My barn is built in such a way as to have a small 31/2 -inch step-up into the stalls. The stalls have a concrete floor slanted toward that step. The elevation allows for a small accumulation of manure. The slant helps urine to drain to the back of the stall and onto the floor below, keeping their beds mostly dry. I clean the stalls at least once per day. The curb makes for a good shovel stop. The stalls, by design, keep the animals clean.
I have used dirt floors in the past with this stall design; it works just fine too. I have built a raised platform floor built from hardwood lumber. This design keeps them a bit cleaner than the dirt or clay floor but needs to be replaced as the wood rots. Urine also accumulates under the floor, aiding the rotting process and adding to unpleasant barn odors. I choose concrete for durability and cleanliness. I cover the stall floor with a rubber mat and bed with sawdust or straw.
I build my stalls either single or double. The double stalls work quite well for harnessing, grooming, etc. The only downside is if one of the horses doesn’t stay on his side or hates its stall partner. Recently, I acquired a pair of mares. One of these girls is especially light in the rear end during her heat cycle. Correction has helped her mind, but building single stalls keeps everyone safe even when I’m not there.
Size of the stalls is very important. The width for drafts should be 5 feet. A wider stall will encourage them to roll, risking the chance that they will cast (go down and get hung up) in the stall, leading to injury or even death. I build my double stalls 10 feet wide. This gives each horse enough room. They don’t seem to roll in them due to the other horse being there, I guess. I can only say that using a double stall has not been a problem for me, especially when it comes to a pair of geldings who know each other and work together often.
The depth of the stall from manger to the back of the stall is not quite as critical. I like to have mine fit the horse so that, as they make their manure, it falls off that step I mentioned earlier. When I had large, 18- hand, Percheron horses, I wanted 7 feet from manger to the back of the stall. This worked well for most of them, but there is always that one horse who will hunches up upon defecation and eliminates in his bed.
Upon recently switching to Suffolk Punch horses, I found that my stalls were just a bit too long for them. They would all make their manure right on the ledge at the back of the stall. This makes a mess and even builds a sort of dam, preventing the urine from draining off, too. I completely rebuilt my tie stalls with all of the aforementioned items taken into consideration.
I decided to build all single stalls. I built one for our stallion prospect with the center divider a bit higher than the rest. I added a few extra braces and screws in his stall where it made sense. I don’t see him as being a problem, but wanted to make sure that, just in case youth and testosterone get the best of him, my building would exceed his behavior.
I kept the stall width the same 5 feet as with my other drafts and found it to be perfect. The length however, I shortened by a foot. So, my Suffolk stalls measure 5 feet wide by 6 feet long. I just widened the mangers to push them back in the stall toward the manure curb. It has been a couple of months, and the new stalls are working out very well. The mangers are deep, with no false bottom in them instead going all the way to the floor. This makes cleaning them easy. They hold a lot of hay this way, too.