How do you know if your stable is too small?

Friday 15th January, 2021

Horse with it's head resting on stable door

The environment your horse lives in will have a big effect on their health and happiness. Many owners decide to not stable their horses at all. Those that do have to consider how to make sure that their stable meets their horse’s needs. 

It’s important for stables to be kept clean and tidy. It’s even more important for them to be of good size and quality. So how do you know if your stable is the right size?

How big should my stables be?

The British Horse Society regulations are that horses require a stable measuring a minimum of 12ft x 12ft. For larger breeds, preferably 12ft x 14ft. For ponies the recommended minimum stable size should be 10ft x 10ft, or 10ft x12ft for larger ponies. The height of the stable should be 9 – 11 feet, with a minimum of 3ft clearance of the roof, so you must also consider the height of the stable, and any low beams or light fixtures that could pose a problem.

What do I need to consider?

When you’re planning your stable don’t forget to allow space and height for things other than your horse. You’ll need to consider bedding, and account for where your feeding buckets, hay nets and water troughs are going to be placed to allow for easy access while maximising the available floor space. The addition of these things can make a stable seem much smaller. 

Good high banks and thick bedding banks are desirable to avoid injury for your horse. This takes up a fair amount of room. Stable matting will also slightly raise the floor of your stable, so this coupled with a deep litter bed can significantly reduce the overall height of your stable.

There are options for smaller stables, such as wall mounted water and feeding troughs to maximise floor space, but fundamentally you can’t negotiate on space. If your horse is struggling to move around then without a doubt you need more space. The space in the aisle ideally needs to be big enough for your horse to turn around (many owners suggest at least 3 metres wide) and the stalls should each be wide enough for your hose to lie down comfortably. 

You can afford to be a little tight on space if your horses are only stabled for a few hours overnight, but if you have horses that are in stables long term (like old or sick horses) then the more room they have, the better. 
For more information about choosing the right size stable, read our blog post here.

What should I do if my stables are too small?

If your stables are too small to meet your horse’s needs, it’s time to make a change. You can knock through stall walls to make stalls bigger and build extensions, but if there are a lot of big changes that need making you might be better building new stables altogether. For high quality bespoke stable options that suit you and your horse, take a look at what we do here at Vale Stables, or contact us today.   

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