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some very important considerations on building stalls

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  • some very important considerations on building stalls

    Now that my head has somewhat cleared from last night and our ordeal with Eddie, I wanted to post some 'advice' and others please chime in, about building your own stalls.

    I speak from experience on this one and we did it this way so it's worked.

    We converted an old dairy barn here in NYS. Long story short, all of the stalls are custom made-in the sense that no barn is square. We had the majority of stall fronts (the metal frames where you put the wood in) made locally. We had purchased the first 6 from Ramm but then it was going to cost way too much for the remaining 12 so we took one down to a metal fabricator and they made the rest at a fraction of the cost. Ours are pretty standard with bar in the door and along the front of the stall-with an opening we created to put in grain, hay and water them-no fancy slide outs or drop down areas.

    Anyway, my point. We spent the $$ for GOOD solid wood. Nothing less than 2x4's and used hardwoods. On the side walls we used planed rough cut, so that's even thicker then what you buy at a home improvement store.

    My husband built each stall with channels so if we needed to take down a stall wall to create a double stall we could, we we have done. The channels also add strength when the wall is together.

    He screwed every board in with 3 big screws in each board on each end all the way and put a brace (vertically) on the side walls. While it takes time to take a stall apart-which we had to do last night to get the horse out after he was put down, it's well worth it. We used the screws, instead of nails, just in case we needed to take a stall apart

    These walls and front have held up to thrashing horses coming out of sedation, crashing horses from neuro accidents and heavy every day use. One such crashing horse was our 2000+lb 18.3 hand Clydesdale! I kid you not. He had a reaction of coming out of sedation and it was not pretty. Amazingly the stall held-he was in our foaling stall.

    Yesterday with the issue with Eddie the 900 lb morab, crashing around from his accident (he was put down last night), even our vet said "He would have crashed through many stalls if they had not been as well made as yours".

    We are not some fancy barn either with tons of $$ BUT we spent the $$ on good wood and took the time to build the stalls correctly.

    We have decided that the end stall will be the medical stall with padded walls, hooks in the ceiling joices, to hang IV bags etc. You never know what you might encounter in having horses.

    So speaking from experience take the time to do a good job-'pretty' or 'cheap' may not just hold up.

  • #2
    Terribly sorry about your ordeal.
    Thanks for posting.

    I agree with you 100%. The barn I board in built these "channel" walls to convert two stalls into a double "foaling" stall, first time I've ever seen one. I thought he was so original & clever!
    My BO used thinner planks and his horses (luckily not mine!) have kicked through them before, dangerous and a real mess.

    My question is: where the heck do you find real lumber? As a woodworker I often have to ship carving wood from Canada! Do more rural areas still have lumber yards? Better yet, mills?
    In the "city", there's only Blowes & Home Creepo and they only sell what I consider to be "reject" lumber for cheap small contractors who don't care about the end result.


    • #3
      I too am sorry for the loss of your horse.

      When I built my little barn with two stalls I had some warning about "durability". My Morgan gelding (now deceased of old age) LOVED to throw himself on the walls of stalls to scratch. At one boarding stable he popped the stall between him and the stallion next door so I was prepared to build strong.

      My stall walls are rough Hemlock, cut 2 1/2" thick by 6". I love the stalls. Well worth the extra "itch-proofing".


      • Original Poster

        thanks for the condolences. My husband was there for the incident with my Clydesdale and boy was he impressed with his work on building those stalls. He talks about it all the time.

        Tikisoo, yes, in the Cortland area there are a number of mills. We are between Cortland and Binghamton.

        If you want some names and numbers just PM me.


        • #5
          So sorry about your horse.
          Glad that your stall held up.

          When my horse died with WNV a few years ago, for what they tell me, he was scrambling around in the yard, where they had put him waiting for the vet and hit the wall of the barn office hard with his head and that contributed to his death.
          Sick horses trashing like that are a scary sight.

          Our neighbor just built an indoor barn and arena.
          The stalls are on both long sides and made out of poured, reinforced concrete with loops on top to move the slabs, for three sides, the front is a mere full size 12' metal gate.

          A neat detail, they added his brand, 3' by 3' to the middle of each concrete wall as they finished it when pouring it in the forms.

          I don't know how long those will last. If one were to break, it is easy to make another. I don't think a horse or elephant will tear those up.

          My neighbor said that was much cheaper than any other way to make stalls.


          • #6
            I am so sorry for your loss. I commend you for having the strength and thoughtfulness to turn your tragedy into something to help others. One thing to add about the walls inbetween stalls and channels. You can buy metal channels to slide the boards down into. You still need to put something wider to reinforce this. As the wood ages it shrinks and may bow or warp. The slightest change allows the boards to be popped out at the ends. Ask em how I know this! Came in one morning to see one boarder's horse with boards filling his stall. The horse beside him had done who knows what and pushed the boards into his stall. Luckily no one was hurt, but let me tell you it's not easy to move the top boards that have then slide at an angle down to re-do it. Had we had a board running vertically down the channel to reinforce it, it would not have happened.


            • #7
              Mr. EqT built my barn. He seriously overbuilt it.. at the time, I thought he was kind of nuts and seemed to be spending money like we had a lot more than we did!

              But since then, I have been SO grateful so many times that he did. I don't want to think about those times, they were unpleasant, but nothing ever broke - horse or barn. And it's because he thinks horses are big, hairy toddlers and everything they come into contact w/should be extra sturdy. He's right.

              I remember being told about a local barn that is built w/aluminum siding on the outside, house framing in between and plywood on the inside of the stalls. I still cringe to consider what would happen to a horse who put his foot thru one of those "walls". I hope it never happens, but I cannot imagine that it won't eventually.

              OP, I am so sorry about your horse I have a stall set up for IV's and other things and it can be quite handy. I hope I never have to use it again.
              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


              • #8
                Another consideration besides strong walls and hardware... Please put your doors on the right hand side of the stalls so that as you enter you actually have room to move away from the horse. I have been slammed into to many walls in my time to not value a door on the right.
                Proud Mama of a BOY rider