All horses need to be able to rest their feet, take a load off occasionally. For Albert, this has become nearly impossible, because he can’t get up from the ground any longer. This must be hard on him and frustrating, too. He used to love to roll. Not a half-roll, but a full roll. He’s never been a horse that has reclined often, but now he hasn’t much of a choice.
With his recent leg and foot problems, the need to get some relief from his weight is key to his recovery. Recently, our vet suggested that we build him a stall stool, a place where he can sit down and rest his legs. One of her clients with an older horse built such a stool, and it’s been of great benefit.
This past weekend, my husband and I set out to build a chair of sorts for Albert. I searched the web for more detailed instructions but found nothing. Maybe there are other old horses who could use a stool, thus this long post describing exactly what we did and how.
We started with this:
and finished with this:
Here’s how we got there.
2 eight-foot 2 x10s (cut in half at Lowe’s and cut again at the barn)
2 1/2 inch exterior wood screws (1 box)
1 inch foam (cut to fit bench seat)
Foam spray glue
Fabric spray glue
Muslin fabric for inside cover of cushion
Indoor-outdoor fabric for outside cover of cushion
Total cost: less than $100 (my awesome mother-in-law gave us fabric and foam for the cushion.)
Total time: 7-10 hours
Description: This is a simple corner stool made with 2 x 10s. The purpose is to give our a horse a place to rest for short periods that allows him to easily transfer his weight up and down.
Step 1: Take Measurements. Select which corner of your horse’s stall to build the stool. Take two measurements to be sure the seat will fit into the corner.
The most important measurement you need is how high the stool should stand. Our vet suggested that the seat hit six inches below the end of Albert’s butt, where his hamstring muscles start. Measure from the ground to this point. That’s the height of the seat. Albert measured 37 inches from the ground to this muscle group. With the foam cushion his chair actually sits 39 inches high, but we’re expecting that his weight will compress the foam.
Step 2: Purchase and gather all of your materials for the bench and the cushion. Some questions to answer while you’re planning, before you purchase materials:
*Are there stalls on either side of your horse’s stall? Select screws that will hold your bench but won’t break through to the other side.
*Do you have a power source to plug into or enough battery-juice for your tools to complete the project?
*How will you cushion the bench?
Step 3: Cut the boards for the seat and the sides. Dry fit the pieces into the stall.
Step 4: Secure the boards in place. Each of the side boards is screwed to a corner wall with 3 rows of 3 2-inch screws. The seat is made from two boards cut to fit the corner then wood-glued and screwed together. There are two scrap pieces on top of the seat keep it stable.
Step 5: Add padding and cover. There are countless ways to cushion the bench. We chose to make a cushion with foam and indoor-outdoor fabric. We cut the foam pad to-fit using 1 inch foam, batting, and indoor-outdoor fabric. We made a cushion, then stapled the cushion to the bench, then added board scraps to strengthen the union between the cushion and bench AND to cover the staples. These photos show the progression of cutting, fitting, binding, and attaching the cushion. We had a little trouble getting the fabric perfectly smoothed out. Also, this is an indoor-outdoor fabric, so we can wipe it down no prob.
The key question: Will Albert use the bench? I went out this morning to check on him, and when I got there Albert was already turned out in his recovery-paddock (aka the round pen). But looky here:
Well, what do you think? Have you seen other stall stools? I’d love to hear about them. If you have pictures of a stool you’ve built or questions or suggestions or ideas, I’d love to hear them.
My awesome husband, Bubba, did all of the math, measuring, and making of this bench! I was his assistant and the official photographer. A great outcome of this project: not only does Albert now have a place to lean and rest, but I got to spend the entire weekend Friday – Sunday, every hour in there with my husband. That’s a rare and wonderful treat.! (Thank you, my baby.)
Ok, one last pic.