What is a Standard Horse Size Stall? In the United States, a standard-sized horse stall is a 12’x12. However, there are multiple factors and scenarios that dictate appropriate stall size for a horse. Most stall panels are available in 12-foot sections, but it is not uncommon to see 10′ or 14′ options. Factors to consider include the size of the horse, time period spent in stalls, the horse’s stalling history, and cost or available space.
Purpose of Horse Stall
An average size horse (we will use 15 hands and 1,000 pounds as the “standard”) can technically fit in a very small space. However, most horses are in stalls for extended periods of time, even if just overnight. A horse left in a stall overnight will need room to eat, sleep, and make waste. A 12’x12’ stall size will allow a horse to eat hay without it being fed over a manure area. It is important horses are not fed directly on top of manure, as this can increase the risk of parasites. It will also provide enough space for a horse to comfortably lay away from their urine/manure without a high risk of becoming cast. A horse becomes “cast” when it lays down in a position where it cannot get up, typically with legs very close to a stall wall.
Most partitions, or stall dividers, are between 8’ and 10’, with the minimum height being 7’ 6”. An average size horse can easily kick up to 7 feet, and gain a lot of height when rearing. This minimum height standard is for safety purposes, decreasing the likelihood of a horse getting its feet over the stall partition. Like stall sizes, there is also a standard for stall doors/entrances. Not only should a horse be able to pass through comfortably, but a handler should be able to safely lead a horse in and out of the stall without squeezing or putting themselves at risk. Regardless of the door style, the average doorway opening will range from 42″ to 45″ in width. Doorways too wide can also possess issues, especially with new handlers bringing horses in and out regularly.
Read about The Best Round Pen Size for Horse Training
Other Horse Stall Dimensions
Some barns have both 12’x12’ and 12’x24’ stalls. A 12’x24’ or 16’x20’ is essentially a “double”, but a popular size for foaling stalls. It is not uncommon for warmblood barns or barns with larger breeds to have 16’x16’ sized stalls. And along these lines, 10’x10’ works will with pony breeds and miniatures. However, using a smaller stall size may affect resale or potential boarding at a later date since an average-sized horse does better in a little extra square footage. 12-foot partitions, panels, and fronts are the easiest to come by- making them a great solution for barn contractors or DIY stalls. Unusual or custom stall sizes may be difficult to maintain, repair, or find replacement pieces for down the road. Most stall accessories fit standardized sizing as well.
Average Horse Stall Size – Variables to Consider
A 12’x12’ might seem like the right solution given it is the standard, however, there are many variables that can affect this decision. For example, larger breeds will not do well in smaller spaces and may require up to a 16’x16’ to comfortably eat and layaway from manure/urine. The height alone for some breeds can even make standard entrances dangerous if they were to pull up and hit their poll. Drafts, warmbloods, and larger horses such as Tennessee Walkers typically do better in larger stalls for comfort.
On the other side, miniatures are sometimes kept in “doubles” (12’x24’) with smaller or high-visibility partitions. This is to allow ponies and minis the peace of mind of seeing one another (they are herd animals after all), while still remaining separate. Most stalls have solid bottoms, completely removing visibility from smaller animals.
Sometimes a horse’s history can make a difference when stalling as well. Horses may need more (or less) space if they have never been stalled before, are unhandled, or have neurotic behaviors while in a stall. Horses recovering from an injury and instructed “stall rest” by a veterinarian may have different movement requirements/needs. For extended periods of time, a vet may recommend a larger space since turnout is limited. Other cases might call for extremely limited space to inhibit movement.
What is a Standard Horse Size Stall? – Final Thoughts
Although there is a standard stall size, it’s important to consider your own unique circumstances, as well as the foreseeable future. Luckily, many stall panels are sold as singles for ease of movement or expansion.
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