Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dividing a Stall for a Mini

Since I have a three stall barn and what I affectionately refer to as "two and a half horses," it was handy to split up the third stall so I could still use it for storage. The mini donkey, Dominick, has the back half of the stall with access to the dry lot via the Dutch door. The front of the stall contains two pallets for short-term hay storage (I typically bring in 5-6 bales at a time), a tub of PDZ, a few bags of bedding at any given time, and of course a container of donkey treats. Dominick has more than enough room in his 6x12 stall, and I get to keep my hay and other stuff out of the aisle.

This project required the following:

  • 4' mesh livestock gate from Tractor Supply
  • Pressure-treated 4x4s, one long enough to span the width of the stall plus another to act as your gate post and overhead support (if needed)
  • Pine 2x6s
  • Three different types of metal brackets to anchor the ends of the 4x4s (to each other and the wall) and the 2x6s (to the 4x4s and the wall). You may find them in the decking or fencing materials section labeled as post caps or post to beam brackets (for the 4x4s) or fence brackets (for the boards). They look something like this:

The gate was the most expensive component, but if you're handy you could build your own wooden gate. I think the total cost for all the materials came to around $100.

This is what we did:

  1. Measure 6' from the back wall on each side wall. 
  2. Measure the width of the stall between those points and cut a pressure-treated 4x4 to fit.
  3. Secure the base 4x4 to the side wall at each end, using the metal brackets.
  4. Hang the gate on one side wall. We had to buy extra long bolts to reach through the kick boards of both stalls, secure them on the other side with nuts, and grind the ends down flush with the bolts to make it safe for the horse next door.
  5. Position the next 4x4 on the latch side of the gate, and secure it vertically to the horizontal 4x4, using one of those post to beam brackets.
  6. The vertical 4x4 will lack stability unless you anchor it to either the ceiling or the wall, using a cross-beam. We used a board to anchor this one to the wall at the front of the stall, leaving plenty of room for us to walk under without ducking. This stabilized the vertical 4x4 completely.
  7. Measure and cut the horizontal boards to fit the gap between the vertical 4x4 and the far wall. Mount them with the fence brackets. The wall will need additional support, so add two diagonal boards and probably also one vertical board in the middle. These can most likely by attached with simple wood screws. Now you're done!
When the boys are inside, this is often the first sight to greet me when I walk into the barn, usually accompanied by a loud bray. :-) Instant cheer.

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