What Are the Best Quality Horse Stalls?
There's a lot of different variables to consider when you're looking at the value you're receiving from your horse stalls, from material and craftsmanship to the technical terms and various options. So where are you supposed to start? Here's a horse stall consumer guide to help pave the way to smarter purchasing decisions...
You cannot build a high-quality horse stall unless you start with high-quality material. What type of material is the horse stall system you're looking at being constructed from? Most stalls are either made out of aluminum or steel. Steel is three times denser than aluminum and it can be coated with zinc to protect it from rusting. At RAMM, we believe in building quality horse stalls, so that's why we start by building the "body" of horse stalls using heavy gauge quality steel with 7/8" steel bars for the grillwork.
The gauge refers to the thickness (therefore strength) of the steel used in construction. The lower the gauge number, the stronger the steel. RAMM uses 14-gauge steel on the body of horse stalls and 16-gauge steel on all the grillwork sections, which is superior in strength over most stall systems on the market.
Although aluminum is a common alloy material when manufacturing horse stalls, it is very lightweight and does not have the strength of steel. Aluminum stalls are resistant to corrosion, but incorrect welding can cause stress to the metal – which will appear fine on the surface, but will warp, crack, and/or break over time. Additionally, if your horse is repeatedly pushing and kicking on the stall, the aluminum will bend, shift, or even worse, crack (possibly injuring your horse).
Who's constructing your horse stalls? You will want a horse stall that will stand the test of time. Make sure the welds are on the inside of your horse stall for extra strength and safety. Are the stalls going to be deburred or will your horses have the chance cut themselves on a metal bur?
Welding is the fabrication or sculptural process that joins two pieces of usually metals or thermoplastics together, by causing coalescence. It’s usually accomplished by hot-melting both adjoining pieces and adding a filler material form a pool of molten material. It then cools to become/ensure a strong joint, with pressure sometimes used in conjunction with heat or by itself, to produce the weld.
At RAMM we use a system that we call our hidden welded system. We do our welds on the inside of each metal piece. We do this for stronger welds and also for the safety of your horses. This way your horses do not get cut on sharp weld burrs and then you have costly vet visits. Once RAMM horse stalls are assembled, they are sandblasted at the joints of the stall itself to eliminate all impurities. No matter where you’re buying your stalls from, be sure they are burr and bump-free; impurities can snag a horse’s lip or sensitive nose and cause injury!
*If you're thinking of becoming a welder, please visit WeldingTech.net; they provide information on how to get started in each state. They also have a great glossary of welding terms with new resources added weekly!
"To become a welder in Ohio, you must be interested in working with a variety of tools, be able to stand on your feet for long periods of time, and be able to handle sometimes dangerous work environments." - Welding Tech
Click here to apply to be a welder at RAMM in Swanton, OH.
To gain a better idea of the life expectancy of your horse stall, you will want to take a look at the finish. Hot-dip galvanized horse stalls provide the lowest maintenance horse stalls available. Galvalume and powder-coated finishes are great for protection against rust as well, however, painted stalls will need to be touched up as time goes on because... horses will be horses:
- Hot-dip galvanization is a process in which a thick coating of zinc is applied to steel (usually more than necessary) to make sure the whole thing is covered. It acts as a barrier to oxidation and will last indefinitely. This process is superior because it coats the steel inside and out. If you're looking for a low-maintenance finish, this is the optimal way to go. RAMM Stalls: Nobleman, Tuscany, Dublin, Oxford, & Cambridge series
The Appearance of Hot-Dip Galvanized Zinc Coating
- Electrogalvanization is another process in which a thinner layer of zinc is applied to the steel to ward off any oxidation (leading to rust) by a process called electroplating. Electroplating is a plating process in which metal ions in a solution are moved by an electric field to coat an electrode. The process uses electrical current to reduce cations of a desired material from a solution and coat a conductive object with a thin layer of the material, such as a metal. This provides excellent rust protection on the outside of the metal, but it will not last as long as material that has been hot-dip galvanized. If there is any (what we call) "white rust" or a powder substance from weathering you can wipe it right off with a rag or scotch pad. This is caused by the zinc coating protecting your steel; it will not rust like your standard hot-rolled material with carbon in it. RAMM Stalls: Essex & Derby series
- Powder coating is a type of paint coating that is typically applied to metals as a free-flowing, dry powder – offering a beautiful finish. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a "skin". The powder may be a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer. It is usually used to create a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint.
- There are also other ways horse stalls can be painted, but are not advised:
- Paint dipping is when an item is dipped into a large vat of paint.
- Paint placement is not as precise and a lower-grade paint is used than in powder coating. Due to the nature of this process, runs in the paint can and may occur.
- Spray painting is another process where the material is sprayed with paint. When spray painted, the material only adheres to the surface of the metal and is more likely to chip off when anything contacts it. Additionally, because paint placement is not as precise, a lower-grade paint is used than in powder coating.
This is the best possible powder coating process to finish horse stalls in and is highly recommended by RAMM; we believe in quality. After we assemble each part of a horse stall, it's then sandblasted to get rid of any impurities on the metal. After our stalls are hot-dipped and allowed to dry, we spray each piece with a powder-coating primer, allow it to bake halfway, and then finish with a specially blended grade of paint. Our curing process provides the most durable finish for your stall and is three times longer than most standard powder-coatings used on the market today! RAMM Stalls: Nobleman, Tuscany, Shetland, Dublin, Oxford, & Cambridge series
- There are also other ways horse stalls can be painted, but are not advised:
*Please note, even with the best rust protection and powder-coated paint finishes, some rusting is inevitable. Minor touch-ups will eventually be necessary at weld joints to prevent rust and to keep your horse stalls looking like new.
Does your horse stall system offer options that will cater to your horse(s)? Many horse stall systems have different doors and feed options to choose from. You can read Debbie's article to learn more about RAMM's horse stall options.
- Door Options: Doors are important to every stall because they are the entry/exit point for both horses and humans. Each door has its own function and style.
- Feed Options: Different feed options are available to make barn chores more efficient. They replace a few grill bars and voila, easier to feed your horse!
How long has the company been in business? How is their online/social media reviews? Are you're getting what you expect and deserve? Be sure to do your due diligence to ensure you are not purchasing from a shady company. There are many horror stories of people spending thousands of dollars, only for them to replace them the following (or even the same) year. Here are some important questions you should consider when purchasing horse stalls:
- What reputation does the company have?
- How long has the company served the horse industry?
- Can the company put you in touch with satisfied customers?
- Have the company's horse stalls been field-tested?
- Can the company's staff help you through your project, from planning to completion?
Rest-assured, at RAMM you will find both product quality and customer service are second-to-none; providing equestrians with safer solutions for their horses for over 30 years! RAMM's expert, horse-friendly staff is dedicated to helping you find the best horse stall products available for both your situation and budget. We can't wait to learn about your horses and discover what will help them live in a safer environment. If you purchase a horse stall from RAMM, expect to receive the best quality product at an affordable price, backed by industry-leading service. We use all of the latest technology and best tradespeople as resources to make sure your hard-earned dollars are invested in a stall for years to come. Call today at 1-800-434-6293.
We welcome you to join the community on social media @rammfence! Suggestions and conversations are always invited so RAMM can continue to improve the safety of horses and equestrians alike.