If you are considering building a stable or barn, there are a few main questions to ask yourself –
- How many animals will be using the space?
- What else do you need to store? (Food, equipment etc.)
- How many people will be occupying the space at one time?
- Do you want separate space for grooming?
Building a stable is very convenient during difficult times with your horse like sickness or when they are in foal. It also creates a safe and useful space for grooming or to keep safe during extreme weather conditions. The most important part of your stable will be the stalls for your horses. A larger horse will be more comfortable in a larger stall, and a small pony will be happy in a somewhat smaller stall.
Box stalls for a horse should be at least 3.6m x 3.6m (If you can go bigger, definitely go bigger!) with good ventilation and natural light – try use as many windows in the stable design as possible. Cover the windows in a strong mesh to prevent the horses from breaking the glass and try having windows that swing open and no on sliders, given the dust and draw around it’s very easy for the sliders to get dirty and stuck closed.
Standing or tie stalls sizes depend on the size of your horse and it is important to take into consideration how much time they spend in the stall.
Depending on the size of the horse, they should be at least 1.5m wide and 2.4m long and big enough for the horse to lie down comfortably but if you aren’t pushed for space, give them enough room to walk and roll over.
The most commonly used flooring in stables is non slip concrete. Concrete, pavers, or stone floors will not drain naturally so it’s recommended to install drainage systems. If your stable does not have drainage, stalls must be well cleaned to avoid ammonia build up. Concrete and pavers are easy to disinfect and can be hosed down if necessary. The downside to these floors is they are harder on a horse’s legs. It’s a great idea to put stall mats made of rubber under the bedding so your horses are as comfortable as possible.
Keep in mind that a stable is a great place to also store all your equipment and cleaning tools. Having a built in storeroom or an extra designated area for these accessories will pay in the long run with how convenient it is to have them close by and to be out of the weather getting damaged. Having a tap either outside the door or set up inside the stables will make cleaning and watering the horses a breeze compared to karting buckets back and forwards.