Healthy environment for horses
All horses need a safe, warm environment in which to live. This doesnt necessarily mean that they need stables. Some horses are from hardier stock and will be fine as long as they can stay out of the sun or rain if needed. Other breeds, as well as the very young, old, or ill, will need stabling. It can also become necessary in an emergency to put a horse in a stable.
If the horses will be kept indoors, they need individual compartments. These compartments should be spacious enough to allow some freedom of movement. Ideally, loose boxes would be used since these can be rearranged and moved. This allows reconfiguration of the space and easy transportation for the horses.
Stables should be mucked out every day for hygiene purposes. The horses’ living space should be kept clean and free of dust, bugs, and dangerous objects. The buildings used must be dry, warm, spacious, and well-ventilated. Muddy, dusty, drafty, or stuffy stables mean sick or unhappy horses.
The buildings should also be well-lit. Horses should be able to see their surroundings clearly. If the stables have good artificial and natural lighting, the horses will also be easier to groom and inspect, and the stables will be easier to keep clean.
Horses are by nature very social creatures, meant to live in herd-based structures. This means that they need plenty of socialization, exercise, and time outdoors. A horse that is deprived of fresh air or sunlight will become unhappy and unwell. This means that the horses shouldnt be kept indoors for too long. They should also have a paddock where they can exercise and interact with each other.
The spaces meant for the horses should be properly surrounded with fences. Fences and gates shouldnt be low enough for the horses to jump over, but instead high enough to keep them in. The British Horse Society recommends fences be four feet high (four and a half feet for stallions).
The gates should also allow for the horses to move safely when open, but keep them safely inside when closed. Barbed wire mustnt be used, because the horses could injure themselves on the barbs.
Horse owners must be aware of the types of plants that are dangerous to horses. They must keep these plants away from the horses’ living spaces. Grass cuttings and other landscaping wastes should also be kept away from the horses. These are unsafe for consumption, and horses will try to eat them.
Horses need a safe environment both indoors and outdoors. Give them stables that are clean, warm and dry, and spacious, well-fenced paddocks. These will make it easier for owners to keep their horses happy and healthy.