Fed up with the mud?
Unless you are very lucky, you will probably spend the winter fetlock-deep in sticky mud. Apart from pulling shoes off, it can cause foot abscess, thrush, mud fever, sprains and more. *
When a horse is cold and wet, it is hard to keep condition on them and can give rise to snotty noses and rheumatic conditions. Maintaining their condition by keeping them dry and well-fed will keep their immunity high and help protect them from illness. Vets are expensive.
Ideally, you’d have a stable to keep your horse off the paddock during the winter months. Limiting turnout helps to preserve your field for the spring.
What is the best type of stable for your requirements?
Conventional stables are a wonderful facility but expensive and time-consuming to build. An architect would need to draw up plans which are submitted to the local planning department and a fee is paid to both the architect and the council. Assuming permission is granted, a concrete base is installed by groundworkers followed by a course of bricks. The wall panels of the stable are bolted through the brickwork.
Mobile stables are a much faster and cheaper solution. They are made in exactly the same way as permanent stables but instead of being fixed to brickwork, they are bolted to a heavy steel skid. The skids resemble the runners of an old-fashioned sledge.
The types of skids for your shelter
At NFF Ltd., we design and construct the skids from heavy-duty steel in our steel fabrication workshop. We take time to weld the joints and brackets to give them extra strength as our buildings are very heavy, due to the high specification timber we use.
Following manufacture, the skids are sent off for galvanising. Galvanising gives steel a shiny silver appearance and is designed to protect it from rusting giving a life span of approximately 35-years. We don’t believe in painting skids as they quickly rust.
Apart from not requiring groundworks, these buildings can be moved around. The shiny nature of the steel and the clever shape of the skids makes it easy to tow the building using a 4-WD vehicle or a tractor, depending upon the size of your stable.
Cheaper skid option
You may not want to move your building very often. In that case, timber skids may be an option. Despite being double kiln dried and pressure treated to preserve them, they won’t last as long as steel but are cheaper. It will still be possible to tow your building but it won’t glide quite as easily as steel skids do. Timber skids are best suited when a building is going to sit on an existing hardstanding and won’t be moved too often. They are still very strong and durable.
In order to make your building practical to bed-up, you may wish to invest in some rubber matting to lay on the ground. We recommend a layer of rubber grass mats, topped with rubber stable mats. You can then bed up in the same way as a conventional stable.
Should you wish to keep the cost down, you might choose to have just a bottom stable door. When you think about it, you are probably unlikely to shut the top door very often.
To comply with planning regulations, you won’t be permitted to connect any services, namely electricity or water. There is excellent solar lighting available on the market which is cheap and easy to fit. If you fit guttering and a water tank, you can collect rainwater which is not only free but eco-friendly too.
Getting your horse comfortable with its new shelter
A good way to introduce your horse to their new building is to place feed, hay and water inside. Your horse will soon realise how cosy it is.