by American Stalls May 14, 2023
Spring is the time of year when you start to see cute pictures of foals all over social media. If you are a horse lover, chances are you’ve considered what it would be like to breed and raise a foal of your own. The experience of breeding and raising young horses can be a beautiful and fulfilling process.
If welcoming a foal into the barn is a goal, it is never too soon to start thinking about creating a space that is safe and appropriate. In this post, we would like to discuss how to create a safe, welcoming space for your newborns!
Foaling horse stalls need to be large enough to make the delivery process safe. The horse stalls also need to be big enough for the mare and foal to move around comfortably. If the stalls are being built specifically for foaling, the creation of an extra-large horse stall is especially important – like a 14’ x 24’ or a 12’ x 24’ stall. These sizes provide plenty of room.
If stalls are retrofitted to work for foaling, two stalls can be combined to create one large foaling stall. This can be done by removing a stall partition or by adding a swinging horse stall partition. For example, you can transform two separate 12'x12' stalls into one large 12’ x 24’ foaling stall. Having larger stalls in the barn can also come in handy for horses that are on stall rest or if you ever decide on getting larger breeds of horses.
Horse stall walls need to be sturdy and strong. This includes the stall fronts, stall partitions, and in some cases, the stall's back walls. During the foaling process, a mare may push against the stall walls so they need to be safe and secure to prevent injury. Solid stall partitions (i.e. full wood top to bottom) on the sides of the stall offers both added strength and a quiet undisturbed environment for the mare.
Eliminating spaces where a curious foal could get tangled up or stuck is important. This is why we space all of our top 1" round bars on 3" centers in our horse stalls' design. We also offer clients the ability to bring the round bar spacing even closer such as on 2.5" centers (as shown in the above Sliding Horse Stalls).
We also recommend to double check that the horse stall's filler material (i.e. lumber) is in excellent condition. This means there are no broken boards or sharp edges that the mare or foal could cut themselves on.
Prior to bringing the mare in to foal, the horse stall should be cleaned and disinfected. Ideally, the stall flooring and even the walls will have matting that can be easily scrubbed and sprayed down. One of our favorite products for a seamless, comfortable stall floor is our Stall Mattress Systems. These feature a seamless top cover that ensures upmost biosecurity and ease of cleaning. Make sure to use disinfectants that are appropriate for horses and avoid chemicals that are harsh or may leave a toxic residue.
Once cleaned, allow the horse stall to properly dry before placing bedding down. Straw is the most commonly used bedding for foaling because it is lower in dust and does not stick to the mare and foal. This prevents bacteria from growing and potentially causing infection. Cleanliness is essentially before and during the entire process.
Before the foal arrives, installing cameras that can be easily accessed from the home or an app can help calm nervousness and anticipation. In today's market, there are many options that easily hook up to your barn's Wi-Fi to provide constant monitoring. Mares should also be regularly monitored, but without causing disruption.
We recommend to install Stall fronts with design that allows for easy viewing into the stall. For example, we recommend clients to add mesh bottoms to their stalls – providing transparent viewing into the stall. You can double this visibility with proper lighting. Be careful though to ensure that the lighting is not too bright to help keep the mare calm. It is also a good idea to have a caretaker that is familiar with the horse to do the stall checks. This will also help keep the mare relaxed throughout the process.Breeding horses can be challenging, but if you talk to anyone who has done it, there are so many rewards that go along with the process. If you are planning on adding a new foal (or two) to your herd, it’s never too early to start planning. Our team can help you create a space that is safe and welcoming for mother and baby alike. You can reach us at (855) 957-8255 or firstname.lastname@example.org – we look forward to helping you build the safest foaling horse stall environment possible!