How to Build a Wash Rack for Horses

"That water is cold! It's a good thing I can't escape from it."
"That water is cold! It's a good thing I can't escape from it." (Image: Alexia Khruscheva/iStock/Getty Images)

An equine wash rack provides a safe environment for bathing and grooming horses while keeping them contained. Crushed rock topped with rubber stall mats provide much better footing than soil that gets muddy or concrete that gets slick. Materials for a wash rack must stand up to the weather and water to make it a long-lasting project that you can utilize for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • 8 landscape timbers (4-inch-square-by-12-feet long)
  • 5/8-inch crushed rock
  • Tamper
  • 6 interlocking 4-by-6 foot rubber stall mats
  • Ladder
  • 4 galvanized pipes (1/2-inch-by-6 feet long)
  • Post hole driver
  • Drill
  • 4 lag screw hooks (1/4-inch-by-3 3/4-inch long)
  • Pliers
  • 3 plastic coated chain lengths (12-feet long)
  • 6 interlocking 4-by-6 foot rubber stall mats

Measure a 12-square-foot area with a measuring tape and mark the corners by pressing a shovel into the ground. Excavate the grass and soil out of the marked area to a depth of about 4 inches deep.

Place four landscape timbers into the excavated area in a square on the edges of the depression. Fill the area between the landscape timbers with 5/8 inch crushed rock to about 1/2 inch below the landscape timbers' tops.

Press the crushed rock down with a tamper. Place six interlocking 4-by-6-foot rubber stall mats on top of the rock. Turn the mats to cover the entire area of the rock with the 6-foot sides next to each other in a pattern of two mats wide and three mats long.

Place a ladder near one corner of the wash rack. Lean a 1/2-inch-by-6-foot long galvanized pipe against the ladder. Climb the ladder and have a friend hand you the post hole driver and hold the ladder. Place the pipe on the ground just outside of the landscape timber corner. Drive the pipe into the ground with the post hole driver until about 4 feet of the pipe remains above ground. Install the remaining three corner posts in the same manner as the first.

Drill a 1/4-inch hole in each corner post with a drill about 3 inches from the top. Insert a 1/4-inch-by-3 3/4-inch long lag screw into each hole and turn them clockwise to pliers. Insert the lag screws until the threads are entirely in the post and the curve of the screw is facing the ground.

Hang the three plastic coated 12-foot lengths of chain between three of the posts to form a U-shape; leave one side open to enter and exit the wash rack.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose a location for your wash rack that is near a water source and is on high ground to promote drainage.
  • Hang a bucket with a hook on the plastic-coated chain and add bathing and grooming supplies to it so they are within reach.

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