How to build a stable

Updated February 21, 2017

Building a stable that has excellent form and function takes planning. Making errors during the planning and building stage can result in expensive modifications. When planning, consider the number of horses you have now and plan to have in the future.

Design aisles wide enough for two horses to pass through without touching. Make them wide enough for the handler and horse to be able to turn around and manoeuvre without trouble. You need to design a wash area, the storage area, the tack room and the stalls.

Build ceilings high enough to handle a horse and rider or a rearing horse. Nine foot ceilings or higher should be enough. Make sure your lighting fixtures are mounted out of major pathways and out of the horses' reach. If you can't keep them away from the horses, then encase them in wire cages.

Decide what materials to buy. The outside of most barns are metal while the insides and individual stalls are made of heavy, dense wood. Base the size of the stalls on the size of your horses. Consider ventilation, water, fire safety and electrical needs.

Consider drainage when building a stable. Stall drainage is important and keeps urine away from your horses' hooves, and from damaging your barn. Most championship barns are built on gravel, layered with clay and then have heavy duty stall mats in each stall. The stalls have an outward slant and the barn is placed on a hill, with gentle slopes on each side to allow for maximum drainage.


Concrete floors are great for disinfection, but can pose a problem with drainage if not installed properly. Wooden floors can be laid for drainage, but they don't last long and are slippery when wet, posing a risk to the horse.

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