Choose the Right Horse Stall System
If you've priced stall systems, you know they represent a substantial capital investment for any farm.
Article by Elizabeth Baril
Whether your personal style leans towards a rich Tuscany look, the curvy lines of the British royal stable or a more standard look---
be sure to do your homework before you take out your checkbook. It's easy to get carried away by pretty pictures in a catalog. The
key is to buy from a company that has a commitment to quality and has a stellar track record of customer service. Whether we're
installing them in a new barn or renovating an old barn, stalls are an improvement we should only have to invest in once.
To meet that goal, your stall system should be strong enough to stand up to the most accident prone horse in the stable---and, let's
face it---we all have at least one. We want lots of choices in grille work and design, of course, but we also want a quality finish that
will look as good ten years from now as it does on the day of installation. Let's take a look at what makes a quality stall system.
How to Recognize Quality Horse Stall Construction
Aesthetics are important, of course, but quality materials make the top of our must-have list. Safety and durability are not optional.
• Steel versus aluminum. A 14-gauge steel construction for the body of the stall and 16-gauge steel on the grille fronts is
recommended for stalls. Some manufacturers use aluminum construction, but steel offers superior strength. Aluminum can crack or
bend under extreme pressure and that can lead to one of those horse injuries we’d rather avoid.
• Welding. The welding process is important when it comes to keeping your horses safe. But, it is not standard across the industry.
Some companies are taking a satisfactory process and taking it one step further. They’re putting the welds on the inside of the grille
channels. That not only makes for a cleaner, prettier look, but it’s also safer for your horses. No more burrs or bumps to snag a curious equine nose.
• Galvanization. Steel, however, does require a finish to protect it from the moist barn environment so look for a galvanized zinc
coating for durability. The galvanized zinc coating protects the steel from oxidation which leads to rust---and we all know how corrosive and unsightly rust can be.
• Finish coat. Here’s where you can have a little fun choosing colors. Green and black are the most common choices, but some
companies offer just about any color you can imagine, including custom colors. Look for powder-coated finishes for a tougher finish
than liquid paint. Not all powder-coated finishes are made alike, though---so once again, it’s important to do your homework. Buy
only from a company that is committed to getting this process right.
What’s your style?
•Custom, designer, and standard stalls. Now that you know what to look for when it comes to strength and durability, you’re
ready to choose your design. Choose a company that will work with you to design a stall system that reflects your barn lifestyle. But,
even standard stalls can be beautiful, especially if you dress things up with optional feed doors and swing out feed openings. We
spend a lot of time in the barn. It’s important that the colors and styles we choose keep us happy for years to come.
•Portable Stalls. Portable stalls are a great option for anyone who would like to have the option of changing the barn’s floor plan
without tearing down a single wall. However, it's critical to buy a quality product- one that will keep your horses safe. The portable
stall market is a tough one to navigate. Portable should never mean flimsy. But if you follow the rules for quality construction
discussed previously you'll do great. Look for 14-gage steel and stalls that go together easily with 14-gage steel wall mounts and
connectors. A portable stall system should be strong enough to remain free-standing.