Finding the right stall front doors for your barn comes down to much more than appearance. Stall gates contain your horse, improve airflow, and promote relaxation. Many horses enjoy looking out their stall door and interacting with friends as their heads are able to rest in natural positions. If you are building a horse barn or renovating your current design, check out our handy guide to help you determine the perfect stall front doors based on your needs and preferences.

Stall Door Design 101

You will need to consider two main types of stall doors - sliding and swinging. If you are considering regular stall gates, they typically swing into the aisle way rather than slide. The most common materials include steel and wood. Depending on your taste and your horses’ behaviors, you can decide between a yoke or a straight style.

Types of Stall Doors

Sliding vs. Swinging

Sliding doors are fantastic space savers but are not as commonly found and do not present a classic, European aesthetic. Swinging, or hinged doors, require much more aisle room to open fully but are very popular for stall gates.

Steel vs. Wood

Both materials are found in a variety of stall gates and doors. While wood is a classic choice, it can be expensive and might need replacing down the road if not properly cared for. Steel with a powder coating is made to last and can provide greater ventilation.

Stall Door vs. Gate

Stall doors are generally the full height of the stall, whereas gates can be the same size or smaller. Some gates can even be installed in addition to a door, in case you want options for your horse to be completely closed in or be able to hang their head into the aisle way. If your horse leans too heavily on gates or enjoys escaping, a full-sized door might be their safer bet.

Yoke vs Straight Stall Gate

Yoke vs. Straight

If your horse tends to bite people or other animals, an elegant yoke design is not for them. You do not want to give your horse the opportunity to stick its head out unless it can safely relax and socialize with its neighbors.

Key Considerations for Choosing a Stall Door

Key Considerations for Choosing a Stall Door

There are a few key considerations for choosing a stall door to ensure a safe and happy horse.

Durability and Longevity

Most stall doors maintain their integrity as long as they are well cared for. Heavy-duty steel tubing should not dent very much, but horses can get their hooves caught if the bars are not built vertically. On the other hand, wood doors might be tempting for some horses to crib on and can collect even more dust. Analyze your horse’s behaviors and determine the amount of work you want to put in when maintaining your barn.

Safety Features

Swinging doors can be significantly more dangerous than sliding doors. Stall doors that hinge consume precious aisleway space and can even blow right off if the wind is strong enough. Plus, your horse is less likely to catch themselves on sliding doors since the stall opening is completely free for them to walk through, as long as the latch hardware is not in the way. This design also grants better locking mechanisms where horses cannot push or play with the latch, setting themselves free.

Ventilation and Airflow

If you need maximum airflow, especially with low ceilings, horses with breathing issues, or hot, humid weather, ventilated steel gates are the way to go, especially with a yoke design. Wood doors can make your stalls feel stuffy.

Accessibility and Ease of Use

Sliding doors are increasingly convenient since you can simply roll them out of the way instead of always ensuring you lead your horse in the correct hand without their blankets or tack getting caught on latches. Additionally, Hinged doors must be installed an inch or so above the ground, preventing them from getting stuck when swung open.

Aesthetics and Barn Style

Depending on the style of your barn, you might want an elegant yoke wood and steel door. If you are building on a budget, simple steel gates might be a sufficient choice for optimal safety and convenience.

Maintenance Requirements

Wood and steel doors require little maintenance if you routinely care for them. Again, you should regularly clean off any dust and inspect for rot, rust, dents, or holes.

Stall Door Hardware

Stall Door Hardware

You might need to add plenty of hardware to your horse’s stall. You will likely want hooks and accessories that hold your horse’s buckets, salt blocks off the ground, and tie rings in case you need to tie your horse in their stall. Stall cards are also handy for displaying your horse’s feed schedule or hang vet and farrier bills. To help you determine everything you really need, we created this valuable guide about all the basic horse stall requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stall Gates and Doors

What is the standard size of a stall door?

The standard size of stall doors for horses is usually 48" wide and 84" to 96" tall.

How wide should a horse stall gate be?

A stall gate for horses should be about 48" to 52" wide to accommodate most aisleways.

How tall should a stall gate be?

Tall gates for horses should be the following heights:

  • 24" tall gates, or "short gates," work well for ponies if hung well above the ground.
  • 32" tall gates, called "miniature gates," are perfect for miniature ponies, so they can still look over the gate and not sneak out.
  • 38" tall standard straight gate without a yoke works for most horses or ponies.
  • 42" tall gates with yokes are great for any type of horse, including drop-down yokes for a horse who may bite when others walk by and need to keep their head inside the stall.