Different Types of Stables for Horses

Different Types of Stables for Horses – Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to providing our beloved horses with a cosy and safe space, the choice of stable is vital. 

Stables are more than just buildings; they are havens where horses find refuge from the elements, unwind, and have their daily needs met.

In this article, we’re exploring the various types of horse stable available today. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or simply eager to expand your equine knowledge, this is a great place to start.

Types of Stables

Timber Stables 

Timber stable

Timber stables are one of the most popular horse housing solutions. Generally, it’s one solid building with various separated stables next to one another. 

The stable doors open to the outside, allowing horses to come and go as needed. The stable door also comes in handy if you know bad weather is on the way and want to keep your horses warm and dry. 

Housing a horse away from other horses in a stable block is ideal if you have horses that require special care. Whether it’s to reduce the spreading of disease or to give sensitive horses sufficient room they need to thrive. 

Equestrian buildings aren’t the only option, they are also available as mobile stables, allowing you to move the stables as necessary around the property. 

The big upside to the mobile stable option is that you don’t need planning permission to set it up, and it’s generally quite affordable compared to building a solid permanent structure. 

American Barns

American barn

American barns are usually bigger than stables. The barn houses everything, including:

  • Offices
  • Grooming areas
  • Stables
  • Storage space

Everything is ready on hand to handle any situation. 

American barns offer fantastic protection from the elements, something essential when the dark winter months arrive.

Still, the stable doors provide adequate ventilation and natural light through American barns to keep horses healthy and happy, even when kept indoors. 

A big advantage to American barns is that you can keep all your horses in one place. As all horse lovers know, horses prefer to stick together as they are social animals.

Field Shelters 

Field shelters are good options for horses that enjoy being indoors. You can construct it directly on the field or a concrete base. There are also mobile field shelters that you can move around as needed. 

Field shelters are easy to build. Generally made from wood, field shelters are perfect for when horses need to seek refuge while out in the field. Cold weather and sun can be harsh for field horses, so keeping a field shelter is important. 

They are also easy to use as horses can make their way through the large open front without human assistance. 

Hay Barns

Experienced horse owners know all too well the threat hay is under when kept outdoors. Bad weather, mould, and pests can make hay unusable, wasting money and leaving your companions hungry. 

That’s where hay barns come in. These are structures you can store your hay to keep it fresh. You can also set the wood structure up where it’s convenient, meaning less work when feeding time rolls around.

The open sides are also perfect for ventilation, preventing mould from building up in hay stacks. 

Post and Beam Barns

Post and beam barns are a more traditional setup with timber poles holding up timber to create shelters for horses. 

This is a great choice if you want to separate your horses with a stable block, as the area between the posts simply needs dividers. 

If you find your horses require a little more heat, here is some insightful information on rugging your horse.

Timber Framed Barns

Framed barns are part of the post and beam constructions, offering a more intricate design. They are mostly used when you need a second storey to your post and beam barn. 

You can customise framed barns quite a bit as they use a double-wall construction, so you can pick out the materials and finishes to match the feel and look of your property. 

TImber framed barns are sturdier than post and beam and use traditional carpentry to join the frames – rather than metal. Check out this great youtube video from country craziness which explains the difference.

Modular Barns

One of the most popular stable options is the prefabricated modular barns. They are engineered in a factory and simply built on-site. This keeps the setup quick and stress-free, as all you need is a crew to construct the barn using the pre-made parts. 

Modular barns are fast becoming the standard for horse stables. They are cheaper and easier to set up, making them the best option for beginners that don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on the setup. 

Indoor Arenas 

The indoor arena is quickly becoming a popular equestrian building for stabling horses. The indoor area is perfect for horses to get inside from harsh weather. 

While indoor arenas typically have separate horse stables, making a little stable area within the arena is well worth it. If the weather goes bad during training or events, you want the horses to have a safe and dry area to relax. 

Indoor arenas are typically quite big, so setting up a stable area shouldn’t prevent you from using the space when needed. 

We have two indoor arenas at Strathon, one 20 x 30m in an old cattle barn and one in a purpose build clear span steel building. Both arenas have sand and fibre surfaces which are consistent, but have some spring in them to ease the stress on the horses joints.

Our 60x30m arena at Strathorn


How big should a horse stable be? 

Most horses need at least 3.65 m x 3.65 m to remain comfortable and clean in a single-horse stable. If you own large horses like the Clydesdale, you need to measure the area properly before making a choice on the type of stable that’s best.

What is a livery yard or boarding stable?

Boarding stables are facilities that provide stalls and services for owners that don’t have the facilities to keep horses on their properties for long periods. They often feed, groom, and look after your horse during times you can’t be there. 

How do I choose the right type of stable for my horse?

There are a few things you should consider before settling on a stable for your horse. Look at what your horse needs from the stable. Is there fresh air, and is the stable safe for storing your riding companion in bad weather? You should also consider the size of the space and whether you should use a permanent or temporary stable. 

What roofing materials are used on stables?

Most stable rooves are made with corrugated sheets and other metals to keep the price down.

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