How To Build The Perfect Stables For Horse And Owner
Despite the fact that New Zealanders are renowned for keeping their horses outside, more and more people are deciding to add horse stables to their property. There are a myriad of reasons for this. For starters, it enables those with competition animals to keep their animals clean before events. There is nothing worse than meticulously bathing an equine, turning it out and then bringing it in the morning of the show, to find it top to toe in mud. Horse stables can also be very useful when a horse or pony is sick or injured. When stabled, their environment and feed can be closely controlled and monitored to ensure they have the best possible chance of recovery.
Once it has been decided that horse stables will be built, the design must be carefully considered to ensure the end product will suit both the horses and the individuals using it. To begin with, the owner needs to think about the style that would be most appropriate for them. The most traditional type of stabling and the one that is probably most suited to New Zealand conditions, comprises of either a single stable or several stables next to each other, each one with a stable door that opens out directly onto an open yard. The advantages to this design are that ventilation is very good and the structure is usually very flexible. If an additional box is required in later years, it is generally not too much trouble to add one to the end of the block.
If the horse stables can be incorporated into a structure that is already present on the property, this should also be taken into consideration as it will probably be a much cheaper, easier option. Stable suppliers and manufacturers, including providers of kitset stables, can insert stables and other related fixtures into a pre-existing barn, as long as the structure is sound. However, do bear in mind that if this type of barn stabling is being deliberated, ventilation must be given due attention. Barn systems can become very stuffy if there are not enough windows and vents. This is not healthy for the horse and can lead to serious respiratory problems if not taken care of.
When planning the design of the stables, the owner should think about whether they require a place to store rugs and other possessions. A tack room, separate feed room, and a coffee room with toilet if the stables are not close to the main house, can be very convenient extras.
Once the design itself has been settled on, specific sizes and other details should be considered. The recommended stable size for a horse is 12ft x 12ft (3.6m x 3.6m). However, this would need to be slightly larger for heftier individuals, preferably 12ft x 14ft (3.6m x 4.2m). For ponies the recommended minimum dimensions should be 10ft x 10ft (3m x 3m) and 10ft x12ft (3m x 3.6m) for larger ponies. The height of any stable should be between 9ft (2.7m) and 11ft (3.3m), with a minimum of 3ft (0.9m) clearance of the roof. Along with the standard boxes, if the owner has any breeding ambitions, foaling boxes are a good idea. A desirable size for a foaling stable would be 16ft x 16ft (4.8m x 4.8m).
Other things that can be weighed up are whether to have rubber matting or plain concrete floor. Rubber matting can be a sensible option as it provides cushioning for the horse when it lies down, preventing capped hocks and other blemishes. It also saves money on bedding as not as much is required. However, it is a pricier option so budget would need to be taken into account.
The construction of horse stables is a lifelong dream for many and a substantial financial investment. It is also a place that will have to be right for the horse, especially if they are going to be brought in every night. For this reason, it is important that enough time and thought is dedicated to the project to make sure the design will work for everyone. Get the basics right, and both horse and owner will be left with stables that are safe, attractive and an absolute pleasure to use.
Equine Trader was launched in 2007 and has quickly developed into a leading online equestrian resource. It appeals to New Zealanders who own, ride and are passionate about horses. However, the hugely popular website also attracts equine lovers from throughout the rest of the world. Membership is free and allows registered users to buy and sell through classifieds and auctions at no charge, browse over 400 horses and ponies for sale and participate in a wide range of exciting competitions and games. The site also boasts an extensive online stallion stud book, a comprehensive equestrian product and services directory, news articles, event listings and an ongoing educational TV series, featuring top Kiwi horse riders, trainers and competitors.
On top of that, in mid-2010 Equine Trader introduced a vibrant online discussion forum, which has become very well-liked and is frequently visited by members from both New Zealand and further afield. View our horse stables, horse shelters and barns directory listings here. NZ's most comprehensive online equestrian directory.
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