If you’re considering owning a horse for the first time or are looking to purchase a new stable for your horses, having adequate space for them to feel comfortable, safe and secure is essential.
Considerations when choosing a stable
According to the British Horse Society, your main considerations when choosing a stable is the animal should be freely able to stand and turn around without any obstruction, and lie down and roll without the risk of pain or injury.
Every horse is different so you need to make adequate considerations for their height, length and overall build as well as understanding the animal’s temperament and disposition of being kept in confinement for lengthy periods. Good ventilation, drainage and access for waste clearance should also be in your considerations when choosing suitable stabling.
It is also worthwhile ensuring your stables and field shelters have adequate overhangs to add a little more weather protection. In extreme weather conditions, it is not uncommon for the wind and rain to enter a shelter or stable where there is insufficient overhang above the open entranceways.
For most horses, the British Horse Society recommends your stable be a minimum of 13.4m2 (12 ft x 12 ft) although preferably bigger at 15.5m2 (12 ft x 14 ft) for larger animals.
For ponies, they recommend a minimum sized stable of 9.3m2 (10 ft x 10 ft) and for larger ponies a bigger stable at around 11.2m2 (10 ft x 12 ft).
Horses and ponies that are kept outdoors in pastures should always have adequate mobile field shelters to protect them from the elements such as wind and rain in the colder months and to provide adequate shade and protection from flies and airborne pests during the warmer months.
The size and shape of the shelter required greatly depends on the number of horses and ponies sharing the field at any one time so adequate provisions need to be considered before you choose.
For a straight shelter, the British Horse Society recommends a standard depth of at least 3.6m (12 ft) and a width of between 3-3.6m (10-12 ft) for a single horse, with an extra 1.5m (5 ft) in width for each additional animal that may use the shelter.
If more than one animal is going to use the shelter, access is very important and it is recommended that there are at least two openings to allow the animals to come and go as they please, in the event that one animal so happens to be blocking one of the entranceways.
This is quite common where there is a dominant horse amongst the group. A more timid horse may be less inclined to enter the shelter if the dominant horse is blocking the doorway or inversely, may become trapped and distressed if stuck behind another horse blocking the exit and is unable to leave the shelter freely.
For more information and advice