Horse Stables and Stalls ~ What’s The Difference? | Equimed - Horse Health Matters (2023)

Newsdate: Friday, September 14, 2018, 10:30 am
Location: ATGLEN, Pennsylvania

The latest Horizon Structures Presents Series press release by Nikki Alvin-Smith "Stables and Stalls ~ What's The Difference?" discusses a number of important issues for horse owners' consideration.

A modular wood horse barn

The safety and well-being of the horse should always be forefront in designing horse accommodations.
© 2018 by Horizon Structures

Growing up as a horse mad child in England I certainly spent an inordinate amount of time in stable yards and around horses. We called our equine abodes stables not stalls, and more times than not these were built of brick and mortar. The traditional stable had a Dutch door, and the yard usually comprised of a line of stables all of the same size with a feed or storage room tagged on the end.

Sometimes the stables were set in a square with a courtyard in the middle and sometimes they were set in an L-shape. Of course Britain enjoys a rich tradition of everything equine.

The weather was often damp and rainy, and wherever we went the stables were always deeply bedded in straw to protect the horses from the cold concrete floor. Back then there were no rubber mats or shavings anywhere to be seen.

Today many British stable buildings have been converted to housing but thankfully some still remain as horse housing.

Brick stables are very practical to hose down with water but can take some serious effort scrubbing to keep truly clean and there is nothing for the horses to nibble except the wooden Dutch door, so those are often gnawed. The brick walls are also unforgiving when a horse becomes cast or kicks out, and our show horses were always wrapped in standing bandages to protect their legs from the rough walls.

Much of Europe houses horses in brick stables or stone buildings due to the traditional building methods of brick and mortar. Much of my time training in Germany was spent in wooden or metal indoor arenas but the stable yard was almost always brick and mortar. The more modern yards had lined the stables with wood, to protect the horse from the harshness of the brick walls.

At home during chilly winter months and rainy days, the stables held the cold and dampness emanated from the walls. Horses were blanketed in layers of hessian material that had been retrieved from feed sacks and surcingles held these layers in place.

If the horse was being cooled out after a hard work out, then we’d stuff straw between the hessian layers to provide extra warmth with an airfilled straw layer that served to draw the heat from the horse and help it dry off. There was no money for fancy blankets and it took ages to unwrap your horse for riding and wrap him back up afterward.

Then along came the modular stable. Every horse mad kid that wanted a pony could theoretically now have one in their own backyard, if their parents could be talked into converting the precious garden into a paddock. The structures were quick and easy to place, and provided natural insulation with their wood walls.

The horse magazines of the day, such as Horse and Hound and Riding were littered with advertisements for this wonderful portable stall invention.

When you think about stalls in America, you always think first of a wood stall. My first livery location on arrival in the U.S.A. was Caumsett State Park at Lloyd Harbor, Long Island, N.Y., was a 40 stall tin structure with 40 stalls with dirt floors and wood walls. This Marshall Fields estate, also boasts a wonderful brick horse barn, but that was reserved for the leaseholder’s Grand Prix showjumpers or famous visiting equines.

There are many advantages to a wooden structure over a metal or brick structure. Wood absorbs sound and moisture, which makes the environment drier for the health of your horse and quieter. You don’t have to worry about condensation that metal produces and you and your horse are not subject to noises caused by the creaking of the metal during rapid temperature changes or during high winds.

Wooden structures are not just warmer than metal or brick in winter, but also cooler than metal structures during summer months.

Another factor that horse owners don’t always consider, is that a wrongly placed kick from a horse that hits the side of a building fashioned out of metal, will assuredly result in a serious injury to the horse.

I was visiting a neighbor some years ago and he proudly showed me around his brand new metal building. Inside he had placed gates in squares to house the horses for his sales business. The horses were bedded on shavings, and the tin walls formed one wall of their living space. Outside the building, horses grazed in the pasture adjacent to the metal walls.

Needless to say I pointed out the hazard of the proximity of metal to horse hooves and the neighbor thanked me and promptly had a protective wooden wall installed around the interior of the building. However, to this day horses still graze right up to those outside walls. A foolish risk to take but one that sadly many folks overlook until it is too late.

There is good reason that run-in sheds are made out of wood.

Additionally wood structures are very easy to redesign and manipulate if you want to add on to them, or reconfigure the interior space.

When you consider the design and features of your new barn building, whether you opt for a traditional shed row stableyard or a center aisle barn, it is smart to pay attention to where the barn will be situated and how it is kickboarded and sided.

Naturally the safety and well-being of the horse should always be forefront in designing horse accommodation and there are lots of options that an experienced horse barn builder can help you navigate to ensure the final result answers all your needs and desires for equine care.

There are significant advantages to modular barn construction, not just in the ease of set up and fast delivery, but also in regard to adding to the structure later if required and customization of all facets and features of the building. Ask about warranties, financing options and visit the company’s previous builds to ensure that you are making the best choice of partner for your horse barn structure.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horizon Structures Inc., Atglen PA – Modular horse barn and indoor riding arena specialists. Horizon Structures also offers both residential and commercial kennels, coops, multi-use structures and playsets. Please visit to learn more.

About Horizon Structures: One horse or twenty, there's one thing all horse owners have in common...the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners. At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart "horse-friendly" design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses' stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need -

Horizon Structures also sells indoor riding arenas, chicken coops, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook. Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business. He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for internationalcorporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing atinternational Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Please visit to learn more.

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