While we’ve discussed the stall vs pasture in a previous post and explained why it is better for your horse to be in the pasture, we also know there is an importance for horse stables and that there are circumstances when stabling is required.
Maybe you only stable your horse for sleep, or when they’re on stall rest due to an injury, or they simply need to escape from bad weather. Whatever the reason, it’s important to consider how to keep your horse safe and content the stables when they might not want to be there! Because unfortunately, accidents can happen, horses can easily become tangled in buckets, feeders, door latches, gorge on stolen food, or get loose! Here are Jon William Stables tips on having a safer horse stable.
Feeding hay in frequent, small amounts is better for your horse when they’re stalled for long periods of time. Rather than filling up on two big meals and then standing bored all day, giving them small bits here and there will keep them entertained. Make sure clean water is always available, and if you have automatic water buckets be sure to check them often for cleanliness.
Horses are active and companion animals by nature. Although you are doing it for a good reason, keeping them in a stall all day separated from the other horses can be stressful and very boring! A bored horse may start wood chewing, cribbing, weaving, or stall walking. Simply having a radio playing, letting the dogs roam, frequent human visits, or stalling another horse next to them can provide companionship for your horse.
Frequent Stall Cleaning
Wet bedding can damage hooves and breathing ammonia from urine saturated bedding is bad for their lungs. Stall cleaning should be a daily task and if it is done daily it should only take about 20 minutes.
Provide Proper Bedding
Proper bedding ensures that your horse is warm, protected, and able to lie down and rest in comfort. Gauge how thick you should bed depending on your stall flooring and the season. If you have a thick rubber matting, bedding can be thinner. On concrete, especially if it is winter, make sure to add more bedding to provide padding and make sure urine is soaked up.
Reduce Fire Hazards
Especially with wooden stables and timber stables, it is extremely important to minimise the risk of fire. Hay and all combustibles should be stored safely, in a separate building if possible. Electrical wiring and switches should be checked regularly, and smoking should be banned within 50 feet of the of barns and stables. Invite your local fire department to do a walk through to point out any corrective measures that should be taken.
Horse stable layout should be safely oriented, with all fixtures (hay racks, tie rings, water bowls) free of sharp edges and positioned to avoid injury. As a minimum, your horse should have enough space to lie down, easily stand up and turn around in comfort. Installing talk bars on stalls is highly recommended for the social benefits of your horse anytime they are in the stalls. They also create better airflow and are a popular and effective way for calming anxious horses. Be sure that safe paint was used and proper roofing has been installed to prevent leaks.
Remove Head Collars
Removing your horse’s head collar when they are stabled will prevent any entanglement, and if necessary it will ensure that your horse can break free under any pressure.
Yes, your horse is happier outside but when it’s for their own good they do need to be stabled! And your stables are your horse’s home, after all, so you want to make sure you get it right!
Like these tips? Share with your friends so their horses can be safe and comfortable too!