Stabling Draft Horses

by Matt

Stabling bigger horses? As a continuation from my article on how big should a horse stall be,, most of us are accustomed to average barns for average horses: twelve foot by twelve foot stalls, with doors about four feet wide. (In fact, you might not have ever considered the width of your stall door — they seem pretty uniform, right?)

But as draft and draft crosses become more popular as riding and recreational horses, it’s time to consider whether the average stall is the right size for our larger mounts. Not because they might be taller — a seventeen hand Thoroughbred and a seventeen hand Percheron might be the same height on paper, after all — but because they’re broader, bigger-boned, and altogether wider in the hips and shoulders.

While a draft horse who receives plenty of exercise, whether through turn-out or work, will be content with a traditional twelve foot by twelve foot stall, if your horse spends much of his time indoors, he’ll want a little extra space. Fourteen by fourteen feet is considered a good expansion for larger horses. This gives horses a little more space to turn around, lie down, and roll without getting cast against the stall walls. You’ll also have more space for furnishings like buckets and feed-bins without giving your horse obstacles to bump into (or dirty with manure).

A more slim riding horse can be safely led through a 48” wide door, but you’ll need to take special care with a broad-hipped Percheron, Clydesdale, or similarly-built breed if you have only (!) four feet of space to walk him through. Cut a turn too tight, and you’ll end up with bruised and scarred hindquarters from banging into the stall door. Consider a door as wide as 60” to avoid collisions and possible danger from a rushing, claustrophobic horse trying to get through his narrow doorway as quickly as possible.

As we see more draft horses enter the ranks of riding horses, we’ll have to take into consideration that these larger horses need a little bit more stabling space than average-sized horses. Stabling draft horses isn’t that different from stabling any other horse, though. Adding just a few inches here and there can make a big difference for their comfort and safety.

4 responses on “Stabling Draft Horses

  1. Jenna says:

    What about the proper aisle width?

    • Matt Johnson says:

      The right aisle width for your barn will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the draft horses you’re stabling and whether you will be storing any items, like tack trunks or equipment racks, in the aisle. Generally speaking, you’ll want an aisle to be at least 12′ wide.

  2. Janet Franklin says:

    What about door height? Standard doors seem to be 7’.

    • Matt Johnson says:

      Hello, for draft horses we typically recommend stall doors measuring 4’ wide by 8’ tall. If you are interested in wider, some stall companies will fabricate to any specification.

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