A stable is a building in which a horse can be housed. A stable should be well built and secure offering a safe environment that will protect against the weather and from other horses and be practical to use.
The stable itself must provide a safe enviroment for the horse to be in. Safety, security, size, ventilation, drainage, flooring, lighting, windows, fixtures and fittings, accessibility, structure and positioning are all factors which must be taken into consideration.
In the event of a fire you must be able to remove your horse(s) from the stable area quickly and efficiently, have a emergency fire plan ready along with all the necessary fire safety equipment.
- Stable Walls
The stable should have no sharp edges that the horse could catch itself on and allow the horse plenty of room to move around in as well as lye down. The use of kick boards around the wall are an excellent choice as they not only provide a smooth safe surface they can be placed at the height you want and are easy to clean.
The stable must be able to be secured, a top bolt will not be enough as many horses quickly figure out how to open them so the addition of a kick bolt at the bottom of the door will help to keep even the most determined escapee in there stable.
Yard security is another area that will need careful consideration. The use of cctv, motion censors, lighting, padlocking gates and securely locking tack rooms can all help to deter thieves.
The stable must be big enough for the size of horse. There must be ample room for the horse to turn around, lye down and get up without bumping into walls. The ceiling height must also be high enough with the added consideration of any overhead lights being high enough not to cause any problems. The size of the door must be wide enough for the horse to easily fit through and also high enough for the horse in question.
The doorways must be easily accessible and be wide enough for the horse to easily fit through.
Access from the stable to the rest of the yard is also important when it comes to access to the feed room, hay barn, muck heap and the tack room for example.
Each stable must offer adequate ventilation, this can be achieved in a number of ways such as windows, stable door and roof vents. Care must be taken to allow the air to circulate without causing draughts.
Within each stable there must be adequate drainage available. Each stable can have a gentle slope that leads outside to a communal drain, the gully of which can then be easily disinfected, or each stable can have a drain within the stable which then leads to the main drain, therefore allowing the waste to go directly into the mains drain from each individual stable, which is a great option for preventing contamination from one stable going all along the yard, this is especially important if you ever have to disinfect a isolation box for example.
The main consideration when it comes to floor choice is that it must be non slip, rubber matting is an excellent choice for this as it can also be used as either a base for the stable bed, the bed itself or for use in walkways.
Ensure that any light fittings are correctly installed and at the correct height and covered so that they cannot to be broken and that all light switches are safely covered and on the outside of the box. The use of clear sky panels is a great way of allowing light in from the roof of a stable. Windows in the box will also help to allow light into the box.
The addition of windows to a stable are an excellent way of increasing light and air circulation. Any windows must be covered to prevent the horse from breaking them with a grille or mesh frame.
Stables and American barns can be built of a number of structures, a lot will depend on the area and the planning permission. Wooden stables are aesthetically pleasing and are often reasonably priced. Stone stables are often sturdy and offer warmth in winter and stay cool in the summer.
There are many roofing options available it will depend on planning permission and the style of stabling that you are going for. If possible choose a roofing product that offers extra light to be let in and that is weather resistant.
Fixtures And Fittings
There are many useful fittings that will enhance the practical use of your stable such as tie rings, hay rack, water drinkers, feed mangers and window vents, stable window panel.
- Tie Rings can be used for both tying up your horse to and also tying up hay nets. Ensure that they are fixed at an appropriate height.
- Hay Racks can be positioned either in a corner or along the wall for hay to be easily placed into. Ensure that they are fixed at an appropriate height for the horse to suitably and safely use them.
- Water Drinkers can be a great asset especially in mare and foal boxes where water buckets on the floor are not advisable.
- Feed mangers are useful for easily distributing feeds and they can be positioned for ease of use. Feed mangers that can be removed allow for easy daily cleaning.
- Window Vents are a great asset as they can be opened or closed depending on the weather, wooden stables often benefit from these especially in the summer when some stables needs increased air flow.
- Stable window panel are small panels that can be left open to allow the horse in the next stable to see through the panel thereby offering more sociable stable or left closed to offer privacy.
Positioning And Layout
Careful positioning of your yard is essential, with thought being taken into account of access not only for horses but also for deliveries such as hay,straw, shavings and feed and also access for veterinarians, clients and farriers.
The yard layout that you choose must be workmanlike and safe and offer easy accessibility to all who will need to use it.
- The Tack room needs to be within close proximity to the stables but also have secure location to help guard against thieves.
- The Feed Room needs to be within close proximity to the stables and also have access to it for deliveries of horse feeds.
- The Muck Heap also needs to be close to the stables but not too close that it would pose a fire hazard. The muck heap also needs to be able to be removed by tractor or any other means if necessary.
- The hay barn should have easy access for deliveries and be close enough to the stable yard to be practical but without causing fire hazard issues.
- The shoeing box or area must allow the farrier the ability to easily park outside it.
- The veterinary box should allow the vet to easily pull up outside it and be close enough to the stable yard to be of practical value.
- Lorry Park will need a safe area for loading and unloading and easy access off the yard.
- Isolation Box should be slightly away from the other stables.