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What is the Right Stall Size for Your Horse?

What is the Right Stall Size for Your Horse?

Horses In Stalls

Whether you've just bought a horse or you're building a new stable for your equine herd, you'll need to know the ideal size stall for your animal. That answer will depend on a variety of factors. When you're seeking or designing proper housing for your steed, make sure you know what horse stall size is ideal for its comfort. 

Understand Why Your Stall's Size Matters

The truth is that horses feel most at home in open spaces. However, that may not be a viable option for you. When you need to provide indoor housing, you should find or build a stall that allows your horse to turn around easily and to lie down and get back up again without getting cast. Depending on the size of your equine, the ideal horse stall size can vary.

As a starting point, Penn State Extension recommends a 12 foot by 12 foot box stall for a 1,000 pound horse. Generally speaking, a horse that weighs approximately a half ton will measure somewhere around 15 hands from the withers. Stalls can be smaller in size for miniature horses and ponies and larger for draft horses.

Consider Your Horse's Activity Level

The horse stall size required for your equine to feel at ease may vary based on its activity level and how much time it spends in the stall. The more time your horse spends indoors, the more space it should have. If you bring your animal in for feeding but turn it out to pasture the rest of the time, it won't need as much square footage. You should still provide enough room for it to turn around and roll on the ground without running into the walls. In addition, if your horse is more active, it may need additional space to move around freely.


Plan Extra for Stallions and Broodmares 

Horse Stall Size

If you have plans for breeding horses or for housing pregnant mares, you'll need more spacious stalls for your stock. Stallions need extra room to move around when indoors, so a 12 foot by 12 foot stall is likely to be too restrictive. Similarly, when a mare is in labor, she'll need room to walk around and get up and down freely. You can provide extra space fairly easily if you construct some stalls with removable walls. That way a standard square box stall can become a rectangular space that's twice the size.


Make Sure the Ceiling Has Enough Clearance


In addition to floor space, you'll want to consider the height of the ceiling where you house your horse. Adequate overhead space allows for good air circulation in the building. In the event your horse becomes spooked and rears up in the stall, higher ceilings will help protect your animal from banging its head on overhead structures. With this in mind, the minimum height for a ceiling should be 10 feet, with a 12-14 foot clearance being more ideal.


Don't Forget About Doors and Partitions

 Horse Stable

When evaluating your horse stall size, make sure you don't forget about the door width and partition height. Doors need have an opening that's wide enough for you and your animal to pass through safely. For an average size horse, the door opening width should be at least 4 feet. If you use a swing door, make sure the door opens into the aisle and not into the stall. This will ensure access in the event that your animal becomes cast against the stall right by the door.

In most stables, stall partitions do not reach to the ceiling. Providing an opening above the line of stalls helps encourage good air flow and ventilation. However, partitions should be high enough to prevent your horse from getting hung up on the wall if they kick or rear. For the average horse, 8 feet is a good height.


How Big Should a Horse Stall Be?

 How Big is a Horse Stall


Because horses come in different sizes and have different needs, the ideal horse stall size can vary. Below are some guidelines to follow when considering the right dimensions for your animal's housing:


  • Average sized horse (approximately 1,000 pounds): 12 feet by 12 feet of floor space will provide adequate room for your horse to turn around, lie down, and get up comfortably.
  • Pony, miniature horse, or some smaller breeds (such as Morgans and Arabians): 10 feet by 10 feet is enough room to move freely and not become cast against a wall.
  • Draft breeds and large sized horses (1,500+ pounds): You will need at least 14 feet by 14 feet. These horses are often 17 hands or higher and need more space to turn and to move freely.
  • Breeding stock: Whether you're thinking about a stallion or a brood mare, you'll want to plan additional space. A 16 foot by 16 foot or a 12 foot by 24 foot stall will allow your animal room to move around. Stallions need space to pace around and release some of their energy. Pregnant mares preparing for labor will need to move around and get up and down easily during the delivery process.

These are recommendations for horses that will be housed in a stall for the bulk of the day. Sometimes, your building's structure will require adjustments in the stall's layout. If your architecture won't allow for a 12 foot depth, you may be able to make up for it in length. A rectangular stall that is 10 feet deep and 14 feet long is a viable option. Just avoid making your stall any narrower than 10 feet, or your horse may have difficulty turning and moving around.

When you take the time to make sure that your steed has a comfortable box stall, it shows everyone around you that you're a horse lover as much as the clothes you wear to display your enthusiasm for everything equine.



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