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stone horse barn window Whether the interior of your barn is merely utilitarian or very elaborate, there are certain considerations that must be taken into account to ensure that the atmosphere is safe and healthy for your horses, and convenient and efficient for those managing the barn.

When it comes to designing stalls, horses can be kept in box stalls, where they are free to move about, or in tie stalls, where they remain tied.  Tie stalls are fairly small and are acceptable if you are using stalls for short periods of time, such as during feeding and grooming.  If you are planning on keeping your horses in stalls for extended periods of time, then larger box stalls are needed to ensure your horses' comfort.

A Horse Eats Hay in a Horse Barn Stall

How large should a box stall be?  Well, the conventional 12 ft x 12 ft size is adequate for most horses.  This allows horses enough space to keep the place where they eat and rest separate from the place they eliminate.  Smaller stalls are not only more uncomfortable for the horse, but they also cause more maintenance and cleaning, as manure and clean bedding can more easily mix.

white horse in horse stall If you are a breeding facility that keeps dams and foals together, you should construct as many larger stalls as you need to allow for that.

Stalls can be made out of a variety of materials — wood, metal, or cement block — but the most important thing is that they're strong enough to stand up to kicking, chewing, rubbing, and the corrosive effects of urine and manure.  To ensure the safety of the horses, the interior walls of the stall should be smooth and free of any projections such as nails, bolts, or exposed wood corners that horse could get caught on.  The top portion of the front of the stall is generally made of bars, mesh, pipe, or some other material that allows horses to see out and people to see in.  This non-solid area also allows for proper airflow and ventilation.  Stall doors can be sliding, hinged, or a combination of the two depending upon your particular barn design and what's most convenient.

If there are windows in your stalls they should be covered with mesh or bars.  In very hot and sunny climates, windows should also be fitted with shades to keep the environment comfortable.

horse barn interior with horse tack Each stall should have an area designated for food and water.  The area should be convenient for barn personnel, but should also allow the horse to eat and drink easily.  Chest-high feeders, as well as hay nets, keep the horse from ingesting dust and debris along with food, and significantly cut down on respiratory issues.  While water buckets can be used for horses who are only inside on an occasional basis, the fact that horses drink eight to 12 gallons of water a day means that buckets are an inconvenient choice for horses who are in a good portion of the time.  Waterers are a better choice for horses who spend large amounts of time in their stalls.  Automatic waterers are expensive, but they are a good choice for barns that have a significant number of horses to water.

Flooring is an important consideration when it comes to designing the interior of your barn.  When deciding what material to go with, look at the cost of the product as well as its safety and durability.  Popular choices include tamped clay, mixtures of clay, sand, and rock, concrete, asphalt, rubber, and wood.

empty horse barn stalls Other considerations you'll want to take into account when planning the interior of your barn include whether or not to have a tack room.  At the very least, you'll want to include an area that allows riders to safely and easily groom and tack up their horses.  You'll also want to include a feed room in your plans.  Make sure the feed room is set out of the way, and fashion it with a horse-proof lock to prevent horses from eating on the sly, which can cause life-threatening disease.

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