Last Updated on April 13, 2022
Whether it is best to keep a horse in a stable or in a field is a big debate between horse owners! While we’d like to think that they are better off snuggled up in a cozy stable, maybe it is better to keep our horses outside? And if your horse is in a stable, how do you make sure his needs are being met? Let’s find out!
Why Keep A Horse In A Stable?
There are many reasons why horses are kept in stables. The main advantage is that it protects the horse from bad weather, and also protects precious grazing land from becoming muddy during the rainy season. The weather might be terrible outside, but our horses can be tucked up in a warm, dry stable!
It is often more convenient for horse owners to keep their horses in a stable. The horse will be clean and dry, ready to be ridden at any time. There is additional work involved in caring for a horse in a stable, but many horse owners enjoy the time spent with their horses each day in the stable or barn.
Horses are also kept in stables when they are recovering from illness or injury. Many problems encountered by horses, such as wounds, fractured bones, and long-term illness, require the horse to rest while they are recovering. This is much easier if the horse is kept in a stable rather than a paddock.
If a horse is a top-level athlete, in high levels of work, it is normally kept in a stable. This enables the trainer to ensure the horse is eating the correct diet to build muscle and fitness, rather than becoming bloated on grass and hay.
Stable Vs Paddock – Which Is Best For Horses?
If you gave a horse the free choice of where it lived, most horses would prefer to spend most of their time out in a paddock. They like to have somewhere to shelter from bad weather and to take a rest. A field shelter can provide this if there is no access to a stable.
There are some benefits to the horse to being stabled. He will have access to food, without having to compete with other horses. He will always be warm and sheltered, and cannot be bullied by other horses.
However, most horses will not thank you for being stabled for long periods every day! In the wild, a horse would walk for many hours each day, in search of food and water. This helps to keep the horse fit, happy, and healthy and maintains the functions of the body systems.
When a horse is stabled, he does not get the chance to run around and play. His food is in one place, so he does not even need to walk to find grass. This can lead to many problems, such as a build-up of energy, or slowing down of the gastrointestinal system.
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How To Keep A Horse In A Stable Happy And Healthy
Whether you’re keeping your horse in a stable out of convenience, or because you are unable to turn him out in the paddock, there are a number of things we can do to keep him happy and healthy.
The most important thing is that he must get daily exercise. This is vital to maintain both his physical and mental well-being. Ideally, he should be turned out with other horses to play, but if this is not feasible then any form of exercise is better than nothing.
When he is in the stable, you can do a lot to keep your horse mentally stimulated. Place his food at several locations around the stable, in slow feeders or small-holed hay nets. This will help his daily food ration last as long as possible, and also encourage him to move around the stable.
Provide treats and toys in the stable, such as hanging mineral blocks, treat balls, and horse balls. If possible, stable your horse somewhere where he can see plenty of activity and other horses. You can also provide a safety mirror in the stable, and leave the radio playing so he has some audio entertainment.
Horse In A Stable Summary
So, as we have learned, there are some very good reasons why horses might be kept in stables, but this living arrangement is not always ideal for all horses. Horses that are kept in a stable are sheltered from bad weather and have access to food and water at all times. However, keeping a horse in a stable means it does not have the opportunity to exercise and socialize with other horses.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on keeping horses in stables! Do you prefer to keep your horse in a stable during bad weather? Or maybe you think that horses should be allowed to live as naturally as possible? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Should Horses Be Kept In A Stable?
Many people keep their horse in a stable, but this does not mean that they must be kept in stables. The reasons for keeping a horse in a stable include shelter from inclement weather, convenience for the horse owner, and for training or recuperation purposes.
Do Horses Get Bored In Stables?
Horses can get bored in stables, as they have less opportunity to exhibit normal behavior and interact with other horses. If a horse is kept in a stable then they must be given sufficient opportunity to exercise, play, and relived boredom.
How Long Can A Horse Be In A Stable?
Unless the horse needs to be kept confined to recover from injury or ill health, it should always be allowed to exercise and play every day. This is essential to maintain the physical and mental well-being of the horse.
Is It Cruel To Keep A Horse Stabled?
Stabling a horse is not cruel, as long as it has opportunity to exercise and play every day. The horse should also be provided with mental stimulation while in the stable, and equine company nearby.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE