Wednesday 5th August, 2015
Whether you wish to provide shelter from the summer sun or the winter rain, stabling your horse allows you to offer him protection and comfort all year round. Stable construction must therefore be carefully considered to ensure that they are solid and safe for use by horses and ponies of all shapes and sizes. Size does matter and guidelines for stables sizes are approximately 10ft x 10ft for ponies and 12ft x 12ft for horses, however equally important is how they are designed and what they consist of, and one of the most overlooked yet necessary components of a stable is the kickboard.
Kickboards are boards of wood panelling that are added to stable interiors to ultimately reinforce the walls from damage and impact sustained whilst accommodating horses. The boards are designed to withstand powerful kicks and also offer considerable protection for the horse himself should he kick the solid stable wall whilst in the stable or strike the wall when rolling or becoming cast in the stable.
Kickboards are typically made of thick, pre-treated plywood or softwood and placed on the stable walls themselves. Ideally kickboards should extend to the eaves height for ultimate peace of mind, however the minimum recommendations are that they should extend to at least 1.2m per 3.6m height in a stable.
It is advisable that kickboards are lined with good quality rubber matting to provide additional cushioning that will absorb any impact for both horse and stable, and the kickboards should be securely placed on each internal stable wall, including the stable door. Kickboards can also have great benefits in busy yards that have multiple horses using each stable as they are easy to clean and disinfect between occupants.
It is important to regularly inspect your kickboards for signs of wear and tear or significant damage, especially if you are introducing new horses to your yard regularly or a horse is to be stabled for long periods of time. In the event of impact to a kickboard, it is vital that the whole board be replaced as soon as possible as any holes or splintered edges can cause injury to the horse not to mention expose the solid stable wall to any future impact if not repaired. Never be tempted to patch up a broken kickboard as the whole panel will be weakened and any impact that follows could cause far more serious damage to both the horse and stable structure. Furthermore damaged kickboards or kickboard linings are incredibly difficult to disinfect and as a result they can compromise the infection control in a busy yard. A well maintained kickboard will give your horse and stable greater protection and allow you greater peace of mind.