When planning to build a stable, it is a good idea to visit many establishments – two at least. Don’t focus on a pretty and stylish appearance, look for a horse-friendly environment.
Bear in mind the following very important points.
Horses are social creatures. Their near 360º vision allows them to see their herd at all times while grazing in the wild, and even in a stable the doors should be placed so the horses can see one another. This makes them feel secure. Ideally, doors should be split in two so that the horse can look out over the bottom door. The top door can be closed if the horse bangs the door or tries to climb over the bottom door. A stable yard must be roomy and open with a lot of airflow. passageways need to be wide, and the roof must be high enough for a horse to rear up safely without hitting his head. All alleyways must be at least 3m wide. Horses tend to back into things and hit their hips on corners, so all surfaces must be practical and safe. Floors must be non-slip, impervious to moisture and long-wearing. Concrete is the cheapest material and has good results. A chalk floor is also good as it drains away excess moisture very well.
Bedding is another very important consideration. The horse is used to standing on grass in a field, and his legs and joints are not designed to handle a hard cement floor. If the layer of bedding is too thin the horse can develop capped hocks and elbows. Not only are these injuries unsightly, they can also result in lameness. Wheat straw is the best bedding, as it is warm and comfortable. Oat straw can also be used, but unfortunately most horses enjoy eating it. The result could be a nasty colic or capped hocks. Another disadvantage is that oat straw is more porous and becomes soggy quickly. Shavings or sawdust are other ideal bedding materials, and sunflower husks have a nice effect on hooves and coats. I t is very important to pick up all the manure out of the bed every morning. Then throw the bedding up against the back wall, sweep out the soiled wet stuff and put it on your muckheap. Allow the floor to air and dry, and remember never to let a horse stand on a bare cement floor. Add new bedding and fluff up the bed, which should be around 30cm deep. your horse has a tendency to eat the bedding, you can spray it with a disinfectant. ’ll have more tips on stabling next week. You are welcome to contact me when planning a stable. – Kim Dyson (082 888 6511). |fw