Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting GAZETTE NEWS to 80360, or email
Our guide to setting up stables for your horse
11:06am Monday 20th September 2010 in July
GETTING planning permission for new stables or an arena can be a real headache, so follow our expert tips for hassle-free planning.
Contact your local planning office for advice. Involving the authorities from the outset will mean you can adhere to their guidelines, and avoid your plan being refused.
Cost is obviously a priority, but make sure you’re not compromising on safety or the comfort of your horses.
Try to visit as many yards as possible for ideas.
It is important to have a sympathetic design and, ideally, cross-ventilation to make fresh air available at all times.
The floor should slope in either direction to encourage drainage. Poor drainage could result in a build up of ammonia, which is a serious threat to the horse’s respiratory system. High ceilings are also important, as they help to reduce the level of moisture in the air.
Another thing to bear in mind is horses love to be within sight of each other.
If you are going to install bars between stables, don’t have them next to mangers, as horses don’t like being disturbed while eating.
With an outdoor arena, planning permission may extend to floodlighting, depending on your needs.
The standard size for a manege is 20m x 40m, but this may vary, depending on the amount of land and money at your disposal.
Again, good drainage is vital, as surface water can turn your arena into an ice rink in winter.
There are many surfaces to choose from, including sand, woodfibre, rubber and waxcoated surfaces. Some use a combination, such as sand with a rubber topping.
Your budget may limit your choice, but try to choose a surface that won’t freeze. Sand alone will freeze when wet.
Design for comfort The stable and its roof should keep the temperature below 15C (60F). Horses tolerate cold, but high temperatures can cause them distress.
A pitched roof will allow more head room. Ideally, the roof should overhang the front of the boxes by about 3ft.This will keep the horse dry and provide shade. Steer clear of roofing felt, as it is not fire proof, and will trap heat.
Each loose box should have an opening window protected by a grille or mesh. Windows opposite the door can help to improve the light.
Choosing a site
Buildings require proper foundations.Your site will usually have to be surveyed, and you may need to consult an architect.
The site you choose should be level and well drained.
Do not position stables on a slope where they may flood.
Ideally, stables need to have their backs to the prevailing wind, and should be away from overhanging trees.
Measuring up: Box sizes
12x10ft – suitable for a pony.
12x12ft – for horses from 14.2-16.2hh.
12x14ft or 14x14ft – for horses over 16.2hh.
16x16ft – for very large horses, or for foaling.
Doorways should be 4ft wide.
Horses of 14.2hh and above will usually have a bottom door 4ft high, with a top door of 3ft (total doorway height of 7ft). Pony boxes will need lower bottom doors and don’t need as much head room in the doorway.
Most farm buildings can be converted provided there is sufficient roof height and good ventilation can be installed.