Checklist for Building a Stable

Icon of a checklist itemChecklist for Building a Stable

The following list of general guidelines provides one view of what a “good” barn should consider.

Click here for a full-sized version of the checklist.

Site Considerations 

  • Dry foundations
  • Well-drained
  • Fresh air and ventilation
  • Good light, facing south if possible
  • Good water supply
  • Road access for delivery of hay and other supplies.

Roof Considerations

  • Slope of the roof should be not more than 45 degrees
  • Should be able to maintain equitable temperature in all weather
  • Should be noiseless, durable and not flammable
  • Should have proper guttering to carry away rain water.

Flooring Considerations 

  • Should be laid on a solid foundation and raised above ground level 
  • Non slippery and impervious to moisture 
  • Smooth and durable 
  • Should slope from front to rear of stall, only just enough to allow drainage 
  • The ground or flooring in stalls and alleyways should be well-drained and be a non-slip surface to prevent slipping and falling. Non-slip surfaces include:
    • Sand, 
    • Dirt, 
    • Rough-cut planked floors, 
    • Rubber mats,
    • Stamped or grooved concrete.

Stall Considerations

  • Appropriate space allowance, in m², is 2 to 2.5 times the height of the horse (at the withers) squared.
  • Ceiling or support beam height should have a minimum clearance of 61cm (2ft) above horse head height when standing.
  • Alleyways should be wide enough to allow a horse to turn around comfortably, 3m is suggested.
  • Doorways should be wide enough to allow easy passage, 4ft wide is suggested.
  • Entrances used by horses should be at least 30.5cm (1ft) above horse head height when standing.
  • Horses need to look out so they should at least have grilled doors or dutch doors.

Water Supply

  • Automatic water bowls are labour saving and efficient, but must be kept clean and free of rust or debris. You cannot tell how much your horse is drinking when using automatic water devices.
  • Keep buckets and watering devices away from hay.
  • The bucket should be affixed on the wall securely.
  • Water buckets should be checked and cleaned daily. A horse’s water consumption can be monitored when using the bucket method.

General Considerations

  • Water buckets should be checked and cleaned daily.
  • Keep all light fixtures covered in cages, and all electrical outlets covered and out of reach of the horses.
  • Check all boards and nails to ensure they are not loose or protruding.
  • Stabled horses should have access to daily turnout in paddocks or fields.
  • Keep the horse’s feed in an area that the horse cannot get into it.
  • Hay should ideally be stored in a separate building. Haylofts can keep the barn somewhat insulated but do pose a fire risk.


  • Bedding is used to encourage the horse to lie down and rest, keep warm, prevent slipping and encourage the horse to urinate. Bedding is used primarily to absorb urine in the stall, keep it dry and reduce ammonia in the air of the stable.

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