Everything You Need To Know About Setting Up A Horse Stable On Your Property
Horses make wonderful companions and whether you are keeping one for pleasure riding, competition or just as a pet, you’ll love the responsibility.
Owning a horse is a long-term commitment. It also requires a great deal of time and effort, not to mention money. Owning a horse can be expensive, but the cost is so worth it.
Factors to Consider
If you’re contemplating taking on a horse, there are certain things you should consider. Some of these factors include the following:
As mentioned, horses can be expensive. A horse is not self-sustaining and you will be providing most, if not all, of its feed and care. It’s not just about initial costs, it’s about long term management that will help your horse thrive and stay healthy. Don’t be fooled into thinking your horse can just graze, even a horse with a field the size of New South Wales will need additional feed.
Horses need food, shelter, water, medication and tools. Then there are things like vet bills, and boarding when you go away.
The general consensus when purchasing a horse is that you should have a minimum one acre of land. Any less than this and your horse won’t get the exercise it needs. There should also be plenty of shelter so that your horse has somewhere to go on hot and windy days.
Just like people, horses get lonely. Another horse is always best, but if you can’t manage two horses at least consider a goat or other barn animal. Horses are intelligent and they need someone to “talk” to.
Preparing for a horse
Once you’ve weighed up all of the above and are ready to purchase a horse, you’ll need to prepare your home for its arrival. To do this you’ll need to incorporate a stable.
A stable is a building in which your horse will be kept. It’s usually divided into separate stalls for individual animals, however design can vary widely based on climate, building materials, historical period and cultural styles of architecture.
If you’re considering purchasing a horse, you really should get a stable. Having taken a horse away from their original living space - the wild - you take on the responsibility of providing a fully equipped home that is safe, has plenty of airflow, has access to feed and fresh water, and is comfortable and functional.
Before you start shopping for your stable, do your research on the land first. When it comes to stables, it’s important to know the direction for wind, as the last thing you want is a sudden gust uplifting your stable. If your site is located on a hill, you’ll want to look at placing your structure at a higher level to encourage any water flow to travel away from the structure rather than flood it.
2. Size and shape
Stables come in all shapes and sizes, from standard stables and portable stables, to prefabricated stables and custom stables. If you’re looking to save on costs, you could also convert an existing shed or barn. The number of stalls you’ll need and the overall size of the stable will depend on how many horses you’re planning on introducing to your property. One horse should ideally have a stable space of at least three by three metres.
Your stable should provide ample storage for feed, hay, bedding and tools. Otherwise you’ll soon become exhausted of lugging everything around the yard.
Good ventilation is crucial for a stable, enabling a constant flow of fresh air for your horse. Australia can get very hot over spring and summer, and without good ventilation your horse can tire easily, putting stress on its health.
Concrete is generally the most popular flooring option for a stable as it is durable, affordable, and offers the opportunity to lay Tenderfoot rubber matting. This will reduce the risk of skid accidents and is easy to clean, meaning no harsh urine smells. Rubber matting will also cut down on bedding and will cushion the space for heavy horses.
Your stable ceiling height should be at least four metres high to allow for rearing from your horse. Horses love to play around but can also get nervous, frightened, excited and bored, which can result in them “standing up” on their hind legs.
The kind of lighting in your stable can make a big difference to your horse’s well being. Natural light influences melatonin production and will help your horse sleep well and if you’re planning on breeding your horse, hormone levels and fertility are also influenced by the amount of light received. Horses also need visual contact if in a stable with others, and when left in a dark dreary stable they will often weave, crib or wind suck out of boredom. Some research suggests that stables should have a minimum light level of 150 to 200 lux for 16 hours of the day.
All lighting should be kept out of reach of your horse for their own safety so refrain from hanging lights too low.
Used water and waste will need somewhere to go, so make sure your stable offers good drainage that will move liquid waste away making the stable cleaner and fresher.
Your horse’s safety is hugely important and the more horses in your stable, the greater care you need to take. Sliding doors are preferred over swinging doors as they help keep a breezeway clear. Aisles and breezeways should be at least three metres wide so that horses can pass each other comfortably with little or no risk. They key thing to remember is that stables are all about the right dimensions. Get these dimensions right and your stable will offer a safe haven for your horse/s.
Now that you’re ready
Horses are not your average pet, and they require extra special care. Do your research before taking the plunge and buying one, but know that if you do, you’ll have a wonderful friend for life.