A lot of horses spend much of their time in their stalls, so it is important for us to ensure that we provide the best horse stalls possible. Horses that spend a lot of time in an indoor stall will need to be given the most attention in terms of cleaning and keeping the stall safe for them.
If you have large breed horses, such as Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses or Warm bloods you may want to go with a stall that is 16×16. These stalls are often referred to as stallion and foaling stalls. Ponies will not need any more than a 10×10 stall. Moderate size horses will do well with a 12×12 stall.
Watch the latch on the door. It is not uncommon for a horse to figure out their stall door latch and easily let themselves out. If your horse figures out his latch you will also want to place a chain with a simple clip that the horse cannot undo. Never padlock a horse in stall, as you may not be there to release the horse in the case of a fire or other emergency.
It is important that the stall be very well ventilated. Horses can produce a lot of heat from their bodies and a poorly ventilated stall may cause bacterial growth in the walls, sickness, respiratory problems and bad smells.
Horses do like to lie down and sleep at night and they will do so, if they feel safe and comfortable in their stall. They have to take a load off of their limbs during the night, so you need to be sure that the horse has enough room to lie down. Sometimes horses will lie down but not leave themselves enough room to get back up – this is known in the horse world as being ‘cast’. When a horse is cast they may thrash about and panic because they can’t get enough room to leverage themselves back on their feet. You will need to get in the stall and assist the horse in getting back on its feet – be careful even a quite horse may be scared and lash out in fright.
Most complexes use shavings as bedding for horses. Many people will put several wheelbarrow loads of shavings in their stall for their horse, but this is not necessarily good. If you have too much bedding then your horse’s legs can become weak due to the lack of contact with the ground. Bones need to be stressed and concussed by the ground in order to maintain their strength. You want to have just enough bedding that the horse can still feel the ground, but the bedding will also absorb urine.
Your horse’s stall should contain a feeder, a water bucket or automatic waterer, possibly a salt/mineral block and a toy to prevent boredom. The less that you have in the stall the better and safer it will be for the horse. You should also provide some hay for your horse to munch on.