Is your horse’s stall trying to hurt your horse?
- The first thing you will learn as a horse owner is that horses love to remove parts of their bodies on things in their stalls and also out in the open. Here’s a list of a few things to keep your eye out for, to hopefully minimize the things that can make you call the Vet.
Keep your horse’s stall vented and fresh!
Check all of the construction in your horse’s stall for wayward nails and screws.
- Ideally, all nails and screws will be countersunk – meaning they are into the wood and beyond. Alternatively, screws could be rounded. Unrounded screws can poke out just enough to do some damage. Your inspection might find some nails and screws that can be banged in or twisted in.
This screw has disappeared into the wood. No chance of it poking your horse, I hope.
Look out for the edges of boards, especially the boards around doors, windows, and any favorite boards for butt rubbing.
- Rounded edges are best. Areas that your horse chews (ACK!!) also tend to have sharp edges that can end up inside your horse. Awesome. Quick tip – a bar of strong soap can help repel your horse when you rub the delicious areas of the stall with the bar.
Splinters caused by chewed-up wood are bad for your horse’s mouth and digestive tract.
It’s always a good idea to strip your horse’s stall
- When you have that stall 100% empty you can inspect the intersection between the wall and mats/floor for issues.
- Depending on the construction of your barn, you may find that moist or wet shavings have caused some damage around the base of your stall. This is likely not a problem unless you have a stall that has started to rust. Rusty pieces are pokey, and not good for your barn. Also not good for your horse.
- Make sure the mats are doing their job. Warped mats can be uncomfortable for your horse and can cause you to trip. I would write more about this, but I’d really rather not think about the tedium that is moving mats, leveling the ground, and replacing mats.
Light bulbs are best in safety cages.
Take a detailed look at the electrical systems in your horse’s stall.
- Ideally, an electrician will check on the safety of the wiring in the barn. Also, be sure that fans are working and dust-free. Outlets and switches are covered, and the lighting in your barn is covered by some sort of protection. Bulbs can be in cages, and long tube-like lighting is housed in a covering.
- Make sure the stall is well ventilated. Airflow is critical – even in the coldest temperatures. This is a must for respiratory health, remembering that a horse’s dining room s also his bathroom. Taking steps to eliminate ammonia involved treating the stall floor with a zeolite product, and making sure the air stays flowing. Vents are an option, as are windows.
No noses are allowed to get into snaps. Keep the buckle down and this likely won’t happen.
Check that the water lines into the stall are working, insulated, and free of rust.
- These lines can either feed automatic waterers, or they can be used to fill water buckets. Speaking of buckets – make sure their attachment to the wall has no scratchy edges, and that snaps are attached with the snappy opening down, away from noses.
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What else do you need to watch out for in your horse’s stall or shelter?