Stall Design

When you design stalls for your horses, one important consideration is whether you want to provide them with a chance to make contact with their neighbors, writes Karen Briggs in the November edition of The Horse. Stall partitions that don't go from floor to ceiling allow horses to socialize as do partially open stall fronts with a window or "gossip gate" type door.

"Ninety percent of our customers, when they're first asked, say they want solid walls for partitions," said Dietmar Domb-kowski, president of Equi-Master, a Canadian firm that designs and builds stables. "But I always recommend they give their horses the chance to socialize and just be horses. We tend to put (horses) behind bars and treat them like prisoners. But horses housed in an open-front design are far happier. Their mental attitudes improve dramatically when it's possible for them to socialize. We know this in Europe, where stall partitions are only five feet high."

One exception to the partial-partition recommendation is the foaling stall. A foaling mare feels considerably safer when she has some privacy from the rest of the herd and from imagined predators--so in a foaling stall, you might want to make the partitions solid to a height of eight feet or so.