Featured post

4 Exercises to Help Calm a Hot Horse

If there is anyone that can talk about hot horses on a hack, it is me.  My horse Shandy was a complete nightmare on hacks.  He would attem...

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Why You Should NOT Stable Your Horse

Yes, I said it.  Someone needs too!  These days, our domestic horse's are kept inside a small area, taken out once a day to be ridden then put back in for the rest of the day.  We then wonder why our horse's get vices and diseases and illnesses like gastric ulcers.  When he gets stocked up legs, we wrap them in bandages instead of letting them walk around in a field.

Why Do We Ignore All Of These Things And Continue to Keep Them in a Stable?  

The Effects on The Horse's Health

Full, 24/7 stabling causes a great number of problems for your horse's health.  I have seen my fair share of stable related illnesses from all sorts of yards.  The horse doesn't have a constant source of forage he will get gastric ulcers.  The horse will get stocked up (swollen legs) because he cannot walk around as he would in the wild.  Horse's can get colic from stress, lack of food or eating bedding.  There are much more diseases that are related to stabling in fact, too many to mention here.

Injuries can occur anywhere with horses but when he is in a stable it is much easier for him to hurt himself.  The usual bangs, cuts and bruises are common along with knee injuries from kicking doors and injured eyes from banging them against walls.  There is also the very scary thought of your horse getting cast.  This is when your horse rolls and gets stuck on his back against the stable wall.

Bay horse standing with his head out of a brown stable door

The Effects on the horse's Mental Health 

Horse's can get very angry, bored and depressed when they are standing in a stable at all times.  This can make a friendly, happy horse turn mean and angry.  It causes vices such as wind sucking which he will continue to do this for the rest of his life.  It can also cause behaviour issues when your riding because the horse has too much energy.

White horse wearing a brown turnout rug walking out of a stable.

The Effects on his future

This comes from the fact that the horse isn't about to use his muscles properly.  He will also need twice the amount of time to warm up AND cool down during riding which usually isn't done.  When this happens, it affects the muscles in his legs and other parts of his body.  This means he will get much sorer after every ride and will need constant physio appointments.  It also means he will not reach his full potential.

Bay horse with a white star sticking his head out of a stable



Advantages and Disadvantages of Stabling - 


Advantages -

  • You can control what they eat 
  • You can keep them safer in a stable 
  • Good for hooves (No changes from wet to dry)
  • The horse stays cleaner

Disadvantages -

  • You are not letting them be a horse 
  • Bad for the horse's legs 
  • Can get cast or injuries from stable walls 
  • Horses will get bored 

Turn Out

Advantages -

  • The horse can be a normal horse 
  • The horse won't get bored 
  • Constant grazing 
  • Good for the horse's legs 

Disadvantages -

  • Bad Weather 
  • Bad for hooves 
  • Can get hurt from running about or gates and fences 
  • Not as much control over how much or what they eat

Final Verdict

Stabling can be great for bad weather, box rest or just part stabling but I don't think it is fair for a horse to be stuck in a small box at all times.  That being said, bad weather, the chance of injuries and not being able to control what they eat is a reason why I part stable.

I think the best thing for the horse is to turn out or part stabling.



  1. It’s my understanding that not stabling your horse is actually much healthier for their hooves. The horse hoof is meant to flex and often, which promotes proper blood circulation resulting in healthier hooves. Wild horses are rarely lame or have any hoof problems and no one is tending to them or their hooves.

  2. Also, having a horse shod is terrible for the horse hoof as it inhibits the flexion in the hoof resulting in inadequate blood circulation. Stalling your horse and having it stand in its own pee and poop is also much more unhealthy than any moisture they may find in the pasture. Ferriers won’t promote this because it’s hurts their bottom line.

    1. Yeah I completely agree with you! My horses are barefoot and so many other horse owners tell me if a horse is ridden then it needs shoes. Honestly I just laugh now. In my opinion, horses don't really need shoes unless there is a problem.