No doubt you keep your horse’s stall tidy and free of hazards, but occasionally—for a show at the fairgrounds, for example, or an overnight stay at an equine ?motel?—your horse will need to stay in unfamiliar surroundings. Before you put him into a new space, even temporarily, you’ll want to ensure that it’s as safe as possible.
First, do an inspection, remembering that if there’s something sharp in a stall, a horse will probably find a way to cut himself on it. If the area is not well lit, use a flashlight to examine the walls, door, window and corners for protruding nails or staples, and rub your hand along the surfaces as you go. Use a hammer to remove any protruding metalware you find, being careful not to drop it into the bedding.
Also check for loose or weak boards that could break or shift and trap a hoof. If the stall has a Dutch or sliding door, see if the backside has been damaged by pawing. Next, inspect the stall?s hardware. Does the door operate smoothly and latch tightly? If there’s a tie ring, is it attached to the wall firmly?
Finally, focus on the stall?s floor. A pitted or uneven surface could cause leg strain if it forces a horse to stand unevenly. Likewise, hard ground can cause a horse to ?stock up,? a swelling of the legs technically known as stagnation edema. Of course, the long-term solution for a floor problem is regrading and/or installing mats, but as a stopgap, holes can be filled in with dirt or gravel. Also provide extra bedding for added cushion and comfort.
When you’re done with your inspection, remedy the problems you can on the spot. But if you discover serious structural flaws, find alternative lodging for your horse.