Here at Rideaway, we’re only happy if our horses are happy. Not only are happier horses more likely to interact and learn quicker, but they’re our friends, and we want to know that they’re ok!
With that in mind, here are ten ways in which you can make your stables a happy place for your horse.
1. Plenty Of Roughage
Just like with humans, one of the things that makes a horse happiest is, of course, food! Food is their primary need, so it’s important that they’re well fed at all times.
And while they might enjoy treats like fruits and grains, their bread and butter is roughage such as grass and hay.
It’s high in fibre, and therefore great for their wellbeing, giving them all the key nutrients they need to be happy.
For more information on the various types of roughage, and why your horse needs them, check out this post from HorseAnswersToday.com.
2. Lots Of Water
Of course, with all that food, your horse is going to need something to wash it all down with!
If your horse doesn’t take in enough water, all of that hay and grass begins to compact in their gut, which can lead to health issues.
According to Penn State University, the average horse requires between five and ten gallons of water a day!
For this reason, it’s important to make sure that you have plenty of water on hand which is easily accessible at all times.
3. Make Sure They Aren’t Lonely
Just like humans, horses need a bit of interaction to make sure that they don’t get lonely. It’s best if you can keep your horse with others, as they thrive in a group, although this obviously isn’t always possible.
If your horse seems to be isolated from the rest of the group, it could be that he’s injured or not feeling well.
Either way, if you can’t keep your horse alongside some of its pals, make sure that you check in regularly yourself or try to get them to interact with other horses outside of the stables.
4. Keep It Well-Lit and Ventilated
There’s nothing worse than a dark and dank stable, and it understandably puts horses in a rather grumpy mood.
For this reason, it’s important that there is plenty of natural light coming into the stable.
Ventilation is also important of course, so that your horse has plenty of fresh air to breathe and that they don’t have to endure some of the nastier smells that a stable can produce!
5. But protect them from prevailing winds
While it’s good to keep the stable well ventilated, when it comes round to winter, you don’t want them suffering from nasty cold winds.
A stable which has a draft could cause health problems in the long term, and just generally make your horse feel uncomfortable.
6. Make sure they have enough space
Obviously, the amount of space that your horse requires will depend on the size of the horse themselves, but it’s really important that they’re comfortable and feel at home.
This should be down to your own discretion, but for a general guide, check out this post from Horizon Structures.
7. Keep all of the bedding in order
A horse’s bedding is also a big part of their happiness and wellbeing, and unfortunately, horses will regularly relieve themselves onto it, so it’s important to make sure that you keep it fresh and clean!
Make sure to regularly muck the stalls out, at least once a day, and consider investing in some rubber stable matting to make things easier.
8. Avoid clutter
With all the equipment you need to groom and ride your horse, it is easy for the stable to become cluttered, especially if space is limited, but think about it. If someone came and dumped all of their various equestrian equipment in your bedroom, you wouldn’t be too pleased!
Horses need room to breathe, so try not to clutter up their living space with your equipment. Finding better ways to store your riding equipment will help keep it in good order too.
9. Don’t hang a haynet too close to the floor
If you’re using a haynet to feed your horse, make sure that you don’t hang it too close to the floor.
One of the issues with hanging a haynet too low is that there’s a chance that your horse could get their hoof caught in the mesh.
You might also wish to buy one with smaller holes, or feed from the floor instead or through a feeder.
10. Be conscious of fire safety
Fire safety is always important, and you only need to look at the tragic story of the US Olympic rider Boyd Martin, who lost six horses in a barn fire to see why.
If you smoke, make sure to never do so in the stables, and regularly check your electrical equipment to make sure that it’s safe.
Also ensure that you have fire extinguishers on hand and that there is an escape plan thought out.
Making your horse happy isn’t just going to benefit them, but it’ll make your life a lot easier and help you develop a much stronger bond with your equine friend.
Make sure to keep checking our blog here at Rideaway for all the latest equestrian news and tips.