At Sustainable Stables, one of our guiding principles is to design equestrian facilities that enable healthy, social interaction between horses, along with regular, natural movement. That being said, we believe that stalls have a place in this model. How stalls fit into the design and management of your farm will be dictated by a number of factors that must be thoughtfully considered.
Rather than reinventing the wheel, I encourage you to read this article published in the Horse, entitled To Stall or Not to Stall, that does a terrific job of providing a comprehensive overview of the factors one should consider when choosing whether, and how often, to stall your horse.
I also recommend you read this article from Equus entitled Does Your Horse Need a Roommate. The article summarizes a study in which horses were placed in four living scenarios: housed alone, housed alone with semi contact, paired housing with full contact, and group housing. The horses kept together in group housing had the lowest levels of stress indicators. The more isolated the living conditions, the more stress level indicators increased. The researchers concluded that “incorporating social contact into the housing design of domestic horses could improve the standard of domestic equine welfare.”
At Sustainable Stables, we’re here to help you determine what role stalls should play for your specific equestrian facility.