Title:
Stall apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stall apparatus and method according to which a stall module includes a plurality of panels and support members.



Inventors:
Vincent, George H. (Sulphur, LA, US)
Vincent, Matthew L. (Sulphur, LA, US)
Application Number:
11/155145
Publication Date:
12/22/2005
Filing Date:
06/17/2005
Assignee:
Century Group, L.L.C. (Sulphur, LA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A01K1/00; A47K3/16; (IPC1-7): A47K3/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MAI, LANNA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAYNES AND BOONE, LLP (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A stall apparatus comprising: a first stall module comprising: a plurality of panels wherein each panel is connected to at least one other panel adjacent thereto; and a plurality of first support members wherein each of the first support members comprises a first channel therein within which at least one panel in the plurality of panels at least partially extends.

2. The stall apparatus of claim 1 wherein each connection between each pair of adjacent panels defines an internal corner; and wherein each first support member is associated with the internal corner defined by a corresponding pair of adjacent panels wherein each first support member further comprises a second channel therein wherein one panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the first channel and the other panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the second channel.

3. The stall apparatus of claim 2 wherein the first stall module further comprises optionally at least one second support member comprising a third channel therein, wherein the at least one second support member is adapted to be positioned between two first support members so that one panel in the plurality of panels at least partially extends within the third channel of the at least one second support member.

4. The stall apparatus of claim 3 wherein the first stall module further comprises optionally at least one shim disposed between the one panel in the plurality of panels and the at least one second support member if present.

5. The stall apparatus of claim 3 wherein the at least one second support member and the first support members are each composed of concrete.

6. The stall apparatus of claim 2 wherein the first stall module is adapted to function as a horse stall and wherein each panel is composed of concrete.

7. The stall apparatus of claim 2 wherein the first stall module further comprises optionally at least one shim disposed between at least one first support member and the corresponding at least one panel in the plurality of panels.

8. The stall apparatus of claim 2 wherein the first stall module is freestanding.

9. The stall apparatus of claim 2 further comprising a second stall module removably connected to the first stall module wherein at least one panel in the plurality of panels of the first stall module is shared by the first and second stall modules so that at least two first support members of the first stall module are shared by the first and second stall modules.

10. The stall apparatus of claim 9 wherein the first and second stall modules are arranged in a configuration selected from the group consisting of a back-to-back configuration and a side-to-side configuration.

11. The stall apparatus of claim 9 wherein the first and second stall modules are arranged in a side-to-side configuration; wherein at least one other panel in the plurality of panels of the first stall module is shared by the first and second stall modules; and wherein the at least one other panel in the plurality of panels of the first stall module that is shared by the first and second stall modules is connected to the at least one panel in the plurality of panels of the first stall module that is shared by the first and second stall modules.

12. A modular stall apparatus comprising: a freestanding plurality of stall modules wherein each stall module is removably connected to at least one other stall module; and wherein each stall module comprises: a plurality of panels, wherein each panel is connected to at least one other panel adjacent thereto, wherein at least one panel is shared by at least one other stall module, and wherein each connection between each pair of adjacent panels defines an internal corner of the stall module; and a plurality of corner support members, wherein each corner support member is associated with an internal corner of the stall module defined by a corresponding pair of adjacent panels, wherein each corner support member comprises first and second channels therein, and wherein one panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the first channel and the other panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the second channel.

13. The modular stall apparatus of claim 12 wherein each stall module further comprises optionally at least one in-line support member comprising a third channel therein, wherein the at least one in-line support member is adapted to be positioned between two corner support members so that one panel in the plurality of panels at least partially extends within the third channel of the in-line support member.

14. The modular stall apparatus of claim 13 wherein the at least one in-line support member and the corner support members are each composed of concrete.

15. The modular stall apparatus of claim 12 wherein each stall module is adapted to function as a horse stall and wherein each panel is composed of concrete.

16. The modular stall apparatus of claim 12 wherein the modular stall apparatus comprises at least four stall modules and wherein one corner support member is shared by the at least four stall modules so that the one corner support member is associated with an internal corner of each of the at least four stall modules.

17. The modular stall apparatus of claim 12 wherein at least two removably connected stall modules are arranged in a configuration selected from the group consisting of a side-to-side configuration and a back-to-back configuration.

18. A method comprising: assembling a freestanding stall module wherein the step of assembling comprises: providing a pair of spaced corner support members wherein each corner support member comprises first and second channels therein; positioning a first panel so that the first panel at least partially extends within one of the first and second channels of each corner support member in the pair of spaced corner support members; and connecting a second panel to the first panel so that the second panel at least partially extends within one of the first and second channels of one of the corner support members in the pair of spaced corner support members.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein the step of assembling further comprises: providing another pair of corner support members wherein each corner support member comprises first and second channels therein; connecting a third panel to the second panel; and positioning the another pair of corner support members so that the second panel at least partially extends within one of the first and second channels of one of the corner support members in the another pair of corner support members and so that the third panel at least partially extends within one of the first and second channels of each of the corner support members in the another pair of corner support members.

20. The method of claim 18 wherein the step of assembling further comprises positioning an in-line support member comprising a third channel therein so that one of the first and second panels at least partially extends within the third channel.

21. The method of claim 18 further comprising assembling at least one other stall module so that at least one of the first and second panels is shared by the freestanding stall module and the at least one other stall module.

22. The method of claim 18 wherein the step of assembling further comprises leveling at least one of the first and second panels.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of leveling comprises disposing a shim between the at least one of the first and second panels and one of the corner support members in the pair of spaced corner support members.

24. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of assembling further comprises positioning an in-line support member comprising a third channel therein so that one of the first and second panels at least partially extends within the third channel; and wherein the step of leveling comprises disposing a shim between the one of the first and second panels and the in-line support member.

25. The method of claim 18 wherein the stall module is adapted to function as a horse stall and wherein the panels are each composed of concrete.

26. An apparatus for supporting a panel of a stall module, the apparatus comprising a support member composed of concrete, and at least one channel formed in the support member and adapted to receive the panel so that the panel at least partially extends within the channel and engages at least one surface of the support member defined by the channel.

27. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the stall module is adapted to function as a horse stall and wherein at least one other surface of the support member defined by the channel is adapted to facilitate the ability of the panel to withstand a load.

28. The apparatus of claim 26 further comprising one or more openings formed in the support member for draining liquid.

29. The apparatus of claim 26 further comprising optionally one or more shims disposed in the channel for leveling the panel.

30. The apparatus of claim 26 further comprising at least one other channel formed in the support member and adapted to receive another panel so that the another panel at least partially extends within the at least one other channel and engages at least one other surface of the support member defined by the at least one other channel.

31. A method comprising: assembling a first stall module, the step of assembling comprising: providing a plurality of panels wherein each panel is adjacent to at least one other panel; connecting at least one pair of adjacent panels; positioning a plurality of support members so that each panel at least partially extends within a first channel of at least one support member.

32. The method of claim 31 wherein each support member is composed of concrete.

33. The method of claim 31 wherein the first stall module is adapted to function as a horse stall and wherein each panel is composed of concrete.

34. The method of claim 31 further comprising disposing a shim between at least one panel and the corresponding at least one support member.

35. The method of claim 31 further comprising assembling a second stall module so that one or more panels are shared by the first and second stall modules.

36. The method of claim 35 wherein the first and second stall modules are arranged in a configuration selected from the group consisting of a side-to-side configuration and a back-to-back configuration.

37. A stall apparatus comprising: a freestanding stall module adapted to function as a horse stall, the stall module comprising: a plurality of panels, wherein each panel is composed of concrete, wherein each panel is connected to at least one other panel adjacent thereto, and wherein each connection between each pair of adjacent panels defines an internal corner; and a plurality of corner support members, wherein each corner support member is composed of concrete, wherein each corner support member is associated with an internal corner defined by a corresponding pair of adjacent panels, and wherein each corner support member comprises: first and second channels therein, wherein one panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the first channel and the other panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the second channel, wherein at least one surface of each corner support member defined by the first channel is adapted to facilitate the ability of the one panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels to withstand a load, and wherein at least one other surface of each corner support member defined by the second channel is adapted to facilitate the ability of the other panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels to withstand a load.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/581,203, attorney docket no. 33748.31, filed on Jun. 18, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates in general to a stall apparatus and method.

A stall apparatus may have several uses such as, for example, keeping an animal such as a horse. However, problems may arise during the operation of a conventional stall apparatus. For example, the stall apparatus may be susceptible to corrosion from rain, moisture and/or animal waste, and/or may be susceptible to damage due to, for example, a horse kicking, leaning against and/or running into one or more portions of the stall apparatus, with the damage possibly resulting in costly repairs to and/or the replacement of the stall apparatus.

Moreover, in some instances, the stall apparatus must be connected to a larger structure such as a barn in order to maintain functional and/or structural integrity. Also, the foundation of the stall apparatus may not be able to provide adequate support, possibly resulting in one or more portions of the stall apparatus sinking into the ground or other horizontal surface on which it is positioned, and/or one or more portions experiencing damage such as cracking.

Therefore, what is needed is a stall apparatus and/or method that overcomes one or more of the above-described problems, among others.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a stall apparatus according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a component of the stall apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another component of the stall apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a portion of the stall apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of the stall apparatus of FIG. 1 but depicting additional components.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a stall apparatus according to another embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a component of the stall apparatus of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a top view of a portion of the stall apparatus of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a stall apparatus according to another embodiment.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a stall apparatus according to another embodiment.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a stall apparatus according to another embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a stall module is generally referred to by the reference numeral 10 and includes a panel 12 supported by and extending between support members such as corner support members 14 and 16. A support member such as in-line support member 17 is positioned between the corner support members 14 and 16 for further supporting the panel 12.

A panel 18 is adjacent and connected to the panel 12, and is supported by and extends between the corner support member 16 and a corner support member 20. An in-line support member 21 (see FIG. 4) for further supporting the panel 18 is positioned between the corner support members 16 and 20. Similarly, a panel 22 is adjacent and connected to the panel 18, and is supported by and extends between the corner support member 20 and a corner support member 24. An in-line support member 25 for further supporting the panel 22 is positioned between the corner support members 20 and 24.

A panel 26 is adjacent and connected to the panel 22, and is supported by and extends between the corner support member 24 and an in-line support member 28. In a similar manner, a panel 30 is adjacent and connected to the panel 12, and is supported by and extends between the corner support member 14 and an in-line support member 32. Each of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 is composed of concrete. In an exemplary embodiment, each of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 is composed of 4,000 psi steel reinforced concrete.

An area 34 is defined by the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30, and an opening 35 is defined between the panels 26 and 30. A grill panel assembly 36 having tubing arrays 36a and 36b is connected to the panels 26 and 30 so that the tubing arrays 36a and 36b are positioned above the panels 26 and 30, respectively. It is understood that the grill panel assembly 36 is conventional and, as such, may be connected to the panels 26 and 30 in any conventional manner such as, for example, with threaded fasteners. A gate assembly 37 is connected to the panel 26 in a conventional manner and generally extends across the opening 35.

As shown in FIG. 2, the corner support member 14 includes a channel 14a therein, and further includes a channel 14b therein so that the channels 14a and 14b generally form a “T” shape. A generally horizontal surface 14c of the corner support member 14 is defined by the channels 14a and 14b. Generally vertical surfaces 14d, 14e and 14e′ of the corner support member 14 are defined by the channel 14a, and a pair of generally vertical surfaces 14f and 14g of the corner support member 14 is defined by the channel 14b. The corner support members 16, 20 and 24 are substantially similar to the corner support member 14 and therefore will not be described in detail. It is understood that the corner support members 16, 20 and 24 include channels 16a and 16b, 20a and 20b, and 24a and 24b, respectively (see FIG. 4), so that each pair of channels also forms a “T” shape, as well as generally horizontal surfaces and generally vertical surfaces defined by the channels 16a, 16b, 20a, 20b, 24a and 24b, respectively. The corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24 are each composed of concrete.

As shown in FIG. 3, the in-line support member 17 includes a channel 17a therein. A generally horizontal surface 17b of the in-line support member 17, and a pair of generally vertical surfaces 17c and 17d of the in-line support member 17, are defined by the channel 17a. The in-line support members 21, 25, 28 and 32 are substantially similar to the in-line support member 17 and therefore will not be described in detail. It is understood that the in-line support members 21, 25, 28 and 32 include channels 21a, 25a, 28a and 32a, respectively (see FIG. 4), as well as generally horizontal surfaces and generally vertical surfaces defined by the channels 21a, 25a, 28a and 32a, respectively. The in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32 are each composed of concrete.

Referring to FIG. 4, with continuing reference to FIGS. 1-3, the panel 12 at least partially extends within the channels 14b and 16b of the corner support members 14 and 16, respectively, and at least partially extends within the channel 17a of the in-line support member 17. It is understood that the panel 12 may engage one or more of the horizontal surfaces 14c and 17b defined by the corner support member 14 and the in-line support member 17, respectively, as well as the horizontal surface of the corner support member 16. The panel 18 at least partially extends within the channels 16a and 20a of the corner support members 16 and 20, respectively, and at least partially extends within the channel 21a of the in-line support member 21. It is understood that the panel 18 may engage one or more of the horizontal surfaces of the corner support member 16, the in-line support member 21 and the corner support member 20, respectively.

The panel 22 at least partially extends within the channels 20b and 24b of the corner support members 20 and 24, respectively, and at least partially extends within the channel 25a of the in-line support member 25. It is understood that the panel 22 may engage one or more of the horizontal surfaces of the corner support member 20, the in-line support member 25 and the corner support member 24, respectively. The panel 26 at least partially extends within the channels 24a and 28a of the corner support member 24 and the in-line support member 28, respectively. Similarly, the panel 30 at least partially extends within the channels 14a and 32a of the corner support member 14 and the in-line support member 32.

A right-angle bracket 38a is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 10 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 30, and associated with the corner support member 14, so that the bracket 38a abuts both of the panels 12 and 30. A threaded fastener such as a bolt 40 extends through the panel 12 and the bracket 38a, and a nut 42 is threadably engaged with the distal end of the bolt 40, thereby clamping the panel 12 and the bracket 38a together. Similarly, a bolt 44 extends through the panel 30 and the bracket 38a, and a nut 46 is threadably engaged with the distal end of the bolt 44, thereby clamping the panel 30 and the bracket 38a together. As a result of the threaded engagements between the bolts 40 and 44 and the nuts 42 and 46, respectively, the bracket 38a connects the panel 12 to the panel 30. Although not shown in FIG. 4, a second bracket is also disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 10 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 30, and is vertically spaced from the bracket 38a. The second bracket connects the panel 12 to the panel 30 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 38a connects the panel 12 to the panel 30, and therefore the connection provided by the second bracket will not be described in detail.

A right-angle bracket 48a is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 10 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 18, and associated with the corner support member 16, so that the bracket 48a abuts both of the panels 12 and 18. A bracket 48b (shown in FIG. 1) is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 10 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 18, and is vertically spaced from the bracket 48a. The brackets 48a and 48b connect the panel 12 to the panel 18 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 38a and the second bracket connect the panel 12 to the panel 30, and therefore the connection provided by the brackets 48a and 48b will not be described in detail.

A right angle bracket 50a is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 10 defined by the adjacent panels 18 and 22, and associated with the corner support member 20, so that the bracket 50a abuts both of the panels 18 and 22. Although not shown in FIG. 4, a second bracket is also disposed in the internal corner of the stall module defined by the adjacent panels 18 and 22, and is vertically spaced from the bracket 50a. The bracket 50a and the second bracket connect the panel 18 to the panel 22 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the brackets 48a and 48b connect the panel 12 to the panel 18, and therefore the connection provided by the bracket 50a and the second bracket will not be described in detail.

A right angle bracket 52a is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 10 defined by the adjacent panels 22 and 26, and associated with the corner support member 24, so that the bracket 52a abuts both of the panels 22 and 26. Although not shown in FIG. 4, a second bracket is also disposed in the internal corner of the stall module defined by the adjacent panels 22 and 26, and is vertically spaced from the bracket 52a. The bracket 52a and the second bracket connect the panel 22 to the panel 26 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the brackets 48a and 48b connect the panel 12 to the panel 18, and therefore the connection provided by the bracket 52a and the second bracket will not be described in detail.

Two vertically-spaced threaded inserts (one of which is shown in FIG. 4 as 54a) extend into an end of the panel 26, and two vertically-spaced threaded inserts (one of which is shown in FIG. 4 as 56a) extend into the other end of the panel 30. Similarly, two vertically-spaced threaded inserts (one of which is shown in FIG. 4 as 58a) extend into an end of the panel 30, and two vertically-spaced threaded inserts (one of which is shown as 60a) extend into the other end of the panel 30.

It is understood that each of the threaded inserts 54a, 56a, 58a and 60a, as well as the ones not shown, is adapted to receive and threadably engage a threaded fastener. In an exemplary embodiment, one or more of the threaded inserts may be galvanized. In an exemplary embodiment, a pair of threaded fasteners may be employed to connect the gate assembly 37 to the panel 26 in a conventional manner, with the threaded fasteners extending through a portion of the gate assembly 37 and into the insert 56a and one of the inserts not shown, respectively.

It is understood that, prior to the assembly of the stall module 10 in accordance with the foregoing, the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 may be precast and transported to the site upon which the stall module 10 is to be assembled. It is further understood that, prior to the assembly of the stall module 10 in accordance with the foregoing, the corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24, and the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32, may be precast and transported to the site upon which the stall module 10 is to be assembled.

In operation, the stall module 10 is freestanding on the ground or other horizontal surface and may operate as a horse stall, with the area 34 defined by the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 being used to keep one or more horses. The opening 35 provides access to the area 34 and the gate assembly 37 is operated in a conventional manner to restrict entry and exit into the area 34.

The corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24, and the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32, support the interconnected panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30. In an exemplary embodiment, one or more of the corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24, and the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32, may serve to at least partially resist the propensity of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 to sink into the ground or other horizontal surface due to the weight of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30. For example, the corner support member 14 may at least partially resist the propensity of the panel 12 to sink into the ground or other horizontal surface because the panel 12 engages the generally horizontal surface 14c instead of the ground or other horizontal surface, and thus the corner support member 14 maintains the panel 12 at an offset from the ground or other horizontal surface corresponding to the distance between the surface 14c and the ground or horizontal surface. As a result, the probability of the panel 12 sinking into the ground or other horizontal surface is minimized, and the probability of the panel 12 cracking due to any settling is minimized. It is understood that the corner support members 16, 20 and 24, and the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32, may operate in a manner substantially identical to the operation of the corner support member 14.

By supporting the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 in the above-described manner, the corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24, and the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32, also facilitate the leveling and alignment of the panels, and the interconnection of the panels via the brackets 38a, 48a, 48b, 50a, 52a and those not shown.

The corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24, and the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32, also facilitate the ability of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 to withstand loads such as, for example, lateral forces directed against one or more of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 due to, for example, one or more horses within the area 34 kicking, leaning or running into one or more of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30, or equipment used to clean and/or maintain the stall module 10 striking one or more of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30. For example, when a load such as a lateral force is applied against the panel 12 from within the area 34, the partial extension of the panel 12 within the channel 14b of the corner support member 14 facilitates the ability of the panel 12 to withstand the lateral force due to, for example, the engagement between the panel 12 and the vertical surface 14g supporting the panel 12 and absorbing and/or distributing at least a portion of the load applied against the panel 12. For another example, when a load such as a lateral force is applied against the panel 30 from within the area 34, the partial extension of the panel 30 within the channel 14a of the corner support member 14 facilitates the ability of the panel 30 to withstand the lateral force due to, for example, the engagement between the panel 30 and the vertical surface 14d supporting the panel 30 and absorbing and/or distributing at least a portion of the load applied against the panel 30.

It is further understood that lateral forces against one or more of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 can be directed from a location external to the stall module 10 and outside of the area 34. It is understood that one or more of the corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24 and/or one or more of the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32 facilitate the ability of one or more of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 to withstand loads applied against the mid-sections of one or more of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30.

Since the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 are composed of concrete, the panels will not rot or be susceptible to pests such as termites, or to naturally-caused damaging effects such as, for example, corrosion due to moisture or animal waste such as urine and feces. Moreover, any horse kept in the area 34 will not chew or crib on the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30. Also, each of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 is kick resistant in that each panel provides a high degree of resistance to localized damage due to a horse kick applied against the panel. That is, due to the material properties associated with the concrete material of which the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 are composed, including a relatively high density and a relatively high material strength, it is very difficult for the horse in the area 34 to kick a hole in and/or dent any of the panels. As a result, the probability of the horse injuring itself by kicking any of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 is decreased. As another result, the cost to maintain the stall module 10 is decreased because the frequency of repairs to the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30 is decreased.

Referring to FIG. 5, with continuing reference to FIGS. 1-4, each of the corner support members 14, 16, 20 and 24, and the in-line support members 17, 21, 25, 28 and 32, provides a base in which to optionally shim one or more of the panels 12, 18, 22, 26 and 30. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, a shim 62 rests on the surface 14c of the corner support member 14. The portions of adjacent panels 12 and 30 corresponding to the internal corner of the stall module 10 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 30, that is, the portions of the panels 12 and 30 at least partially extending within the channels 14b and 14a, respectively, are supported by the shim 62 so that the shim 62 is disposed between the corner support member 14 and the panels 12 and 30. A shim 64 rests on the generally horizontal surface defined by the channel 32a of the in-line support member 32, and the portion of the panel 30 at least partially extending with the channel 32a is supported by the shim 64.

The shim 62 supports the panels 12 and 30, and the shim 64 supports the panel 30, in order to effect or maintain the leveling of, alignment of and/or connection between the panels 12 and 30. It is understood that the shim 62 may be inserted and disposed between the corner support member 14 and the panels 12 and 30, and/or the shim 64 may be inserted and disposed between the in-line support member 32 and the panel 30, before, during or after the assembly of the stall module 10. For example, if the corner support member 14 begins to settle after the assembly and use of the stall module 10, the shim 62 may be inserted and disposed between the corner support member 14 and the panels 12 and 30 in order to maintain the proper leveling and alignment of the panels 12 and/or 30 and/or the connection therebetween. If necessary, the shim 64 may also be inserted and disposed between the in-line support member 32 and the panel 30 in order to maintain the proper leveling and alignment of the panels 12 and/or 30 and/or the connection therebetween.

It is understood that one or more additional shims may be inserted and disposed between the shim 62 and the corner panels 12 and 30, and/or between the shim 64 and the corner panel 30, for several reasons such as, for example, due to the further settling of the corner support member 14 and/or the in-line support member 32. It is also understood that shims of different thicknesses may be used as needed.

In a manner similar to the foregoing, it is understood that one or more shims may be inserted and disposed between one or more of the corner support members 16, 20 and 24 and one or more of the corresponding panels 12, 18, 22 and 26, and between the in-line support members 17, 21, 25 and 28 and one or more of the corresponding panels 12, 18, 22 and 26.

Referring to FIG. 6, another embodiment of a stall apparatus is generally referred to by the reference numeral 70, and is similar to that of FIGS. 1-4 and contains several parts of the embodiment which are given the same reference numerals. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, a stall module 72 is removably connected to a stall module 73 in a back-to-back configuration. A cross corner support member 74, a corner support member 75 and the panel 18 extending therebetween are shared by the modules 72 and 73.

A stall module 76 is removably connected to the stall module 72 in a side-to-side configuration so that the panel 12 and the cross corner support member 74 are shared by the modules 72 and 76. Moreover, a panel 78 and the corner support member 14 are shared by the modules 72 and 76.

A stall module 80 is removably connected to the stall module 76 in a back-to-back configuration. A corner support member 81, the cross corner support member 74 and a panel 82 extending therebetween is shared by the modules 76 and 80. The stall module 80 is also removably connected to the stall module 73 in a side-to-side configuration so that panels 84 and 86, a corner support member 87 and the cross corner support member 74 are shared by the stall modules 80 and 73.

Referring to FIG. 7, with continuing reference to FIG. 6, the cross corner support member 74 includes a channel 74a therein, and further includes a channel 74b therein so that the channels 74a and 74b generally form a cross shape. A generally horizontal surface 74c of the cross corner support member 74 is defined by the channels 74a and 74b. The cross corner support member 74 is composed of concrete.

Referring to FIG. 8, with continuing reference to FIGS. 6-7, the corner support member 75 includes channels 75a and 75b and is substantially similar to the corner support member 20 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, and therefore will not be described in detail. It is understood that, when compared with the orientation of the corner support member 20 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, the corner support member 75 is oriented 90 degrees clockwise.

The panel 12, which is shared by the modules 72 and 76, is supported by the support members 14 and 74 and at least partially extends within the channels 14b and 74b. The panel 18, which is shared by the modules 72 and 73, is supported by the support members 74 and 75 and at least partially extends within the channels 74a and 75b. The panel 22 is supported by the corner support members 75 and 24 (FIG. 6) and at least partially extends within the channels 75a and 24b. The panel 26 (FIG. 6) is supported by the corner support members 24 and 28 and at least partially extends within the channels 24a and 28a.

The right-angle bracket 38a is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 72 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 78, and associated with the corner support member 14, so that the bracket 38a connects the adjacent panels 12 and 78 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 38a connects the panels 12 and 30 in the stall module 10 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4. A right-angle bracket 88a is the symmetric equivalent of the bracket 38a, about an imaginary axis defined by the extension of the centerline of the panel 12 as viewed in FIG. 8, and also connects the adjacent panels 12 and 78. Due to the symmetry between the brackets 38a and 88a, a bolt 90 extends through the bracket 88a, the panel 12 and the bracket 38a.

Although not shown in FIG. 8, a second bracket is also disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 72 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 78, and is vertically spaced from the bracket 38a, and connects the panel 12 to the panel 78 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 38a connects the panel 12 to the panel 78. Moreover, although not shown in FIG. 8, a third bracket is also disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 76 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 78, and is vertically spaced from the bracket 88a, and connects the panel 12 to the panel 78 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 88a connects the panel 12 to the panel 78.

The right angle bracket 48a is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 72 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 18, and associated with the cross corner support member 74, so that the bracket 48a connects the adjacent panels 12 and 18 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 48a connects the panels 12 and 18 in the stall module 10 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4. A right-angle bracket 92a is the symmetric equivalent of the bracket 48a, about an imaginary axis defined by the extension of the centerline of the panel 12 as viewed in FIG. 8, and is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 76 defined by the adjacent panels 12 and 82 and associated with the cross corner support member 74. The bracket 92a connects the panel 12 to the panel 82. Due to the symmetry between the brackets 48a and 92a, a bolt 94 extends through the bracket 92a, the panel 12 and the bracket 48a.

The bracket 48b (shown in FIG. 6) is vertically spaced from the bracket 48a, and also connects the panel 12 to the panel 18 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 48a connects the panel 12 to the panel 18. Moreover, although not shown in FIG. 8, another bracket is vertically spaced from the bracket 92a, and connects the panel 12 to the panel 82 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 92a connects the panel 12 to the panel 82.

Right-angle brackets 96a and 98a are the symmetric equivalents of the brackets 48a and 92a, respectively, about an imaginary axis defined by the extensions of the co-linear centerlines of the panels 18 and 82 as viewed in FIG. 8. The bracket 96a connects the adjacent panels 12 and 84 and the bracket 98a connects the adjacent panels 82 and 84. Due to the symmetry between the brackets 96a and 98a and the brackets 48a and 92a, respectively, a bolt 100 extends through the bracket 48a, the panel 18 and the bracket 96a, a bolt 102 extends through the bracket 92a, the panel 82 and the bracket 98a, and a bolt 104 extends through the bracket 98a, the panel 84 and the bracket 96a.

Although not shown in FIG. 8, another bracket is vertically spaced from the bracket 96a, and also connects the panel 84 to the panel 18 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 96a connects the panel 84 to the panel 18. Moreover, although not shown in FIG. 8, still another bracket is vertically spaced from the bracket 98a, and connects the panel 84 to the panel 82 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 98a connects the panel 84 to the panel 82.

The right-angle bracket 50a is disposed in the internal corner of the stall module 72 defined by the adjacent panels 18 and 22, and associated with the corner support member 75, so that the bracket 50a connects the adjacent panels 18 and 22 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 50a connects the panels 18 and 22 in the stall module 10 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4. A right-angle bracket 106a is the symmetric equivalent of the bracket 50a, about an imaginary axis defined by the extension of the centerline of the panel 18 as viewed in FIG. 8, and connects the panel 18 to an adjacent panel 108 of the stall module 73. Due to the symmetry between the bracket 50a and the bracket 106a, a bolt 110 extends through the bracket 106a, the panel 18 and the bracket 50a.

Although not shown in FIG. 8, a second bracket is vertically spaced from the bracket 50a, and also connects the panel 18 to the panel 22 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 50a connects the panel 18 to the panel 22. Moreover, although not shown in FIG. 8, another bracket is vertically spaced from the bracket 106a, and connects the panel 18 to the panel 108 in a manner that is substantially identical to the manner in which the bracket 106a connects the panel 18 to the panel 108.

It is understood that the panels 22 and 26, the corner support member 24, the in-line support member 28 and the grill panel assembly 36 of the stall module 72 are arranged in a manner substantially similar to their arrangement in the stall module 10 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4 and therefore will not be described in further detail.

In view of the foregoing, it is understood that the stall module 76 is symmetrically equivalent to the stall module 72, about an imaginary axis defined by the extension of the centerline of the panel 12 as viewed in FIG. 8, and therefore the stall module 76 will not be described in further detail. Moreover, it is understood that the stall module 73 is symmetrically equivalent to the stall module 72, about an imaginary axis defined by the extension of the centerline of the panel 18 as viewed in FIG. 8, and therefore the stall module 73 will not be described in further detail.

It is further understood that the stall module 80 is symmetrically equivalent to the stall module 73, about an imaginary axis defined by the extension of the centerline of the panel 84 as viewed in FIG. 8, and that the stall module 80 is symmetrically equivalent to the stall module 76, about an imaginary axis defined by the extension of the centerline of the panel 82 as viewed in FIG. 8, and therefore the stall module 80 will not be described in further detail. Also, it is understood that each of the panels in the above-described stall modules 72, 73, 76 and 80 may be composed of concrete.

As the operation of each of the stall modules 72, 73, 76 and 80 of the apparatus 70 is substantially similar to the above-described operation of the stall module 10 in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, the operation of the apparatus 70 will not be described in detail.

It is understood that the apparatus 70 is freestanding. It is further understood that one or more of the stall modules 72, 73, 76 and 80 may be removed from the apparatus 70 and that the apparatus 70 may remain freestanding, as long as the one or more shared panels and/or support members, between the one or more removed stall modules and the remaining one or more stall modules, remain as part of the apparatus 70.

It is understood that, if each of the panels in the stall modules 72, 73, 76 and 80 is composed of concrete, the panels may provide a sound and/or scent barrier between the stall modules. As a result, the probability that a horse kept in one of the stall modules 72, 73, 76 and 80 will hear and/or smell another horse kept in another of the stall modules 72, 73, 76 and 80 is reduced, and vice versa, thereby reducing the propensity of the horses to become agitated due to the presence of each other in the apparatus 70. It is understood that, as a horse's agitation level decreases, the horse will be less apt to damage the stall module in which it is kept, bite and/or kick another horse or a human, and/or fight with other horses.

It is understood that one or more additional stall modules may be removably connected in a side-to-side configuration to one or more of the stall modules 72, 73, 76 and 80, and that each of the one or more additional stall modules may be removably connected to another stall module in a back-to-back configuration.

Referring to FIG. 9, another embodiment of a stall apparatus is generally referred to by the reference numeral 114, and is similar to that of FIGS. 6-8 and contains several parts of the embodiment which are given the same reference numerals. In the embodiment of FIG. 9, the stall module 76 is removably connected to the stall module 72 in a side-to-side configuration and in a manner substantially similar to the connection between the stall modules 72 and 76 in the embodiment of FIGS. 6-8. In the embodiment of FIG. 9, it is understood that cross corner support member 74 (not shown) may be replaced with the corner support member 16 of the stall module 10 in the embodiment of FIG. 1.

In the embodiment of FIG. 9, the stall modules 72 and 76 are positioned within a barn structure 116 having a roof structure 118. Since the stall modules 72 and 76 are freestanding, it is understood that the stall modules 72 and 76 may be assembled in the positions shown in FIG. 9 before the barn structure 116 is constructed. In the alternative, it is understood that the stall modules 72 and 76 may be assembled during or after the construction of the barn structure 116.

As the operation of each of the stall modules 72 and 76 is substantially similar to the operation of the stall modules 72 and 76 of the apparatus 70 in the embodiment of FIG. 6, the operation of the stall modules 72 and 76 in the embodiment of FIG. 9 will not be described. It is understood that the barn structure 116 and the roof structure 118 operate in a conventional manner by, for example, providing shelter and storage.

Referring to FIG. 10, another embodiment of a stall apparatus is generally referred to by the reference numeral 120, and is similar to that of FIGS. 1-4 and contains several parts of the embodiment which are given the same reference numerals. In the embodiment of FIG. 10, grill panel assemblies 122, 124 and 126 having tubing arrays 122a, 124a and 126a, respectively, are connected to the tops of the panels 12, 18 and 22, respectively. It is understood that each of the grill panel assemblies 122, 124 and 126 are conventional and, as such, may be connected to the panels 12, 18 and 22, respectively, in any conventional manner such as, for example, with threaded fasteners. The operation of the apparatus 120 is substantially similar to the operation of the stall module 10 in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4 and therefore will not be described in detail.

Referring to FIG. 11, another embodiment of a stall apparatus is generally referred to by the reference numeral 130, and is similar to that of FIGS. 1-4 and contains several parts of the embodiment which are given the same reference numerals. In the embodiment of FIG. 11, panels 132 and 134 are substantially similar to the panels 26 and 30, respectively, of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4 except that the panels 132 and 134 have the same vertical height as the panels 22 and 12, respectively. Moreover, in the embodiment of FIG. 11, a roof structure 136 is connected to the tops of the panels 12, 18, 22, 132 and 134 (the panel 18 is not shown).

In operation, it is understood that the apparatus 130 may serve one or more functions such as, for example, the apparatus 130 may function as a horse stall, a storage shed and/or a paddock building.

It is understood that the roof structure 136 may include galvanized bracing for one or more reasons such as, for example, to withstand high wind loads and/or resist corrosion. Moreover, it is understood that one or more doors and/or window frames may be formed in the panels 12, 18, 22, 132 and/or 134 by, for example, casting the one or more doors and/or window frames into the panels. It is further understood that the apparatus 130 may be erected in a poured-in-place slab.

It is understood that variations may be made in the foregoing without departing from the scope of the disclosure. For example, one or more of the above-described panels in the above-described stall modules may be composed of other materials besides concrete such as, for example, wood materials, metal materials, plastic materials and/or any combination thereof. Similarly, one or more of the above-described corner support members and/or in-line support members may be composed of other materials besides concrete such as, for example, wood materials, metal materials, plastic materials and/or any combination thereof.

For another example, one or more of the above-described pairs of adjacent panels may be connected using other techniques besides right-angle brackets and fasteners such as, for example, a pair of adjacent panels, or portions thereof, may be cast together as a single, integral piece, or the tabs and slots may extend from and be formed in, respectively, a pair of adjacent panels to effect a connection therebetween. Moreover, one or more of the above-described pairs of adjacent panels may be permanently connected to each other. Also, in several exemplary embodiments, two or more of the above-described interconnected stall modules may be permanently connected to each other.

Further, one or more of the above-described brackets may be fabricated from a wide variety of materials such as, for example, galvanized angle iron. Also, threaded inserts and/or holes for receiving eyebolts may be formed in the tops of one or more of the above-described panels. When one or more eyebolts are received by and threadably engaged with one of the above-described panels, the panel may be moved by lifting the panel via the one or more eyebolts. It is understood that the inserts and/or holes used for receiving the eyebolts may also be adapted to receive fasteners for connecting any of the above-described grill panel assemblies.

It is further understood that the stall module 10 and/or all or portions of the apparatuses 70, 114, 120 and/or 130 may be assembled at one location and transported to another location, completely assembled on site, and/or assembled in any combination thereof. Also, the stall module 10 and/or the apparatuses 70, 114, 120 and/or 130 may be erected on a poured-in-place slab.

Moreover, instead of or in addition to horses, the stall module 10 and/or all or portions of the apparatuses 70, 114, 120 and/or 130 may be used in conjunction with other types of animals and/or livestock. Also, in addition to any of the above-described functions, all or portions of the stall module 10 and/or the apparatuses 70, 114, 120 and/or 130 may be used to construct, and/or may function as, a wide variety of structures for a wide variety of applications such as, for example, feed rooms, tack rooms and/or offices for stable or livestock facilities.

Furthermore, one or more of the above-described in-line support members may be added to and/or removed from the stall module 10 and/or all or portions of the apparatuses 70, 114, 120 and/or 130 at one or more locations, as necessary or as desired. Also, instead of or in addition to the gate 37, other access components such as, for example, doors, may be added to the stall module 10 and/or all or portions of the apparatuses 70, 114, 120 and/or 130.

It is understood that bores or other design features may be formed in the above-described corner support members and/or in-line support members to serve a variety of purposes such as, for example, for draining or fastening purposes. For example, an opening such as a bore for draining liquid may be formed in the corner support member 14 or the in-line support member 17, with the bore providing a passageway for liquid to drain to the ground or other horizontal surface from the generally horizontal surface 14c or 17b, respectively.

For any of the above-described stall modules, one or more additional panels may be added to divide up the stall module. For example, an additional panel may be added to the stall module 10 to divide the area 34 substantially in half. Also, the dimensions and/or number of panels and/or support members may be varied in order to, for example, increase the overall size of a single stall module or a plurality of stall modules.

Moreover, in addition to or instead of the grill panel assemblies 36, 122, 124 and/or 126, and/or the roof structure 136, other types of structures may be connected to the panels of the above-described stall modules such as, for example, beams for supporting a roof structure. Also, one or more of the grill panel assemblies 36, 122, 124 and/or 126 may be removed from and/or added to any of the above-described stall modules.

In addition to or instead of T-shaped, in-line or cross-shaped channel configurations, a wide variety of channel configurations may be in one or more of the above-described support members.

Also, it is understood that any of the above-described corner support members may be replaced by two in-line support members positioned near each other, and that any of the above-described in-line support members may be replaced by any of the above-described corner support members. Moreover, it is understood that a wide variety of shimming devices may be inserted and disposed between one or more of the above-described panels and a corresponding support member such as, for example, one or more blocks.

A stall apparatus has been described that includes a first stall module comprising a plurality of panels wherein each panel is connected to at least one other panel adjacent thereto; and a plurality of first support members wherein each of the first support members comprises a first channel therein within which at least one panel in the plurality of panels at least partially extends.

A modular stall apparatus has been described that includes a freestanding plurality of stall modules wherein each stall module is removably connected to at least one other stall module; and wherein each stall module comprises a plurality of panels, wherein each panel is connected to at least one other panel adjacent thereto, wherein at least one panel is shared by at least one other stall module, and wherein each connection between each pair of adjacent panels defines an internal corner of the stall module; and a plurality of corner support members, wherein each corner support member is associated with an internal corner of the stall module defined by a corresponding pair of adjacent panels, wherein each corner support member comprises first and second channels therein, and wherein one panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the first channel and the other panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the second channel.

A method has been described that includes assembling a freestanding stall module wherein the step of assembling comprises providing a pair of spaced corner support members wherein each corner support member comprises first and second channels therein; positioning a first panel so that the first panel at least partially extends within one of the first and second channels of each corner support member in the pair of spaced corner support members; and connecting a second panel to the first panel so that the second panel at least partially extends within one of the first and second channels of one of the corner support members in the pair of spaced corner support members.

An apparatus for supporting a panel of a stall module has been described that includes a support member composed of concrete, and at least one channel formed in the support member and adapted to receive the panel so that the panel at least partially extends within the channel and engages at least one surface of the support member defined by the channel.

A method has been described that includes assembling a first stall module, the step of assembling comprising providing a plurality of panels wherein each panel is adjacent to at least one other panel; connecting at least one pair of adjacent panels; positioning a plurality of support members so that each panel at least partially extends within a first channel of at least one support member.

A stall apparatus has been described that includes a freestanding stall module adapted to function as a horse stall, the stall module comprising a plurality of panels, wherein each panel is composed of concrete, wherein each panel is connected to at least one other panel adjacent thereto, and wherein each connection between each pair of adjacent panels defines an internal corner; and a plurality of corner support members, wherein each corner support member is composed of concrete, wherein each corner support member is associated with an internal corner defined by a corresponding pair of adjacent panels, and wherein each corner support member comprises first and second channels therein, wherein one panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the first channel and the other panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels at least partially extends within the second channel, wherein at least one surface of each corner support member defined by the first channel is adapted to facilitate the ability of the one panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels to withstand a load, and wherein at least one other surface of each corner support member defined by the second channel is adapted to facilitate the ability of the other panel in the corresponding pair of adjacent panels to withstand a load.

Any foregoing spatial references such as, for example, “upper,” “lower,” “above,” “below,” “rear,” “between,” “vertical,” “angular,” etc., are for the purpose of illustration only and do not limit the specific orientation or location of the structure described above.

In several exemplary embodiments, it is understood that one or more of the operational steps in each embodiment may be omitted. Moreover, in some instances, some features of the present disclosure may be employed without a corresponding use of the other features.

It is understood that one or more of the above-described embodiments and/or variations may be combined in whole or in part with any one or more of the other above-described embodiments and/or variations.

Although exemplary embodiments of this invention have been described in detail above, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that many other modifications are possible in the exemplary embodiments without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this invention as defined in the following claims. In the claims, any means-plus-function clauses are intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents, but also equivalent structures.