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Essential Chore-Time Conveniences Horse Stalls Must Possess
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Essential Chore-Time Conveniences Horse Stalls Must Possess

There are some essential chore-time conveniences horse stalls must possess for horse safety and wellbeing.

In standard horse stalls, there is need for proper heated and/or automatic waterers. Hauling water buckets to stalls is physically demanding. Automatic heated waterers are something most of us dream of but never own because, depending on the climate, the entire system must be heated to prevent freezing. The upfront cost, depending on system and electrical service, is around $1,000 to $3,000 per stall. Additionally, utility costs rise substantially with these systems in use.

A horse vacuum is also important in horse stalls. A backpack or stand-alone vacuum can be indispensable for cleaning dust and dried mud from horses and dirt and debris from tack rooms. Most horses adapt to it quickly and even seem to enjoy the massage effect. There are several on the market for household use, which we have found to be the most economical and lightweight. Prices range from $75 to $200. Larger industrial types can cost up to $600 or more.

Stall-waste composting bays are also essential in horse stalls. Aren't you tired of that pile of manure behind the barn? Stall waste is actually a valuable commodity that you can leverage. “The benefits of composting horse manure are many and include reducing the possibility of parasite reinfection in your horse, reducing odors, reducing the volume of material you have piled up, and providing you with a valuable, soil amendment for your pastures, garden, or yard.” says ,layne Blickle, director of Horses for Clean Water, in Nampa, Idaho. Locate a composting area or bay far enough away from the barn to avoid odor, heat buildup, and insect problems but close enough to access easily with a loaded wheelbarrow or muck cart. It should also be accessible with a pickup truck or loader tractor. You will need to turn the pile occasionally, and it should have good air circulation and moisture for aerobic decomposition. The location must be well-drained and not allow runoff into adjacent streams or gullies. Walls can be constructed of wood or concrete, but these are primarily for aesthetic purposes. A floor slab of concrete and low walls can make turning and removing compost with a loader tractor more convenient, but it is not essential. The cost can be minimal or it can run several thousand dollars for proper containment system.

There is a need for an attached paddocks or runs that connect to the stalls for chore efficiency and turnout safety, paddocks that attach directly to the barn can reduce time spent leading horses to and from turnout. “This chore-efficient arrangement gives the horse free access to the stall, plus you have a clean, dry, area for feed,” says Blickle. “Keeping horses separate helps monitor their eating, water consumption, and defecating.” At our farm, we have a run-in area in the corner of the barn with access to paddocks. We let horses in from the run-in directly to the barn aisle and their stalls. This eliminates chasing them around to bring them in to feed every day. Paddocks attached to each stall are a luxurious alternative but might not provide enough mental and physical benefit as full turnout.

Your horse will also need a paved barn aisle. My first dream amenity was a paved barn aisle. I had built and remodeled a few barns for my own use, and the budget always seemed to run out before getting to the aisle. Once I had the resources to pave it with exposed aggregate nonslip concrete, it was like a different barn in terms of dust and general cleanup. Other options include coarse asphalt and rubber pavers. In any case, make sure the surface is nonslip. It will cost about $8 to $20 per square foot.

Add stall mats to your horse's stall. Rubber mats provide an easily cleanable base for stalls, making mucking easier and reducing bedding needs. These typically cost a couple hundred dollars per stall, whereas mattress style mats designed to provide horses with more comfort run well over $1,000.

Cross-tie bays are also needed in horse stalls. Cross-tie bays are safe areas in which to tie horses outside their stall for cleaning, tacking, and vet and farrier visits is more necessity than luxury. A bay equipped with cross-ties is ideal but involves space the size of another stall. Most of us find cross-ties in the aisle to be acceptable. You can affix these to the barn aisle in several ways. Blocker tie rings provide a safe system, allowing you to adjust the tie rope to regulate the amount of hold.  This safety system is simple to install for approximately $30 each side. They are also useful as single tie points instead of attaching directly to a barn support post.

Washer and dryer are also needed in the tack room for cleaning blankets, pads, and towels. A real luxury for most of us, a dedicated washer and dryer is not only convenient but also saves wear and tear on our home appliances. This option only makes sense if you already have a heated tack room with water and a drain nearby. If so, the plumbing rough-in should be about $500. If these services are not nearby, the cost could be prohibitive. A dryer is not as necessary because you can hang cleaned items to dry.

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