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7 things to know about horse stables

Today we hear more and more questions about horse stables. To give answers for most common questions we have put together this list of important things about horse stables.

Here are some good tips you can use if you are thinking about building a safe horse stable for your horse. In this article we cover the following important points that you should consider while planning a horse stable.

  • Choosing the type of horse stables
  • Recommended height of horse stables
  • Recommended width of aisles
  • Choosing doors for horse stables
  • Different floors for stables
  • Ceilings for horse stables
  • Wiring and lighting

Type of horse stables

To begin with, when building stalls you can choose between box (loose) stalls and tie (standing) stalls. With box stalls for an average size riding horse the minimum measurements of the stall should be at least 3×3 meters to 3,6×3,6 meters. This is only the minimum standard and it is recommended that you build a bigger stall if possible. These measurements of horse stables have been set by the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council, Recommended Code of Practice for The Care and Handling of Farm Animals.  With tie stalls the minimum measurements are 1,5 meters wide and 2,4 meters long. The stall should be wide enough so the horse can lie down comfortably.

Height of horse stables

Furthermore, considering the height of the stalls, a horse stall should be made from sturdy timber with walls up to 1, 4 meters high. It is recommended to use a mesh on top of the wooden walls to help with ventilation and light. This also allows horses to see each other. Windows also provide natural lighting and ventilation. Try to use as many windows in the stable design as possible. To keep the horses from breaking the glass, the windows should be covered with a strong mesh. Windows that swing open are preferred over sliders, because the latter might fill with dirt and start getting stuck, making them uncomfortable to use.

Width of aisles

The aisles between stalls should be at least 3 meters wide. Since there generally is a manger for hay in front of the tie stall, the width of the manger should be taken into account while planning the stall. The horse stall should have a strong structure to tie to. The structure must also keep in mind that the horse cannot step over the tie rope, but can still reach food and water.

Doors for horse stables

When planning horse stables, you can choose either sliding or swinging doors for the horse stalls. The criterions for the doors are that they should be at least 1,2 meters wide and the latches should undo easily, but not so easy that the horses can open the doors themselves.  The doors to the grain room should be locked.

Floors for stables

There are many different flooring types available for stables. Concrete is the most commonly used flooring in horse stables. Since concrete or stone floors do not drain naturally, you should either place drains in the stalls or at least avoid ammonia build up by keeping the stalls well cleaned. Even though hard flooring like concrete is easier to clean, many people choose to use rubber like materials for flooring to increase the comfort of their horses. The easiest flooring is just to leave the earth floor, which can be warmer and quieter, but also more difficult to clean.

Ceilings for horse stables

The next step is to plan the ceilings of the horse stables. The ceilings should be high enough to allow the horse to comfortably raise its head. While 2, 4 meters is the standard height for stables for small horses, taller horses need higher ceilings. It’s also possible to modify an older barn by either raising the ceiling or lowering the floor, but this may prove to be a more expensive solution. The ceilings should also be checked for safety, so that there are no protruding nails from the first floor flooring that might accidentally hurt your horses head.

Wiring and lighting

Last but not least, the lighting and wiring of horse stables should be made safe for the horses. Lighting should be placed so that there is a minimum of dark areas. Light bulbs and switches should be placed out of reach from the horses and the bulbs should also be surrounded with safety cages. All plug-ins should be moisture and rodent proof.

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