How Big Should a Horse Stall Be?
The standard size for a horse stall tends to be twelve feet by twelve feet. But is that the right size for every horse?
The twelve-foot wall standard comes from a simple calculation for the average 1,000-pound horse: the wall is about one and a half times the horse’s length. It accounts for allowing a horse to walk in a circle, to lie down and roll, and to sleep without getting cast constantly (although some horses just cast themselves no matter what you do!). This size is also a modular dimension of lumber and stall equipment, but that is a whole other post.
A natural extension of this is the 12-foot by 24-foot foaling stall. You can easily build a removable wall between two stalls if you see foaling mares in your future. An example of this size can be seen on our Threes Sons Ranch project.
If twelve-by-twelve is the average stall size for a horse of average size, that doesn’t quite make it one size fits all. If you’re purpose building a stall for draft horses, for example, you want to take into consideration that a Percheron larger than seventeen hands and weighing in somewhere north of 1,500 pounds is going to want more space than the average Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse. A nineteen-hand horse will have trouble just turning around in a standard stall.
In this case, bumping stall sizes up to a more generous fourteen-by-fourteen foot will give your extra-large horse some extra breathing, rolling, pacing, and sleeping room. One of our clients desired this size on their stable, as seen at Boyd stable project.
You can also achieve more livable stall space for your horse with a rectangular stall. Some yearling barns get by with a ten-by-eight stall, but unless you’re dealing with ponies, that’s not quite enough room for an adult horse. Twelve-by-fourteen is a nice compromise if you’re limited for space, giving horses a little extra walking and rolling room. For draft horses, a twelve-foot minimum wall length is ideal, so you might consider a twelve-by-sixteen rectangular stall.
On the other hand, if you’re building stalls for miniature horses, you can downsize accordingly! Many miniature horse breeders agree that eight-by-eight foot stalls are workable for these little horses, although some hold out for ten-by-ten. This is also a common show stall size.
Of course, all of these sizes are for a horse that spends the bulk, or at least half, of his time indoors. If you’re looking for a space to bring a horse in to eat breakfast and dinner in peace, before going back outside to live on pasture, the minimum amount of space works for any horse. As long as they can turn around and roll with a reasonable expectation that they won’t hit the wall, even a small stall can work for a big horse — for a limited time!
How big are your horse stalls?