Wednesday 5th March, 2014
When considering stable requirements it is helpful to think in terms of the requirements per horse; often stables are used to house several horses with each having an individual stall.
There are two primary considerations; the welfare and comfort of the horse and the convenience and safety for the handler.
It is important to pay careful attention to the size of the stall. Although in general stalls are designed to be at least large enough to satisfy minimum requirements you should ensure that there is adequate space to enable your horse to stand and turn round without experiencing any difficulties as well as being able to lie down and roll without risking injury.
You should also take account of the size (length and height) and build of the horse as well as his disposition and temperament. Other important factors to consider are the length of time he will be kept in the stable, ventilation and drainage.
The official recommendations provided by the British Horse Society state that the minimum size for a stall is 12 feet square for most horses and 12 feet by 12 feet for larger horses. Ponies require ten feet square, or 10 feet by 12 feet for large ponies.
It is also important that there is adequate clearance between the horse and the roof. The recommendation is that the stable height should be between 9 feet and 11 feet with a minimum roof clearance of 3 feet.
This should be at least 7.5 feet, otherwise there is a danger that a horse will get its legs over the wall, and the stall doorway should be at least 45 inches wide. It is usual to use “Dutch doors” in which the door is divided into upper and lower sections.
Good ventilation is vital to the respiratory health of stabled horses. Each stall should have an opening window and there should be vents in the roof to allow a good flow of air. Stall dividers should be open at the top to further assist air flow. You should avoid storing hay and bedding over the stores at doing so can create a build up of allergens and inhibit air circulation.
Good lighting it important, so make the best of available natural light with windows, but for safety use Plexiglas or safety glass rather than normal window glass. There are many different kinds of artificial lighting you can use but when designing it try to avoid shadows and ensure that your horse is unable to reach any light fittings or wiring.
Other items that you will need include a water bucket or other source of drinking water and a feed tub both of which should be fastened to the wall; rings so that you can tie up the horse; a hay-rack or hay net or bag; along with a selection of items to keep the horse happy, for instance toys to play with.
These are the basic requirements and if you follow them you will create a stable environment that is convenient for you and which will keep your horse healthy and happy. Of course there are many other things to consider, for instance the flooring and the construction materials of which there are many options, but providing a stall with adequate dimensions, ventilation and lighting is crucial.