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How Big Should A Stall Be For A Draft Horse?

By Paige Cerulli Created: October, 2022 - Modified: September, 2023

Depending on your horsekeeping practices, your horse may spend 10 or more hours a day in his stall.

What is the Right Draft Horse Stall Size?

If you look at most barns, you’ll find 10x10, 10x12, and 12x12 foot stalls. While these stalls are suitable for many horses and ponies, chances are they’re too small for your draft horse.

Keep in mind that the size of the stall directly affects not only your horse’s comfort, but also your horse’s safety. A stall that is too small for a horse may discourage the horse from lying down, and that horse could lose out on quality sleep and even start to experience the effects of sleep deprivation.

A too-small stall can also increase your horse’s risk of being cast if he does lay down. A cast horse that is stuck against one of the stall walls will need assistance in getting up, and could get injured in the process.

horse standing in stall

Determining the right size stall will largely depend on the size of your horse.

The draft-type Haflinger, for instance, often stands between 14 and 15 hands. This shorter, compact horse can fit quite well into a 12x12 stall.

But if you have a Shire, Clydesdale, Percheron, or Belgian, your horse is significantly taller and longer than a Haflinger. You will need to choose a stall size that offers your horse the extra space he will need to turn around and lie down comfortably.

In the case of a larger draft breed like those above, a 12x14, 12x16, 12x18, or 12x20 foot stall can provide the extra length to keep your horse comfortable. Opting for an even larger stall, like a 14x14, 14x16, 14x20, or even a 16x16 is even better, since your horse will enjoy increased room both lengthwise and widthwise.

  • 12x14 - good choice

  • 12x16 - good choice

  • 12x18 - good choice

  • 12x20 - good choice

  • 14x14 - better choice

  • 14x16 - better choice

  • 14x20 - better choice

  • 16x16 - better choice

That extra space can pay off with healthier, happier, better-rested horses. You may also find that it’s easier to clean these larger stalls, because the horses aren’t forced to turn small circles and grind the bedding down.

Designing Your Barn for a Draft Horse

If you’re planning to build a barn, it’s important to consider the types of horses that it will house. In a situation where you plan to have multiple draft horses, it’s important to determine the ideal draft horse stall size for your horses, and then build the barn to suit that size.

draft horse in a barn stall

Some barn owners stick with standard 12x12 foot stalls, but design the stalls so that the dividing walls can be easily removed, converting a stall into a 12x24 foot space. This type of design can be ideal if you don’t know the size of the horses that you will have, such as in a boarding barn situation.

Don’t forget to also consider the height of your ceilings when designing a barn for a draft horse. Your ceilings should leave plenty of room for the tallest horse in your barn to fully raise his head and not be close to the ceiling, light fixtures, or other elements.

Once you have determined your stall size, you might opt to purchase prefabricated stall kits, or custom-build your stalls by hand. Kits tend to cost a bit more, but they can save you valuable time, especially if you’re trying to quickly get your barn built.

It’s also important to focus on your stall flooring. Starting with a base like dirt or crushed stone can give you a firm foundation, though some barn owners prefer a concrete base for its flat, even finish.

Regardless of the base that you use, installing appropriate stall mats will make caring for all of your horses much easier and more efficient. Stall mats create a flat surface that horses can’t dig down into, which makes for faster stall cleaning.

horse stall mats in horse barn

You can also save on bedding costs, since stall mats prevent your bedding from mixing with sand or dirt, so you throw out less. Don’t forget the savings you’ll see on staff time, especially in larger barns with many stalls to clean daily.

Most importantly, stall mats offer your horses comfort and safety. They offer shock absorption in case of a slip, and they can help to buffer your horse from a cold concrete subfloor.

If you want to install stall mats, one of the easiest options is to purchase one of our horse stall kits. These kits include mats that are sized to interlock together and fit your stall’s dimensions.

As a result, installation is fast and easy, and there’s no need to worry about cutting mats to size. These kits are available in standard dimensions like 12x12 and 16x16, but custom kit sizes are also available to ensure the perfect fit.