Do you find it relaxing entering a home in disrepair? Can you happily ignore an arctic draught coming from a hole in the wall or perhaps manoeuvre round a battered and broken door that is falling off its hinges? No, and so it should come as no surprise that the same is true of your horse.
As creatures of habit, horses are actually very territorial and they like their own space as well as a regular routine. Almost horses spend a good deal of time in the stable, and while they don’t have to be as grand as these stables, it is imperative that horse owners ensure that their stables are clean, tidy and well built in order to make your equine friend truly welcome. Here are the top four reasons why a good quality stable could make your horse happier.
1. They Feel Safe
A good quality stable is one that is structurally safe and is simply a delight to horses who enjoy their creature comforts. Just as we enjoy quality homes with sturdy, safe construction and good ventilation so too do our equine companions, and stable walls need to be able to withstand daily brushing, leaning and even kicking to provide a welcoming weatherproof home.
Horses are naturally ‘flight’ animals, with a heightened sense of danger and a heightened response to any perceived level of threat. Even in the relative safety of the stable, sudden noises such as loose corrugated iron sheeting or rattling stable doors caught by the wind can frighten horses and trigger anxiety or even a violent response. A well-built, sturdy stable will not be shaken to its foundations by the winds, nor will a solid tiled roof be affected by extremes in winter weather. Your horse is reliant upon you to provide a warm, welcoming environment in which to eat, rest and recharge, so ensure that your stable is sturdy, clean and draught free.
2. They Can Breathe Easy
There is no doubt about it, horses can be pretty mucky at times thanks to dusty hay nets, upturned food bowls and churned up beds. As a result, it is all too easy for an accumulation of ammonia releasing microorganisms and dust spores to fill the atmosphere, meaning that your horse is faced with a somewhat dirtier than expected air quality. This is why good ventilation is vital in your stable, not only to promote optimum equine health, but to prevent chronic breathing conditions and coughs. All good quality stables will be designed with windows and/or ventilation bricks built into the stable walls to provide adequate ventilation for your horse.
3. They Want to be Together
Horses in the wild live in herds for company and protection, and the presence of even just one more horse can result in lower anxiety levels, better eating patterns and more manageable behaviour. Good quality stables will be equipped with large, secure windows and viewing panels that enable horses to communicate with their field mates/stable mates at all times, and draw comfort in companionship during long periods of stabling.
4. They can Work, Rest and Play
Good quality stables have a great effect on a horse’s well being when they are stabled for extended periods of time. Whether your horse is on box rest due to injury, illness, or is foaling simply at rest following a busy season, a large, well-constructed stable will provide a safe, secure and friendly environment for him. Horses that are stabled for more than 12 hours a day will require plenty of room to move around and lie down freely, plus additional stimulants such as equine toys and hay nets with smaller holes in them to occupy them.