This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
The panelling itself should be of strong wood, such as oak or pitch-pine, and of 1 1/2, 2, or 2 1/2 inches thickness, according to the strength of the horses to be provided for. The generally accepted method is to fix the boarding vertically, but it is sometimes preferred that the boards should run horizontally, in which case they should be secured at head of stall into a channel iron made for the purpose. A strong form of division is one in which two layers of sheeting are used, laid vertically on one side and horizontally on the other.
Should horses break loose they would be at liberty to roam where fancy took them. To avoid this, which might prove dangerous, especially if it occurred at night-time, drawbars (Fig. 37), one or two in number, are provided, which slide into hollow bars used as middle rails in the stall divisions, and drop into a slot flush with the wall, so completely enclosing the horse in his stall. Fig. 38 gives an illustration of an iron framework division filled in with glazed brick instead of wood, and finished with cement. This would be easily kept clean, but would probably suffer much from a kicking horse.
To protect the wood at foot of stall, special mats or corrugated indiarubber buffers are sometimes provided and fixed to the boarding.
Fittings used for loose-boxes should follow in design those used for stall divisions. The top rail, however, should be kept horizontal, whilst the middle rail might be lower on the passage side. In any case the ventilating panel in the door could with advantage be kept lower, so that the groom might have an easy view of the inside of the box. The door should be at least 3 feet 8 inches wide, and may be made to slide, swing, or open outwards, the last being the most usual. As has been said already, a loose-box is at least 10 feet wide and 12 feet or more long. Tired or sick horses are placed in them, and where hunters and racing horses are kept they are provided each with its own loose-box.
These loose-boxes form a range of their own, or are in conjunction with stalls. In the former case the doors would open in front of the box, and in the latter would probably be placed at an angle of 45 degrees, one of the angle posts thus serving the purpose of heel post to the stall division. A sick-box should, correctly speaking, have no connection with the stable, but should be kept apart, so as to give the occupant complete quietness; and whenever possible it is desirable that this should be done.
A point to be considered in connection with looseboxes is the means of latching the door in such a manner that it will not open to any amount of " nosing" from the horse inside, and yet may be easily worked by the attendant outside; whilst at the same time, - like everything in the stable, - it should give as little projection as possible which would tend to injure or annoy the horse. Fig. 39 shows a latch made by the St. Pancras Ironwork Company, which appears to fulfil the conditions required, as it is perfectly flush when open; but on the door closing the latch automatically enters the striking plate, and can only be opened by the handle on the outside.
Many devices have been designed for converting two stalls into a loose-box, and vice versa). They all leave something to be desired, but still are useful fittings where no loose-box is provided for, as is the case in many stable buildings. Fig. 40 shows various forms, firstly, where the heel post a is movable and the partition swings back against manger, thus forming a useless space. The partition b is a fixture with its post and door.
In the second case, post c turns in slots at top and bottom, and the dividing partition slides through and forms a loose-box, the door to which is found in the right-hand side division. This would be only convenient where there is passage space on to which the door might open. When the door would more conveniently open on the front, the third scheme may be adopted, when, for conversion into stalls, the door is hinged back against the division, as shown by dotted lines, and the remainder is run through the groove of post. The fourth scheme, adopted by Messrs. Musgrave & Co., is one where the various portions of panelling are hinged to the iron posts, and revolve into the positions for which they are needed, as indicated by dotted lines. The mangers or feeding places are now usually made of iron, but in some country places it is still preferred to construct them of wood, with a piece of hoop iron fixed over the front edge to prevent what is known as crib-biting. Wood is said to convey infection from one horse to another. Fig. 41 gives a section of such a manger made of 2-inch oak with round edges, and is 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep. The mangers are carried the full width across head of stall, being divided into one, two, or three compartments, with or without a hay-rack. A single pan manger is shown in Fig. 42, fitted with two bars on which revolve rollers to prevent the food being tossed out. These are used for cart horses, as are also mangers of cast-iron framework with movable pans of galvanised steel (Fig. 43).