It is important that you choose the right size stable in which to house your horse, mostly because you will want your pet to be happy and comfortable, but also under The Animal Welfare Act (2006) the guidelines set out for owners of horses, donkeys or mules stipulate that you are responsible for ensuring the animal has a suitable place in which to live.
The government have laid out guidelines for the keepers of horses to help owners correctly identify the right stable size for their horse. The main things to ensure when choosing stabling options for horses are to ensure that they are safe and comfortable at all times, that the stables are easy to access and there is adequate drainage and ventilation. Poorly designed and constructed stabling can contribute to the rapid spread of disease and infection within a stable so it is highly important to ensure you house your horse in the right type of building.
Important things to consider when choosing a stable for your horse also include ensuring that the building is of sound construction and that no toxic paints or wood preservatives have been used. The fixtures and fittings within the stable should also be free from sharp edges and placed carefully so as to avoid injury to the animal- especially protecting the horse’s eyes.
Flooring should be even, non-slip and allow adequate drainage of stable waste away from the horse. Doors should also be a minimum of 4ft wide and the height should be such that the horse can comfortably look out with the head above the door. When evaluating the height of the stable, the roof should be high enough that it encourages good air circulation and adequate ventilation, and allows the horse to have at least 2-3ft of clear space above its ears when stood up.
It is difficult to legislate for a standard size for all horses and ponies as they vary greatly in size; however the British Horse Society has set out its own guidelines to educate owners on the ideal stable size for their horse. A basic way to assess how big your horse’s stable needs to be is by ensuring that the animal has space to lie down, easily rise and turn around comfortably. Horse boxes intended for foaling or keeping mares with a foal at foot will also need to have additional space.
As a rough guide, the British Horse Society has released the below stable measurements;
- Horses: 3.65m x 3.65m (12ft x 12ft)
- Large horses: 3.65m x 4.25m (12ft x 14ft)
- Ponies: 3.05m x 3.05m (10ft x 10ft)
- Large ponies: 3.05m x 3.65m (10ft x 12ft)
- Foaling box (horse): 4.25m x 4.25m (14ft x 14ft)
The Donkey Sanctuary minimum stable sizes for donkeys are as follows:
- Mules: 3.65m x 3.65m (12ft x 12ft)
- Donkeys: 3.05m x 3.05m (10ft x 10ft)
- Large donkeys: 3.05m x 3.65m (10ft x 12ft)