Horse Stable Construction and Design

by Staff on January 22, 2014

Design Tips for Horse StablesA horse has been described as a large animal seeking unique ways to injure himself.  Good stable design can minimize a horse’s options for injury.

A primary concern is safety.  A good stable must protect horses as well as people. Level slip-resistant floors benefit horses and humans.  Protect the feed or grain in moisture-proof containers that will also discourage rodents.  Light fixtures, switches and wires need to be encased to protect from a curious horse’s nibbles.  Of course any chemicals, medicines, paints, or other toxic items need to be secured so that horses can’t ingest them.

There are many ways that fire can be a safety hazard around stables and barns, and good design can minimize fire danger.  Each stable should have an exit at each end.  According to THIS fire safety guideline, ideal number of exits can range from 2 exits for 1-12 horses, to 5-6 exits for 35-50 horses.  A solid partition between stalls can slow the spread of a fire and possibly slow the spread of harmful gasses if materials like treated lumber have been used in construction.

Proper ventilation is critical to good building design and that can involve details like the site location, the pitch of the roof, dutch door designs, and ceiling ventilation.   This article is one of the best we’ve seen for overall advice about good stable construction.

The use of dutch doors on the exterior side of each stall has many advantages.  In case of emergencies, horses can be removed quickly without the need for moving inside the building.  If the top of a dutch door is opened, it allows beneficial sunlight and fresh air to the stall.  Other considerations may include details like automatic insect sprays to control flies, bite guards on any wooden corners, and sliding doors (rather than swinging doors) that are less likely to be blocked in case a hasty exit is required.

Not long ago we sold a lovely small horse farm where no detail had been spared to accommodate the design of the stable and barn buildings to the needs of the animals and trainers.    The property had several “Morton” buildings, and although we don’t advocate any particular builder or designer, a company such as Morton buildings is able to customize your own needs and goals for the best stable design.  If you’re raising very large breeds of horses you might want to enlarge a typical 12′ x 12′ stall size.  Details of whether you need accessory areas or tack room, automatic waterers etc … and the floorplan location that will best serve your own needs … can be negotiated with a full-service customized building company.

And maybe this can make your horses need to look harder for ways to hurt themselves!

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