Need some advice on building stalls

November 26, 2007

I have an opportunity to "fix up" a barn and keep some horses there at a fraction of the normal rate. It's pretty much going to include stripping everything down to the exterior walls and roof support beams. What materials would be best and not terribly expensive as this is a rental property. Im just starting with the walls and doors etc for the stalls for now. I want to use quality materials but cant spend 800 per stall to do this. Any advice would be welcome and places to purchase the "odd" parts would be great too! Thanks again!

Comments (12)

  • tejas_pacas

    Basically, walls from 4' down need to be solid. Able to withstand butt rubbing and a few kicks. The best is 2"x6" boards - treated. If you don't go solid, no more than 2" gap between boards or they'll catch a hoof, but solid is preferred. Above that, depending on the horses, you would probably need mesh to keep them from nipping at each other and stealing food. Down here, you don't need solid walls all the way up. Using mesh (cattle panel or hog panel is great)allows for ventilation through the barn. If you have some that are particularly snippy at each other or a stud, build the solid wall up to about 6', and mesh above that. Mesh-filled gates are fine, and they allow ventilation into the stalls. Horses can get legs caught in pipe gates. McCoys and Tractor Supply have good prices on gates. You didn't say the size of the barn and if you had any interior posts. This arrangement would need some interior 4x4 or 4x6 posts to use at corners and for the gates. Screw the boards in with galvanized deck screws, and you can re-arrange or take with you later. Minimum size of stalls should be 12x12. If horses are going to be kept stalled all the time, go larger. They need to have room to move around and still have their pee/poop corner.

    For the ammenities, I prefer to use hanging buckets instead of permanent corner feeders. Easier to clean. You can get the heavy-duty rings to mount on the wall and use carabiner clips to hook the bucket into the ring. Again, Tractor Supply. Also check online at Country Supply or KV Vet. Great sources of clips, rings, supplies, etc. There is a special gate latch called a J-latch that is fabulous. Can open with one hand, but horses can't open. I've seen a horse open slide-bolt latches. For wet spots in a stall, use Stall-Dry. Instantly kills the ammonia smell.

    Before you start, go around to the building supply/lumber yards, Tractor Supply, etc. and get prices on wood and gates. Can save you quite a bit if you have very many stalls to build.

  • kelser01

    Thanks for all the great info. I was searching online at Tractor Supply and ran across Equestrian World Stall brand stall fronts and divider walls. I tried to find some reviews on them but could not. Anyone have any experience with this product?


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  • kelser01

    Ok so another quick question how do you mount the cattle panel to the wood for the dividers? From your earlier description I was thinking the first 4ft from the bottom up solid 2x6s and then the panel on the top. Is that correct?

    Thanks again!

  • tejas_pacas

    I used the heavy fence staples to attach the paneling to the posts. The panels come in different styles. Cattle panels have larger grid spacing 52" tall. Hog panels are only 3' tall, and have tighter spacing. Combo panels are hog spacing on bottom and cattle on top. There are also utility panels with 4x4 grid, and horse panels, with 2x4 grid. These are tough, so you need a bolt cutter to cut them.

    Never used the premade paneling systems, but I did use channels on one barn. These were channels to hold 2x6 boards. Bolted the channels to the posts and just slid the boards down inside. Worked great when I had a mare foaling. Just pulled the boards out and she had a double stall. To hold the grid, I used the treated grooved 2x2 boards made for lattice panels. The grid panel fit right down in the groove and then used a top board w/groove to keep it from rattling. Or, if you have a mill nearby that can channel 2x6 boards into tongue and groove, that works great, too. To do this, you need the interior posts.

    Those free-standing stall systems are great for free-span barns, where you don't have interior posts. They even have swing-out feeders. A neighbor has them. Makes feeding easy. Just watch the bottom rail. Probably would be best to have it sit on a trench of gravel so it doesn't rust out with all the pee. And watch that dirt doesn't pile up in the door channel. If you don't latch it properly, horses have been known to figure out how to open sliders.

  • goodhors

    If you have a TSC, they should be able to get Goat panels. They are similar to the Cattle and Hog panels, except the squares are even over the whole panel. I think the squares are an even 3inches, so lambs can't reach thru and get heads stuck. Small squares are good so horse can't reach thru, or even get a good grip with teeth to bang wire around. Panels cost more, have more wire in them, but do a MUCH better job than bigger uneven holes of cattle and hog panels.

    Do grind off the sharp edges at ends where heavy wires are cut, so no one gets cut on them. Another idea is metal bars. We had bar stock laying around. Husband drilled the lower board of window, made round holes, but not all the way thru board. Then he did the same above only making holes cut thru board. He cut the bar steel, dropped bar lenths thru top hole, anchored bottom in lower window holes. Presto, barred front windows. Space them closely together, no more than 3inches apart. Shouldn't be able to get a hoof thru. Hoof will compress going in, then pop back wide if spaces are any larger. Your horse won't be pulling that hoof back out!! I would advise at least 3/4" steel. He used a round cutter, like they use for making door knob holes in doors. Just a much smaller size for the board holes to achor bars. Lightweight conduit does not make good bars, always bent or pulled out. Use conduit for covering wires to give you good lights in the stalls.

    If you check around locally, often you can find the frames to stall fronts, dividers. Buy and haul home in the horse trailer or flat trailer. Movable or temporary stalls may be a good option. You buy the frames, then you put the boards in yourself, hang the doors. With temporary stalls like these, you can take them when you leave barn. Or sell them.

    Rubber mats on floors make cleaning much easier, saving time and bedding. Easily removable when you leave. We use vice grips or C-clamps on the side to move them around. Good, heavy mats just are too much weight for finger tip handling!! Heavy mats stay in place better. TSC usually has the best prices, no shipping. Also on sale fairly often!!

    Pressure treated lumber stands up to moisture of urine, water spilled, well. Another option is sawmill lumber, white oak. Leave it rough, less likely to chew. It can be VERY heavy if green, like the pressure treated stuff. Do use galvanized nails, oak tannin rusts the heads off plain steel. Plain pine boards make good snacks!! Don't last long at all.

    Chain link fence stretches when pushed or rubbed, poor choice for horses, even free.

  • kelser01

    Ok another dumb question. What is the difference between the sheep and goat panel? The site Im looking at has them price 30%less than the goat panel. They are both 4 ga size. But the sheep panel description does not list the dimensions of the whole panel. Are they just smaller?

  • goodhors

    This is the goat panel I was talking about.

    Says it is 16ft long, by 48" tall. Holes are all the same size, top to bottom. Looking at the photo of sheep panel (with a Boer goat behind it!!) shows graduated spacing from small on the bottom, to larger holes above. Price is less. Maybe you could call TSC for dimensions. Probably 16ft long, height in photo looks small, 48"? Not sure I would like it for those Boer goats, they get pretty big! Especially if they stand up on the wires!!

    I liked the goat panel, precisely BECAUSE it is all one sized squares. We have some for lamb stalls, is a really nice size for them too. No heads fit in little holes, horse mouths won't either.

  • yakimadn

    Depending on what wood costs in your area, another wall option that works good and is handy at foal time (and assuming that you have the support posts in place), is to fasten steel "U" or "C" channel (or use a coulpe of 2"x2"'s) uprights at the ends and cut planks and slide them in. Slide them out when you need a double stall, etc.
    The temperament of your horses will dictate what you need.
    If you've got over the wall biters or rubbers, a strand of electric wire teaches them respect real quick and saves you making regular repairs.

    Good Luck.

  • Dibbit

    Along with the above about over the wall problems, any horse can start to chew wood if in a stall for any length of time - covering the top edges of exposed wood with angle iron will stop any damage. Do NOT use any aluminum covering, such as dry wall corners - it's too soft, the horses can tear it, and you can end up with a mangled horse and major vet bills.

    If you have them, and don't want to buy the fence panels, piping cut to length can be a good top partition. Use 2 boards - 2x4" - as top and bottom, drilling holes through the top one and either part way through the bottom, or using another board as backing. Set the pipes no more than 4" apart, 3" is safer, as suggested above for window protection.

    If the horses will be able to put their heads out over doors, then be very sure that any latches are tight and horse-proof - some horses are VERY good at opening latches. If you will have electric lighting, be sure switches and bulbs are well out of reach, and the same for water faucets.

    I agree that using stall mats makes life much easier for you and for the horses. Make sure the layer you put them down over is flat, and can drain - some urine will get through unless you spring for the more expensive solid mats that are fastened to the walls a few inches up the wall, and can rot wood, never mind make a huge stink. You will need (no guarantee, because all horses are different), to use less bedding with mats, as long as you are diligent about cleaning. Using Sweet PDZ or the equivalent will keep smells from wet spots to a minimum, for which your nose and the horses lungs will thank you. If you don't want to use mats for the entire stall, using a heavy strip about 4' wide along the front edge, and where the feed and water buckets are, will help keep holes and ruts to a minimum.

    As far as the size of the stalls goes, it depends a little on what materials you are using - the fewer cuts the easier and quicker done - and the size of the animals going in the stalls. Stalls of 12 x 12' are a good, generous size, but, especially if you mostly have horses under 15.2, and mostly living out, stalls can be 10 x 10', with maybe a larger one for the almost inevitable time when a horse is injured or ill and has to stay in. If the horses will be in most of the time, go for the larger ones. And if you will have larger horses (warm bloods, drafts or over 16.2), then 14 x 14' or more is not a bad idea. For ponies, 8 x 8' or 8 x 10' is fine.

  • Miss_Kitty

    Our stalls are 12'x 11' interior walls are 6' high to keep the biting to a minimum. The front walls are 32" high, but we have a fourth board at 4', just to keep things safe and secure.

    We made our stalls out of rough cut lumber we purchased from the amish. The planks are 2"x10" rough cut yellow poplar, four planks high and an inch apart. The front poles are cedar 4"x4"x8' sunk 28" in the ground and concreted in place.

    We built three stalls for $225, much less than we would have paid using 'regular' lumber. By going to the Amish we also found an unlimited supply of cedar sawdust. We go get a load a month, every month. My barn smells so good! My horses shine, and we have very few flies.

  • triplebstalls

    If you want some great ideas on building horse stalls you might want to check out our website We offer pictures of horse stalls to get a good idea of designs. You also might want to check out for the do it yourselfers.

    Here is a link that might be useful: horse stalls

  • Happy2BeeME

    We built our from scratch-a 8" thick slab with 4" frost walls in the ground. It is 24' x 18' this made 2 12'x12' stalls with a front isle. All the lumber is rough cut and dimention green hemlock. The stall divider between the 2 stalls are 2"x8" and we covered both sides solid with 1x8" all the way to the rafters. I secured tie rings with bolts from the backside of the lumber before finishing the wall.

    The front partition are doubled 2"x8" and boarded to 5' from the floor. This lets in the light and I can toss hay over into the hay cribs and a scratch on the head.:)without opening the doors.

    Our doors are 4.5'tall x 4 ' wide made from the same 1"x8" doubled and screwed together,good heavy hinges. I put the standard latches on them and put them about middle height of the door. I add a clip to keep it closed. This helps because the horses can't reach them. I also have a small slide bolt near the top that I can reach from inside the stall. I added web nylon stall guards above the doors to keep their heads inside.

    This works well for us and is the 2nd barn we have built this way.

    I like the 4'x8' stall mats because I like to take them out in the spring & fall and pressure wash them and the concrete down. Any bigger and I would 2 men & a large boy to help lift and position them for me. Translates to they are HEAVY! I use pine sawdust on top of the mats & keep about 3 wheelbarrows full on them. Clean and sift threw daily and a complete clean out and sweep weekly. My horses are outside everyday and only come in at night or when it is below 0 outside.


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