Horse Stalls 101 | By: American Stalls | Date on: 01/16/2019

Horse Stalls 101

Horse stalls have been around as long as we can remember.

There is everything from the simple backyard pleasure stall to the fancy show barn that features European stall fronts.

Despite the design, at its core, the horse stall is the basic functional unit of any horse barn or shelter. That’s why it’s so crucial to understand everything that goes into building the right horse stall.

Below is the order of elements that go into designing a horse stall (descending in importance)

  1. Safety for horses and handlers
  2. Comfort for the horse
  3. Convenience for the handler in performing chores associated with great horse care.
  4. The horse stalls’ aesthetics 

The basics of a safe, functional horse stall are the same regardless of your management style and needs. In this post, we will provide an overview of some basic horse stall features for the typical 1,000-pound horse. The dimensions can be adjusted accordingly for larger breeds. 

The Horse Stall | General Basics

Your horse’s size and the amount of the time the horse spends in the horse stall help determine the stall’s size.

Larger horses require more square footage than smaller breeds such as ponies and miniature horses. This larger space is necessary to allow your horse to turn around, lie down, and get up comfortable.

A 12’x’12’ horse stal is the standard recommendation for most horses. However, many facilities are successful with portable horse stalls that are slighter smaller at a 10’x10’ size.

A larger horse stall size is justified if the horse spends significant time in the stall or is more active. American Stalls designs stalls of sizes, but the most common sizes include 10’x10’ and 12’x’12’ for portable horse stalls.

We recommend that barn owners be mindful because more space tends to correlate with higher expenses. More space requires more maintenance, more bedding, and a larger surface area to clean.

Hence, larger horse stalls can add significantly to the cost of building a barn by: 

  1. Adding to the overall length and/or width of a barn.
  2. Increasing the span of the framing lumber.
  3. Requiring roof framing to be increased from 2×10’s to 2×12’s – or even greater.

The two components that go into a stall are the front horse stall panels and horse stall side panels


Horse stall partitions between stalls must be at least 7’ high to prevent horses from getting their legs over the wall. Aside from the dimensions, one has many options in regards to the partitions’ designs.

These include:

  • Half Filler (Vinyl, HDPE, tongue and groove lumber) and half bars/or mesh. 
    • Barred or mesh portions on top are great for added ventilation. This allows horses to see their companions while giving the owner visibility of their horses.
      • However, this option’s downside is that the increased ventilation between stalls can increase the risk of airborne bacterial infections between horses. 
  • That is why so many horse shows and large expo centers choose solid partitions from top to bottom

Horse stall fronts will match the stall partitions’ height, but the length can vary according to your barn’s length. We design our horse stall front panels to include doors with a seven feet height opening and 48″ width. These are the dimensions of the actual open area that the horse can pass through. These doorway openings are essential for overall horse and handler safety. Stay tuned for series 2.0 which will go more in-depth regarding stall front doors. 

Aside from dimensions, most horse stall fronts feature a steel bars on the top half of the stall panel. Both options allow an owner to look down the aisle or into the stall as they walk down the aisle.

There’s much more details one needs to account for when designing horse stalls. Stay tuned for next week’s continued discussion! 

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any particular questions. We are always here to help our fellow equestrians!

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