How to build a Stable Block

Horse care

How to go about Building a Stable Block in 2023

Building a Stable – When building horse stables, there are several factors to take into account, such as the stable block design, the cost, and planning permission requirements for your internal or external stables block.

As UK Stable manufacturers with years of stable building experience, we have compiled a simple guide to walk you through the main points to consider when planning to build a stable for horses.

Build a Stable for Horses: An Overview

How to build a stable block

The Foundations

Let’s start at the start. A nice level base makes a big difference as a starting point to a successful outcome to your stable build. Concrete is the most common base used for construction, a smooth flat concrete pad is our recommendation.

Let’s start at the start. A sound level base makes a big difference as a starting point to a successful outcome for your stable build.
Concrete is the most common base used for construction. A smooth flat concrete pad is our recommendation.

The installation of stables into an existing barn, or an area with a sloping floor, may require your stables to be constructed to allow for a slope. Bear that in mind when you discuss your project with your preferred suppliers.

Do you need Planning Permission for a stable block?

We advise that you should always check with your Local Planning Authority about whether you need planning permission for a stable block. Where you intend to build may have height or size restrictions and their guidance will enable you to ascertain if planning permission needs to be sought.

Livery yards and riding schools may also need a license from DEFRA (Department of Environment, Farms and Rural Affairs) and for any commercial ventures like this you also need to be aware of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.

The shape of your stable block

This may be dictated by the size and shape of your existing building if you are looking to install internal stables, but for new builds, you can design your stable block from scratch.

Popular designs include L-shapes, straight runs, or in some cases a U-shape design. The more stalls you have the more flexibility you have with your design. Again the design of your stables will be somewhat guided by the footprint of your foundations.

Building a Stable. The Design


It is a necessity to get your thoughts and horse stable design ideas down onto paper in the shape of a design drawing.

Initially, you can do this yourself with paper & pen, but when you employ the services of a company to build your stable block, then a more formal drawing will be required. These are usually done on a computer using software like Solidworks.

Accurate measurements of your building and stalls will be required to ensure that the elements made to construct your stables are correct and fit your space accordingly. For those of you looking for something smaller, you may like to look at our horse field shelter plans.

Horse Stalls

The standard size we recommend for a horse stall is 12ft x 12ft. Much smaller and space can be cramped for the average horse. The size of the stalls need to be taken into account when you create the design for your stable. Other elements, such as a tack room/area and a wash bay are popular additions to stable builds, so space for these may also need to be considered.

Stable Doors

Stall doors can be either swinging or sliding.

In either case, there should be latches that are secure and not easy for the horse to undo, which may cause a possible safety and health hazard for the horses and the stable itself. They do need to open easily and smoothly though, as sticky doors can waste precious moments in an emergency.

Swinging doors should always open out into the walkway and be kept shut at all other times. Sliding doors should slide smoothly. We recommend that where possible doors should be at least 4 ft (1.2m) wide.

Stable doors are available in a number of designs, from full grilled tops, part-grilled, anti-weave, fully-boarded, and so on. Your stable manufacturer will be able to advise you on the best door design for your particular type of horse and its behaviour.

Aisles and Walkways

Alleyways between stalls should be at least 10ft wide (3m). The wider the better, so there is room for horses to pass when being led or be tied to be groomed.


The most commonly used flooring in stables is concrete, as it is very durable and easy to clean. It can be slippery though and over time it will be of more benefit to your horses if you use rubber stable mats on top of the concrete.

We do recommend you consider fitting your stalls with rubber stable matting. This type of matting gives greater comfort to your horses, is relatively affordable,and easy to clean.


All lighting and wiring should be installed with safety in mind. Check what type of lighting is recommended for outdoor use in your area. Ideally, there should be safety cages around your light bulbs, and they should be placed where inquisitive horses can’t reach them. Similarly, all light switches should be well out of reach of curious horses. Try to arrange your light fixtures so there is a minimum of dark or shadowed areas. Work areas, tack, and feed rooms should be well light for safety.

Stable Windows

Adding stable windows may be an additional option you want to consider when thinking about how to build a stable block.
They can let in additional light and give the horse an area to look out from if they are unable to see outside from their horse stall door. Glass or something like 
10mm polycarbonate sheets could also be used. Windows may also be required to ensure proper ventilation in your stable building.

Watering and Feeding

An obvious requirement. Your horse will need access to water, even when you are not there. Buckets are fine, but these can tip over
potentially leaving your animal with no water source. We recommend that consider automatic water drinkers, which offer a great solution.

Hay nets can be used in stalls to ensure that your horse has a fresh supply of food to graze on when you are not there. For safety reasons, your hay store should be kept in a separate building to where your horses are housed. Fact: Did you know that a typical horse consumes 2-4 tonnes of hay a year!).

A feeding stall will likely be needed as well.

Building a Stable. Materials

Wood or Steel?

Wooden stables are popular with horse owners, but they aren’t as long-lasting as a galvanized steel framed stable.

From a maintenance and durability standpoint, steel-framed stables are much better than wood, they last longer and don’t need periodic painting or staining. The boarding is usually weather-resistant and materials such as recycled plastic are used to point out metal stables.

Cost is usually the deciding factor with the choice, as wooden stables are slightly cheaper, but perhaps more expensive to maintain and look after going forward.

Stable Build FAQs

How much does a stable block cost to build?

A/ How long is a piece of string. The cost will depend on all the factors outlined above. Groundworks, the size of the build, how many stalls you require, the materials used, and so on. Cost savings can be made though and diy installation may also be an option
you want to consider.

Please contact us about pricing for our internal stables.

What size should a stable be?

The BHS minimum stable size recommendations are for horses: 3.65m x 3.65m (12ft x 12ft) for larger horses: 3.65m x 4.25m (12ft x 14ft) for smaller horses & ponies: 3.05m x 3.05m (10ft x 10ft)

How long does it take to build a horse stable?

A/ Assuming you or your installation team have all the groundwork in place and structural components to hand, a week would
be a good guide to work to. Professional stable builders like ourselves can usually install our own products in 2-3 days.

What happens if I move. Can I take my stables with me?

A/ With Stables Online stabled, the answer is “yes”. All our stables are modular, meaning they can be dismantled and moved with you to your new property. This may not be the case, with stables from other providers or wooden buildings.

How do I buy stables from Stables Online?

A/ Easy. Give us a call on 0800 756 9670.

We can discuss your design options and ideas and draw them up for you. This will enable us to come up with a quotation for your own stable build project for your consideration.

Updated May 2023.

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