by American Stalls December 10, 2020
Horse Stall Fronts 101 | Our Thoughts on Mesh
These days, airflow is increasingly a larger priority for horses owners.
Whether you live in a warm climate or cold climate, we can agree that airflow is key to any barn. Ample airflow allows for better lung health in your horses, less risk of airborne bacteria, and a well-ventilated barn.
When it comes to horse stalls, airflow can be promoted or hindered depending on the material you choose for your stall fronts and stall doors.
This brings us to a growingly popular option: mesh.
Most horse stall fronts have a traditional look that includes vertical bars on the top. Most clients are comfortable with this look since it allows for good visibility and safety. At the bottom of a horse stall front, common choices include wood, mesh, and vertical bars. More often than not, we tend to heavily recommend our mesh material.
We highly recommend mesh because of two core benefits:
Mesh & Ventilation
Our mesh is outstanding in promoting ventilation in your horse stalls and overall barn. It is particularly excellent when welded into the bottom of a stall door or stall front.
The mesh’s placement on the stall door is key. Often overlooked, airflow in the bottom of a horse stall is much more valuable than most give it credit for. In a traditional stall’s wood bottom, a stall’s smell tends to linger at the bottom. As each stall accumulates excess odors, you will then notice that your barn’s overall smell becomes less than ideal. In contrast, a mesh bottom can help flush out the bottom of a stall. This added ventilation makes sure that smells are not stuck or lingering around at the bottom. When the mesh is constantly flushing out smells, then a barn smells fresh and crisp.
Mesh & Visibility
Our mesh material has another key benefit: visibility. Whether you have a 4-stall breeding barn or a 42-stall commercial barn, visibility is key.
While most horse stalls have vertical bars on the top, visibility is often lacking at the bottom of a horse stall. This lack of visibility makes it hard to see over at feed buckets and water systems. It is also hard for you to see your horse’s hips, feet, and other body parts without the opportunity to see straight through a stall door. Without mesh, you might not notice your horse standing oddly.
This is why we recommend mesh at the base of a stall – either at the stall door or on the entire stall front.
Mesh allows you to notice things quicker. That is true whether you are directly across from a stall or at the other end of the barn.
Immediate visual confirmation is very helpful every time you go into the barn. Regardless of the activity, mesh allows for a clear sightline. You can then see if a horse hasn’t touched their feed, if a baby is laying down, or if one of your horses is standing funny.
We always recommend mesh on stall bottoms – or grilled bottoms – since it can help facilitate your eyes on the horse’s surroundings.
This visual confirmation also helps speed your day up. Instead of triple-checking, a visual confirmation means you don’t have to make a conscious effort after you’ve already done everything else. You’ve already completed your inspection peripherally. This little detail helps save our clients lots of time out of each day.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question #1: “I live in a colder climate and I fear that mesh will add too much airflow. I want to keep my barn as cozy and warm as possible for my horses. What do you recommend?”
Although this thought is valid, it is likely over-emphasized. We have been in barns in colder climates such upstate New York and Vermont. In our experience, it can be extremely cold outside, but the barn tends to have its own internal environment.
More likely than not, our clients will button up their barn by closing barn windows, barn end doors, and Dutch doors. This means that there are little to few winds blowing through the barn – leading to a warmer barn climate.
More than temperature though, we see even more of a need to rejuvenate the stale air at the base of a horse stall during the Winter months.
Since the barn is closed down, there is little additional draft into the horse stall itself. A horse stall’s draft will likely not be any different than the existing draft in the rest of the barn. Hence, a drafty barn is going to continue be drafty – whether there is mesh in the bottom or not.
However, added mesh at the bottom will equip your stalls with the ability to have more airflow at the bottom. As described above, this added ventilation helps flush out stale odors at the bottom and keep your stalls fresh. This ventilation effect is increased even more every time you open the door as you take some of that smell out with you.
For this reason, mesh components are a recommendation regardless of climate. Yes, we tend to recommend them even more strongly in warmer climates, but they are equally beneficial in colder climates.
Question #2: “We’ve seen in other barns that mesh stalls always lead to bedding going all over to the aisle. Is there a way around this?”
There is nothing worse than extra time spent cleaning up an aisle full of shavings and bedding. It’s a small detail, but it adds up as you spend time sweeping and blowing your aisle – not to mention the financial cost of wasted, excess bedding. Whether you are saving in labor or in wasted materials in your bedding, it all adds up.
That being said, there is an easy fix to avoid this: a bedding guard in combination with our mesh. A bedding guard is a higher section at the bottom of a stall door and/or horse stall front.
Our standard door frame uses 2”x2” square tubing. On top of that, we weld on either a steel or wooden bedding guard that can be 4”, 6”, or 8” H.
Our bedding guards come in both a steel option and wood option. The decision between steel and wood is often a personal decision.
There are benefits to each material. Steel bedding guards project a more substantial, yet modern aesthetic. Alternatively, wood bottoms can help warm up a stall door design. Additionally, there is the utilitarian benefit that you can replace the piece of wood as it takes abuse from horses, urine, and other fluids over time. Our customers then just have to take off a few screws and then place a new piece of wood. Your doors are then as good as new.
In essence, a combination of mesh and a bedding guard can add up the price on the front end. However, ultimately, it allows you to save time, energy, and resources. This allows you to add more joy to your day.
Do you have more questions regarding your existing stall doors or a new stalls project? Contact us today and our team would be happy to assist with any questions and project planning.