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Horse people - need some advice

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by justduckie, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. justduckie

    justduckie In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2007
    I have a 30 X 50 barn with a 10 foot sliding door on both long sides. It's always just been a run in barn, no stalls or anything. But because of the different feeding needs of my 5 horses, I'm going to divide it up into stalls.

    OK, so I have 5 horses........I could divide it into 6 stalls of 10 X 20 a piece and use one of the stalls to store food and bedding in or divide one side into two 15 X 20 stalls and the other side into one 20 X 20 stall with a small 10 X 20 stall to store feed and bedding in. I could put my two big geldings in the 20 X 20, my two small arabs in the 15 X 20 and my mare in by herself in the other 15 X 20.

    Either choice would leave a 10 walkway down the center with the doors on either end. Each stall would be made of 12 inch posts (big ol' suckers that I'm re-using from another project) and 2x12 boards.

    They would only be in there at night after they were fed and be let out every morning before I go to work. They have approx. 5 acres to run around in during the day.

    What would you do and why?

  2. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    I would always prefer to have available a stall for each horse (with one extra, if possible), for my favorite animal-related reason: "just in case." [​IMG]

    I've always had the same setup you describe--horses on pasture, just coming in to eat and then right back out again. But it is really nice, IF you find you need to keep them in for any reason (even when the vet or farrier is coming, simple stuff like that), to have an individual space for everyone. It's safer for them, and safer for anyone handling them.

    It also makes things WAY easier for anyone who might have to care for your horses in your absence. They know exactly who eats what, they know if someone is off their feed, indicating a possible illness or problem, and they're not having to maneuver in between or around one horse to get to another one, should the need arise.

    Either way, it sounds like you'll have wonderful, roomy stalls! [​IMG]
  3. My barn was originally built to house only horses. I went with the poles/post of the barn to make the stalls. My barn is 36X48. So I have 4 stalls down each side with the middle being an aisle. Be careful to make the walls so that the horse cannot get there legs caught under neath. Either go completely to the ground or a foot off the ground. You could use gates between them if the horses do not fight. We built walls all the way up to the loft.

    But I have cut back on the horses. I have 2 horse stalls and they know exactly where to go. I open the back gate on the barn and walk away. I do not have to guide anyone. Be sure to correctly put them up for about a week. If they just start coming in and going everywhere they wont learn where their stall is.

    Good luck.
  4. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    I'd rather put a horse in the aisleway at night than put two horses in together. I have doubled up horses before when I had to and had no problems, but I sure have seen some horrible injuries from horses that had no place to get away when the roomie got territorial for whatever reason.
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I would go for 6 stalls with a horse in each and one for feed and such. I do not believe in putting two horses in one stall unless it is a mare motel and the baby is with mama.

    Too many things can happen and it is asking for trouble (In my opinion) to try to house two per stall. Not to mention the different feed needs...it will make it easier having them seperated.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Absolutely avoid putting two horses together in a stall, no matter how large. ESPECIALLY for feeding time. I have been at various barns that had a few pairs of horses sharing stalls, because of lack of space, and yes you can get away with it sometimes, but when it goes wrong, oh MAN does it ever go wrong. We're talking major structural damage to stalls and horses. You don't want to ever see that.

    Be aware that 10x20 stalls will take a LOT more time for you to clean every day, I'd estimate probably a third or a half again as much time as a regular sized stall, up to twice as much time for messy horses. (I've cleaned barns all over the eastern US [​IMG]; in fact, right now my stalls, used only for farrier/vet waits and on a few really bad blizzardy nights each year, are 8x11, 16x11, and 14x14, so believe me I do have basis for comparison here).

    Is there a particular reason they need to be stalled at all, btw? Horses are nearly always better off not. You can pop 'em into the stalls to feed 'em if it's more convenient for you that way, but let 'em back out before bedtime. Just get a few big loads of gravel and make a sacrifice lot around the run-in to minimize mud problems.

    If they would relatively seldom spend the whole night in the stall, I would suggest making most of your stalls just 10x12 ish (an ample size for just bein' in at feeding time) with one or two 10x16 ish stalls for larger or more arthritic horses or for horses that may need to be kept in for longer eg. after an injury. This would preserve more space for use as run-in (or hay storage, or what have you).

    OTOH if you are really intent on stalling them all night, although it isn't the best thing for most horses, then I would suggest making your stalls like 10x14, 10x16 ish. This is a reasonable compromise between horse comfort and efficient cleaning.

    BTW, if (as I gather?) you will be sinking corner posts for these stalls rather than using existing poles in the barn, I'd seriously consider making the stalls 12' deep not just 10'. It may not sound like a lot of difference, but a 12x12 stall is really much more horse-friendly than a 10x14 stall even though they have the same square footage. It gives more room for larger and more arthritic horses to turn around comfortably, and IME makes it less likely for a horse to get cast (which is pretty uncommon but usually a big problem when it does happen, and highly worth avoiding).

    Afterthought -- are you still going to have ample run-in space after you finish building all these stalls? I seriously wouldn't recommend just leaving stall doors open, that is asking for trouble as much or more as stalling two horses together -- they need a large open run-in type area, I'd say at least 10x50 or 30x20 for five horses. Just checkin' [​IMG]

    Good luck,have fun,

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  7. justduckie

    justduckie In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2007
    Well, Pat, they probably won't be actually stalled at night except when the weather is bad. And if the last month has been any indication, we are going to have a BAD winter. [​IMG] (did you see how much snow SD got this week? It only missed us this time by about 50 miles. Last month, we got a storm that dumped over a foot....that's WAY too much for this time of the year.)

    It's more because my baby needs baby food.....one of my older gelding keeps running him off the hay......my old gelding needs joint supplements, my mare needs a different type of supplement and some high protein food because she gets rode hard and often (my endurance horse) and the other two - I want to keep my options open.

    One of my other options is to put 3 stalls on one side and leave the other side open for run in room. Actually, after talking to my husband, that is how we may start off. All I know is today I need to get the tractor in there and straighten it up, do a good cleaning then start pulling up my posts from where they are now (and not doing anything, that's why I'm re-using them instead of spending a fortune buying new ones) and get them moved up to the barn.

    Thank goodness for the new tractor! [​IMG] Best investment we ever made. I just wish we had a post hole digger on it. I may go rent one this week because I get the feeling I'm doing most of this project by myself. [​IMG] (Hubby is getting ready for some big time project at work and is really stressed. But isn't physical work suppose to releave stress? LOL!)

  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Glad to hear it [​IMG] Frankly if we're in for a bad winter then you need extra run-in space more than you need extra stalls, I'd say.

    It's more because my baby needs baby food.....one of my older gelding keeps running him off the hay......my old gelding needs joint supplements, my mare needs a different type of supplement and some high protein food because she gets rode hard and often (my endurance horse) and the other two - I want to keep my options open.

    Yup, I know, once you get past two or three it can be unprofitably time-consuming trying to play Food Police. A few minutes to a few hours should take care of that, though.

    One of my other options is to put 3 stalls on one side and leave the other side open for run in room.

    That sounds like a good plan. You really REALLY need as much run-in space as possible in a bad stormy snowy winter... stalls are not at all a substitute.

    I don't know what size your horses are, or how you feel about 10x10 stalls, but if they're not giant horses and you are not allergic to the 10x10 concept you might consider building stalls in pairs with removable divider boards between them (they have to be VERY heavy sturdy divider boards, mind, or when they are leaned on and bend they will pop out of their 'tracks'). This way you have fairly easy flexibility between single stalls, mostly for feeding use, or double-size stalls if a couple of the horses need to be stalled for longer or get kinda arthritic and need the extra room.

    Have to just say again, though, do NOT skimp on run-in space, they need that LOTS more than they need stalls. And PLEASE think twice before trying to double horses up in stalls, even very large stalls and longtime companion horses, because all it takes is for things to go bad ONCE and it can be very, very, very ugly, and totally avoidable.

    Good luck, have fun,

  9. tommi

    tommi Hatching

    Nov 21, 2008
    Hello, I am new so I hope I am doing this correctly! My husband and I have seven horses. Because horses have the "why does he get the good stuff?" attitude about feed , we finally, after trying hay racks, feed bunks and individual pens for feeding, got five large(really large) tractor tires(without wheels). My husband used a small grinder and cut out part of the side of each tire so as to create a larger opening on that side. Layed flat on their sides, they make good feeders. We spaced them far enough apart so that the horses could mill around trying all the "different " hay but could not keep anyone from eating somewhere.We lined them up along the corral fence spaced about 15 ft. apart and about 5 feet back from the fence itself. This leaves escape room and enough space between to avoid kicking. At first , there was much changing tires and laying back ears, but now that they are used to it , it works very well and is also easy to feed. We just drive the tractor along and throw hay into each tire. Hope this helps, Tommi
  10. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Quote:I agree.

    I had a trainer who kept a couple of her medium ponies two to a stall. One day at feeding time, two of the mares got into it. The larger of the two backed the smaller into a corner of the stall and proceeded to double barrel the snot out of her. It was a large stall, about 10 x 20...feed buckets well divided...and all had been peaceful for months. Even though we were present, there was nothing we could do to help - it was simply too dangerous to go in the stall to intervene.

    I love having stalls for feeding time. My horses learn which stall is theirs pretty quickly...all I have to do is open the barn door, and they file into their stall where dinner is waiting. Easy.

    If you're ONLY wanting stalls for feeding purposes, consider even smaller ones (standing stalls) to take up less of your loafing shed. You make them about the size of a straight load trailer slot, with a butt rope or stall guard on the end.

    PS I have no problem with 10 x 10 stalls. My horses generally don't spend that much time indoors. Even my 18+ hand, 2200 lb Percheron could lay down in hers. Pat is dead on the money with removable dividers! I use them to create a 10 x 20 stall for lay-ups or mares in foal. IMHO It's plenty of room.

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