Building versatile horse stalls for small-scale farmers guide, Rural property construction advice, Home building maintenance

Building Versatile Horse Stalls for Small-Scale Farmers

29 May 2024

As a small-scale farmer, investing in horse stalls is a wise decision. Horse stalls benefit the well-being of your animals and give them a safe place to sleep, but they have other uses. Since you’re not some large commercial farming operation, versatile horse stalls are the best way to utilize the minimal space and resources you have.

Building versatile horse stalls for small-scale farmers

Uses for Horse Stalls on Small Farms

As the name suggests, horse stalls are traditionally for horses. Horses can use these stalls for plenty of reasons but there are several other things you can use the stalls for on your small farm.

Multi-Purpose Stalls

One of the best ways to use horse stalls is to have them be multi-purpose stalls. When you incorporate removable dividers into the stalls, you can create larger spaces when you need them.

Using your horse stalls for more space for your horse to give birth or receive medical treatment can save you money on having to build just one larger dedicated space.

You can even add more space in a stall, so your horse has more room for their toys or other enrichment activities. It doesn’t matter what you want to do with the extra space; it’s about having possibilities.

Wash and Grooming Areas

Those who live on a farm know what a task it is to groom and wash a horse fully. Building horse stalls that are dedicated to grooming spaces can help make grooming your horses ten times easier. You can incorporate non-slip flooring and drainage into these stalls so you can complete the entire wash and groom process more efficiently.


Finding the best places to store farm supplies can be frustrating without dedicated spaces. In addition to building stalls for your horses, you can add one or two for storage purposes.

If you’re interested in adding horse stalls and using one or two for storage, make sure they have the storage space you need. For these stalls, you can install shelves, cabinets, or other things so you can store everything you need. Placing all your horse supplies like feed, tack, grooming supplies, and more in these stalls will make keeping track of it all much easier.

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Stationary or Portable

Another design component you need to think about is whether you want your horse stalls stationary or portable. Most people opt for stationary stalls because they don’t really see a reason for portable ones.

Portable horse stalls are a great option when you are constantly on the move with your horse. They’re also an excellent option for stalls while you’re redoing the barn or area where the stall will eventually go.

Both types of horse stalls are beneficial. Portable stalls allow for a lot more versatility than stationary stalls.

Stall Size and Layout

Brainstorming how to have horse stalls on your farm with limited space isn’t a small feat. It takes some effort on your part to figure out the right dimensions and layout of the stalls. You’ll need to take careful consideration with this because you want the stalls to be comfortable and safe for your horses and other animals and not too large to take up too much space on the farm.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your stall is large enough for a horse to lie down in and completely turn around. A 12×12 stall is sufficient for this. As for the aisle in your barn or between stalls, aim for an aisle width of 10 feet or so. If you want more flexibility, having an aisle width of up to 14 feet might be better.

Ventilation and Lighting

The main purpose of horse stalls is to keep animals safe from inclement weather while they’re inside. You must consider adequate ventilation and lighting for your stalls. Without enough ventilation, your horse and other animals can suffer from respiratory problems.

You can avoid respiratory issues by having roof vents, open-top partitions, or windows to let fresh air into the stalls. For lighting, if you have windows and even skylights, you should have plenty of natural light to work with.

Choosing the Right Materials

Even as a small-scale farmer, investing in quality materials that don’t break the bank is important. Many farmers go with solid wood with bars for easy access to the animals and ventilation. If you’re going to use wood for your stall walls, look into treating the wood so it’s pest and moisture-resistant.

That way, they’ll last a lot longer without needing repairs. Then, you have the flooring for your stalls. While you can just leave the grass or dirt underneath, adding specific flooring can be beneficial. Some options for flooring are dirt, clay, or rubber mats. Each one has its own benefits, but all provide a smoother floor than leaving the ground as it is.

The last main component when looking at sturdy materials is the door. Stall doors come in many styles and materials, so you’ll want to take some time to evaluate them all before choosing. Sliding doors are a great way to save space on your farm, but swinging doors offer wider access to the stalls.

Comfort and Safety

Keeping your horses comfortable and safe involves more than just building stalls. Horses need enrichment to be happy, and you can add windows, toys, and other things to provide them with the enrichment they need while in the stalls.

Other safety considerations are to make sure all the materials used to build the stall are safe. This means using non-toxic materials, sanding down sharp edges, and avoiding exposed nails.

Unfortunately, farm fires are common. You’ll want to ensure your stalls have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers nearby in an emergency. The best thing you can do for the safety of your horses is to regularly inspect your stalls for any issues and then fix them fast.
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Horse stalls can be a lifesaver on your small farm. Sure, they make a great shelter for your beloved horses, but horse stalls are far more versatile than many think. You can build horse stalls that have several purposes for your horse, such as a grooming station, storage, or whatever else your farm needs.

Comments on this guide to Building versatile horse stalls for small-scale farmers article are welcome.

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