Stall fronts and doors are easily the most used parts of your barn, which is why high-quality builds are so important. Attention to detail really makes a difference in the overall appearance of your barn and the ease of taking care of your horses.
Whether you’re building a barn for the first time or renovating the one you have, starting your stall project may feel overwhelming. In our post “Custom Horse Stalls Make a Barn a Home,” we broke down a handful of key considerations in the overall planning process. Here, we’ll discuss five tips specific to helping you choose your stall fronts and doors.
1. Discover your design inspiration and what you like.
Start out with browsing images of stall fronts to get an idea of what you like and dislike. Your barn should feel like home for you and your horses. If you’re building a new barn, you have a lot of room to customize the look and feel of your stalls in addition to the rest of the structure.
2. Determine the use of your stalls and if your design preferences will have a positive impact on your horses’ health.
Consider how you intend to use your stalls, the needs and quirks of your horses, and your turnout schedule. Some designs may be visually appealing but may not make sense for your horses’ optimal health and safety. Do you intend to use certain stalls for veterinary purposes or for foaling? Do some horses need additional space from others because of behavior concerns?
Some door designs, for example, have yokes so that your horses can experience more of what’s going on in your barn, which is important for healthy socialization. If a horse tends to bite, however, choosing a door without a yoke may be the best fit for the horse’s — and your — well-being.
3. If you’re replacing existing stalls fronts and doors, choose styles that work with the rest of your space.
Stall fronts and doors endure heavy use and should fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. Aisle space is an important consideration, particularly when choosing a door style that works for your horses, their care, and your mucking routine. For example, if you have less aisle space, sliding doors are the best option to maximize your workspace for tacking, brushing, and maneuvering small farm equipment through your barn. If you have a barn that is more traditional in appearance with wider aisles, doors that swing outward are a beautiful touch.
At Blackwood, we offer both door styles with the ability to choose from arches, yokes, and brass accents. Accessories are an important consideration if you prefer to keep your bridles and saddles at your stall front.
4. Be picky about the materials used to build your stall fronts.
On average, stall fronts and doors should last for 15 to 20 years of daily use, which means the wood and metal chosen should be durable while still achieving your desired look. When planning your new or replacement stall fronts, ask your custom builder about where they source materials and ask to see samples.
For all our clients, we exclusively use hand-selected wood in a variety of species (including reclaimed white oak, new oak, mahogany, eastern white pine, and others) and American-made steel with a powder coating that we add for additional resilience.
5. Choose a partner that will advocate for your vision and has expertise in horses.
While a custom builder may be artful with metal and wood, they may not understand horses and the unique characteristics of the equestrian world. Your partner needs to be an expert in both luxury, high-quality craftsmanship and the care of horses. Your investment in stall fronts will be of the highest quality as a result.
How to Move Forward with Building Your Dream Stall Fronts
Taking the time to research what you want and how it will benefit your horses will result in durable design that’s beautiful for everyone to experience. If you’re ready to bring in an expert to assess the unique qualities of your barn, Blackwood’s experienced team can help you decide what will be best for your custom horse stalls. Contact us today to get started.