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Half Doors

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  • Half Doors

    After seeing someone state in another thread that they believe half doors equal a happier horse I would like to know how many people have half door stalls?

    Do you worry about coming home (or to the barn) and finding your horse stuck on the door either ok, injured or dead? It can happen, horses are flight animals and even the old & wise will spook.

  • #2
    The farm where I board my horse has regular stalls with sliding doors and bars across the front in the main barn. In the two small shedrow barns(2 and 3 stall) they have dutch doors. In the summer and nicer weather the top door is latched open. They have never had an incident.


    • #3
      Have them and like them...

      When building our barn last year, we had to do some things on a budget so fiance built the interior doors. We decided on dutch style. They are 48" tall but set so the top is about 52" off the ground. This leaves a small gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. Doors swing in.

      Both geldings respect the doors and have no issues backing out the way when they open. Opted for dutch as well because we can get to a cast or stuck horse via the swing out back door of each stall. Just a consideration in case a horse gets stuck against the only door to the stall.

      They definitely keep the barn more open and my aisle is wide enough that you can groom or work on a horse without getting harassed. Setting the doors higher also keeps curious bodies in!
      Gone gaited....


      • #4
        I have 4 dutch doors that open out under an overhang. I keep the colts or stallion horses in this barn. We put stall screens w/ yokes on the top 1/2 of 2 doors so there is no problem w/ a colt getting mouthy lunging over top door yet can hang head out. I do keep 2 of the dutch doors w/O screen and have never found a loose horse yet. We took the fixed doors w/ grills in main barn and had the Amish hang them on sliders w/ screens so horses canhang heads out. I do have 2 full screen floor to ceiling so horse can feel out but not get head or mouth on things.


        • #5
          We have had our dutch doors for about 17 years and love them. We added metal stall gates with yokes about 10 years ago to stop them from leaning on the doors.

          Haven't had a horse yet that didn't enjoy the view. We call it "head turnout" when they are in because of the weather. Also nice to have another way into a stall. You never know when it might come in handy.

          They do add to barn maintenance but well worth it.
          "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." --Ghandi


          • #6
            All my stalls have half doors AND I removed all the stall grills years ago so they can hang their heads out! Sure a board gets chewed here or there - but the happier horse makes it so worth it!
            "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


            • #7

              I just moved my horse to a barn with half doors that face the aisle and my horse has never been happier! She can watch the activity and get a sugar cube or pat from a 4H kid.
              Note the latches have carbiner loops securing them to screw eyes. Apparently some horses learned if they fidgeted with the latches they could take a walk to the grain room.
              And some agressive biters have "top" doors we can close if crosstied nearby.


              • #8
                Cribbers and Kickers LOVE half doors. ME? NO thanks.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by manyspots View Post
                  When building our barn last year, we had to do some things on a budget so fiance built the interior doors. We decided on dutch style. They are 48" tall but set so the top is about 52" off the ground. This leaves a small gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. Doors swing in.

                  Both geldings respect the doors and have no issues backing out the way when they open. Opted for dutch as well because we can get to a cast or stuck horse via the swing out back door of each stall. Just a consideration in case a horse gets stuck against the only door to the stall.

                  They definitely keep the barn more open and my aisle is wide enough that you can groom or work on a horse without getting harassed. Setting the doors higher also keeps curious bodies in!

                  You haven't had issues with horses rolling and getting their legs caught under the doors?


                  • #10
                    I have had dutch doors in my barn for 9 years - doors swing to the inside, and are just a few inches off the ground. I had my DH put a metal cap on the top of the doors to discourage chewing (I used to have a 'beaver'). My horses have never rolled and gotten caught under the doors - there's not enough room.

                    In the barn I have now, I only have the bottom part of the dutch door. I have no need for the top - wide isles, separate grooming stall, friendly horses with no one else in barn but me.

                    One caution - when the vet comes out and has to tranq a horse (teeth work, etc.), I never leave the horse unattended to 'wake up' in the stall. I've got one who likes to (in his la-la land state) put his head/neck on the stall door to the point where he cuts off his breathing!

                    I've loved the doors. I'm short, so can't handle the sliding doors very well, no matter how well installed. I always pulled them off their track.


                    • #11
                      Just not a fan of true half door, too low. Half doors are just fine till someone for reasons unknown decides to jump out of the stall which results with horse hung on door and/or taking the door down as they leave. Have seen both results and it isnt pretty. 3/4 door or door w/ bars solves the problem and they can still see and the air flows.


                      • #12
                        We have screen doors with stall guards on the aisleway - they can hang their heads out when we are in the barn and then we close them in when we leave or have someone on the xties. The screens are nice because they still have full view/ventilation.

                        On the backside we have dutch doors - bottoms are 54" so no one thinks about jumping out and the tops have expanded metal in the center so if we need to close someone in, they still can see out and get good air.

                        Horses seem to like both - or atleast I haven't heard any complaints yet!


                        • #13
                          I had a horse that decided he was Not going out last, tried jumping out and got hung up. After a grueling 6 months of rehab, I will never leave a top door open again, no matter how quite they are.


                          • #14
                            At my barn the stalls have a full sliding door with the top half bars. So no biting etc. There are windows in the back of the stalls looking out over the parking lot or back of the property. I like this because you dont have the problems of horses hanging their heads into the aisleway but they can still put their heads out and look around. There is landscaping around the parimeter of the barn so no horses (or people) can get close to the horses in the stalls. Stalls are also nice and big 13x13'

                            Heres a pic of my mare looking out the window

                            And the front of her stall

                            Sorry for the bad pics, I took those with my cell phone during a really bad storm so it was really dark in the barn even with the overhead lights on.


                            • #15
                              We had dutch doors at our old barn - both inside and outside doors were done this way. I would not do the inside doors as dutch doors again because our horses scraped their teeth too much on the doors and we couldn't hang even a halter on the door without them playing with them. I would do dutch style to the outside only and only with yoked grids if I ever did them again.
                              Susan N.

                              Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


                              • #16
                                Love my half doors! I have sliders on the aisle side, with bars that also open. My half doors are quite tall (never measured, but on my 16.2 horse it hits at the top of his chest) and even having had TB weanlings, yearlings, stud colts, wild-ass chestnut filly, old guys, ponies--no one has jumped out or even attempted to.

                                I do have happier horses, better air flow, and a nice view while cleaning.

                                I don't like it when horses are "boxed" up--not good for their mental well-being. I'll risk a little chewing, pissy-faces and such for happier horses.
                                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                                • #17
                                  My previous barn had a mixture of sliding doors and Dutch doors. I decided I MUCH preferred the Dutch doors.

                                  My new barn has Dutch doors (bottoms only) on the aisle and Dutch doors (tops and bottoms) to the outside on all the stall doors.

                                  The only place I have sliding doors are at each end of the aisle. And those have swinging gates as well, outside the sliding doors, so the sliding doors can be open for air flow, while keeping the horses out.

                                  The barn at home when I was a kid had dutch doors. Never had an accident in any of them.

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                  • #18
                                    I prefer dutch or half-doors to sliders but with a caveat. I have a horse who kicked out over a metal-edged half-door and hung a hind leg over it. Resulting injury not good at all.

                                    I have yoke screens in addition to shedrow aisle half-doors--they can put their heads out but not grab anything around the doors and it is easy to lead another horse by out of reach. Screens are great for extremely hot SC summers.

                                    My back windows are set at, hmmm, probably 4'6".

                                    You can google photobucket tinwhistle to get to pictures and then look at "Stall Front" to see the above.

                                    They would definitely like just the half doors better on the aisle--but all I have to think about is my horse's injury to know that the current set-up is much safer.
                                    Tinwhistle Farm


                                    • #19
                                      I love half doors. I'm glad my current barn has them because when the barn doesn't I usually hang a stall guard, which is far less safe than a solid door IMO. Used under supervision obviously, never had a leg caught in it but HAVE had the horse break out (broken snaps) before.

                                      He can reach his blanket box though. He routinely pulls out his blankets and throws them across the aisle when he gets bored He also steals leadrops and halters--but he could do this without a half door as he slips his lips and tongue through the bars on his stall (not over the door). It's not the door's fault my baby has personality


                                      • #20
                                        I had half-doors in my old barn. It was almost a necessity because the stalls were so small, the ability to hang their heads out gave them more room. I wasn't crazy about them because the stalled horses could reach out and grab a horse walking down the aisle. I also couldn't hang leads or blankets on the stall fronts because the monsters would destroy them if they could get their little lips on them.

                                        My current barn has full doors with bars. Except for the stallion stalls, the walls between them are only about 6' tall so they can socialize/bicker with their neighbors. My stalls also have windows so they can look out (and they do) and the boys are in end stalls so they can also see out the almost-always-open end barn doors. I also have skylights so my barn has a lot of natural light. I wouldn't recommend half doors unless you have a very wide aisle.