Horse Stalls 101 | By: American Stalls | Date on: 06/1/2020

Horse stalls are one of the first things that our clients begin to think about when they plan their upcoming barn project.

Chances are, you know exactly the look you’d like in your barn.

In the world of horse stalls, there are thousands of stall styles. In this ocean of choices, there are only two types of stall doors – sliding doors and hinged doors. Although it may not seem like it, your stall door choice is one the most important decisions when it comes to your horse barn. You will use your horse stall door thousands of times – opening it, closing it, leaving it open, and everything in-between.

That’s why it’s important to make a well-informed decision. As with any option, each door type comes with its pros and cons.


Hinged stall doors tend to be more common than sliding doors.

That being said, hinged stall doors tend to be less practical than sliding doors. This is because they must swing out into the barn aisle. This means that your barn aisle must be fairly wide to accommodate the standard 48″ wide horse stall door. If you are considering hinged stall doors, we suggest to consider the following:

Aisle Width: The aisle should be wide enough to allow for the hinged door to safely open and close.

Aisle Leveling: The aisle needs to be tempered and leveled. This is crucial since the bottom of a stall door can get stuck on uneven flooring. This is why we recommend to allow for an inch of clearance between the barn floor and the horse stall door’s bottom. If your barn aisle is full of hills and bumps, we would advise against a hinged horse stall door.

At the end of the day, hinged horse stalls can provide your barn that elegant and traditional look.


While sliding doors don’t have the open appearance of a European (hinged) stall door, they are still great investments for your horse barn.

For starters, sliding doors are a fantastic because they save valuable space. This is because the sliding horse stall door doesn’t swing outward into the barn aisle. This space-saving feature makes sliding doors a perfect fit for busy facilities including horse boarding barns, training barns, and large venues.

Most importantly, we recommend sliding horse stall doors because of their safety advantage. Below are some thoughts and considerations:

  1. A hinged door can get caught by the wind. This can injure a horse or human if the stall door is left open in the aisle.
  2. A hinged door needs to be closed when the horse is note in the horse stall. Therefore, the handler has one more additional action to do when leading a horse out of its stall to close or open a latch. Ideally, a safe design ensures that least amount of handling and steps.
  3. If a hinged door is closed, a horse can potentially get loose from the stall if the door does not latch for some reason.
  4. When horses are turned out and a sliding door has been left open, a human can simply look down the aisle and tell who is out and who is not.
  5. As noted above, when you are leading the horse back into the stall and the sliding door has been left open, there is less action involved to ultimately close the stall door.
  6. Lastly, sliding doors are recommended from a fire safety standpoint. In the case of a fire, you have very little time to make crucial, life-saving decisions. In this case, you simply pull the pin latch or push up the latch and slide open the door as you move to the next stall.

Despite the pros and cons, each horse stall door can function at a high level in terms of safety, day-to-day operations, and the overall look. Do you have more questions about stall components or barn safety in general? Contact an American Stalls team member today!

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