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JUNE/JULY 2013 Miniature Horse World 69 ■ Your horse should be much calmer if he can see that there are other horses in the adjacent stalls. ■ Air quality; both for better respiration and for air flow in a warm barn. ■ Visibility for prospective buyers or other exhibitors to see your horse or to notice if your horse is in trouble. A quick and seemingly easy fix for this problem is to purchase a portable stall front or stall guard. And there are stall guards that are readily available on the market today, but there can be some drawbacks to contend with. The easiest stall guard to find for purchase is made of cotton or nylon webbing. Typically, these are totally unsuitable. The gregarious nature and Houdini skills of most Miniatures make escaping under this type of guard a piece of cake. A solid stall guard that is placed chest high could hold in your average size mini, but unless the guard is from floor to chest high, babies or smaller minis could lie down, roll and get under them. There are several readymade options that can be purchased at a feed, farm or tack store. Tube gates are available in several different sizes, priced from $89 to $109, but there are drawbacks to these as well. Depending on the horse, the spaces between the tubes could be wide enough for a small horse to put his head through, which can spell disaster if the horse doesn’t realize how to escape and panics. The gate could be covered with mesh or wire to be mini friendly. This would add to the expense and you should also consider the weight of the gates when customizing. If you are carrying several of them to and from your stall at the show, you’ll want them to be as portable and lightweight as possible. Tammi Nuttall from Winning Ways Training Stables suggests a customized model. Her gates are made from welded wire, with smaller sections at the bottom to prevent a wayward hoof from being caught. The gates are made from cattle panel that is cut down and framed. The top of the gates have larger squares and the bottom section is welded closer together, to keep a horse’s hooves from getting caught when they lay down. These gates are held up or fastened inside the stall doorway by bungy cords, strap ties or tied with wire or ropes.  Tammi has not had any horses try to jump over her stall guards, but if she is suspicious they might, she will either stay close by to watch them or if she has to leave, she will close the stall door. Some of her gates are made slightly taller to accommodate her taller horses. Finding these custom made gates may be tricky, but anyone who welds could possibly construct a suitable copy of the ones shown here. The walk thru gate style is typically a bit more expensive, but well worth the extra cost in light of how many times you will be opening and closing the door of the stall. Some owners find it easier to step over the solid gate, which can be taxing for some with shorter legs! Keeping safety your ultimate priority should lead you to a finished product that will be portable, yet sturdy enough to corral your gregarious mini. In closing, Tammi shares why she feels a stall guard is an essential piece of equipment. “One of the most important things to me is that my horses are happy. When we are at home my horses can see out, socialize with other horses and with me. When we are at a show for several days at a time, I don’t want them getting depressed. I feel certain they don’t perform nearly as well in the ring for me if they aren’t relaxed and happy. I look at it this way; would you want to stare at four high walls in a stall day in day out? I don’t and I know my horses wouldn’t either. A happy horse performs better and when they are happy, their owners are happy too!”


Miniature_Horse_World_JuneJuly
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