There are plenty of things you should plan before purchasing your first horse. For instance, what horse trailer size should you get to transport it from place to place? How big of a round pen will you train it in? And how large should you build a stall for your horses?
The most common horse stall dimensions 12 × 12 feet, but there are other size options that include 10 × 10 feet, 12 × 14 feet, and 14 × 14 feet. The height of the stall should be at least 8 feet.
But the size of stable stalls isn’t the only thing you should consider. In this guide, I’ll explain the basics of choosing a horse stall size and what other factors you should consider when designing stables for your horses.
Horse Stall Dimensions
When coming up with a design for your stables, there are several things you need to consider. One of the most important things is the size of the individual stalls.
In most stables across the United States, you’ll find individual stalls measuring 12 × 12 feet with a 10-foot ceiling. These figures are based on the size (13.3 and 17.3 hands or 4.43 to 5.7 feet tall at the shoulders) and weight (between 900 and 2,000 pounds) of the average horse. So, the precise stall dimensions you should build are dependent on the breed of your horse.
While it’s true that larger horses will require larger stalls (some stables will have stalls measuring as large as 12 × 24 feet), the physical size of the horse isn’t the only thing to think about. You also have to consider what activities the horses will be doing.
For instance, draft horses—i.e., horses that are used for labor—will require larger stalls. Even though a standard 12 × 12-foot stall can be suitable for draft horses, they are more accustomed to roaming in open spaces and can feel pent-up when kept in their stalls for too long. As such, it would be a good idea to build a 12 × 14-foot or even a 14 × 14-foot stall for workhorses.
The same can be said for breeding horses. Mating stallions can become aggressive when kept in limited spaces for too long, which may result in unexpected damage to your stable and even possible injury to your other horses. Pregnant mares on the verge of giving birth will also require a spacious stall in order to lie down and deliver. Some horse owners will even move pregnant mares to a 24 × 24-foot stall for a few months prior to delivery.
Horse Stall Size Chart
The following chart will describe what dimensions your horse stalls should be based on various parameters.
|Standard (13.3 to 17.3 hands)||12 ft.||12 ft.|
|Ponies (12 hands)||10 ft.||10 ft.|
|Large Breeds (16 to 18 hands)||12+ ft.||12+ ft.|
|Draft Horses||12+ ft.||14 ft.|
|Stallions||14 ft.||14 ft.|
|Pregnant and Nursing Mares||20+ ft.||20+ ft.|
|Shared Stalls||16 ft.||16 ft.|
How Wide Are Horse Stall Doors?
The importance of horse stall doors cannot be understated. Not only should it be wide enough for your horse to pass through, but it should also be wide enough that any fixtures on the catch any part of your horse.
The standard width of stall doors is 4 feet. They are in the form of swinging doors that create a tunnel for your horse to enter and exit. Those with tamed horses don’t have to install metal or wooden doors, but instead, they can use nylon mesh or canvas guards to further promote air circulation.
How Tall Is a Horse Stall?
One thing many amateur horse owners tend to overlook is how tall to build the individual stalls. The stall door and walls should be at least 8 feet tall, with a 2-foot clearance between the top of the stall and the stable’s ceiling.
The main reason for providing that much headroom is to promote air circulation. Horses and people who spend too much time in a low-ceiling building can overheat rather quickly, but you can counteract it by building higher ceilings. However, the stalls can’t be too high since any light fixtures you install might not shine bright enough to your horse’s liking.
Can Horses Share Stalls?
Yes, they can. There are such things as communal stalls and group stabling that keep horses in groups of 2 or 3 per stall. The purpose is to resolve behavioral issues, especially those associated with being isolated for too long. There’s no denying that stalls are unnatural, which is why some owners will allow well-mannered horses to share a single stall.
If you want to create a communal stall for your horses, bigger is always better. You should start with a stall that measures 16 × 16 feet and see how the horses adapt. However, most people would advise that you limit shared spaces to 2 horses. Even the friendliest horses who have known each other for a long time can feel irritated by their stall-mate.
How Often Should I Clean a Horse Stall?
Cleaning a horse stall, which is referred to as “stripping,” involves removing manure from the floors, checking the floor for levelness, and disinfecting the walls and floors. These are necessary steps that you should do at least once per day.
Stripping a stall creates a livable, hygienic environment for your horses. Since they spend the majority of their evenings and nights in their stalls, you should ensure that they’re as clean as possible.
Horse stall floors are typically made of wood or gravel with a concrete sub base. Others might want to add moistened wood pellets to soften the amount of strain on the horse’s joints. Regardless, you should inspect the floor for evenness; that way, your horse doesn’t have to put more pressure on its front or hind legs to maintain its balance.
If you’re interested in learning how to strip a horse stall, Stephanie Moratto on YouTube has an excellent video where she describes the entire process.