in a 6'x6' bathroom all day.