I have noticed a distinct slope in my horse''s stable floor, from at least 1-1.5 meters from the stable door. So if he were to stand looking out of his stable he would be in a distinct downward angle -on his forehand as it were, as he stands looking out. Is this good bad or indifferent for him to be standing with all his weight on the forehand? It is an earth sand floor whereby the level could be corrected-would you advise that this is the right thing to do? I have placed a rubber mat over this section i.e. the first third of the floor area. Also what is the ideal sqm area for a stable ? Ours are approx 3 x 3 . Horse are all approx 15.3 to 16.2 some TB some Warmblood x.
Interesting question. Firstly, as per the size of the stable. The British Horse Society recommends the following:
Standard Stable (16hh and under) : 3.7m x 3.1m
Larger Stable (over 16hh) : 3.7m x 3.7m to 4.2m x 3.7m
Pony Stable (under 15hh) : 3.1m x 3.1m
Small Pony Stable (under 12hh) : 2.4m x 2.4m
Foaling Box : 4.6m x 4.6m
Canadian authorities seem to like a slightly bigger stable, bearing in mind that their horses spend a lot of time indoors. (4m x 4m recommended for horses) The more time the horse will spend inside the stable, the more critical the right size becomes. Taking into consideration also that a bigger floor has a bigger bedding requirement, an average size of 3.5m x 3.5m should be ok for most horses. Another important consideration in stable size is the height of the stable as that influences the ventilation of the stable. Of course, the highest roof in the world will have no benefit if there is no allowance for ventilation, so that would influence the stable ‘correctness’ too, as it were. If your horse is out most of the day and is a typical 16hh TB with a light build, he should be ok in a 3m x 3m stable with good ventilation and lots to see, however a 3.5m x 3.5m stable will probably be more to his liking. If he can comfortably lie down and get up that will be ok. For a 16hh to 17hh big Warmblood, this will be too small. The ideal and most creative way of increasing the size of a horse’s stable without too much construction work is to simply build a row of paddocks on the outside wall of the stable and knock out the window into a decent size doorway and the horse is then free to wander in and out of his stable as he pleases. Proper fencing is required, so you don’t have neighbors fighting over the fence, but I have found this to be a perfect way of keeping horses that spend a lot of time in their stables, horses that have breathing problems like COPD and horses that tend to get bored and disruptive in their stables.
The characteristics of a good floor are the following:
- Should be easy on the horse’s legs, offering a slight ‘give’ to reduce strain
- Should be dry and non-odour retentive
- Should provide traction and be non-slip
- Should be durable, resist damage from the horse (esp if he paws the ground) and stay level
- Should be easy to clean and disinfect
- Should be affordable to the owner
- Should be low maintenance
A topsoil floor may at first seem like a natural, most saught after floor, however it does have a few problems. It is inexpensive, non slip, easy on the horse’s legs and joints and mostly absorbent, however the biggest problem with these floors are that they need to be leveled and replaced often. They also tend to retain odours and dampness and are almost impossible to disinfect and clean properly. The normal slope of a stable floor should not exceed 2-5 degrees. Bearing in mind that your horse in it all the time but will move himself around to stay comfortable.) I would pull up the mat, fill in the floor and (IMPORTANT)compact it again with a whacker that you can rent from most construction equipment rental companies, to provide a more suitable area for your horse to stand on.