Hello, from the Children’s Riding Club and to a quick introduction in Stable Management!
Stable Management covers all aspects of horse management including their exercise regimen as well as their medical follow up. Good stable management and animal husbandry is essential for the wellbeing, health, and safety of the horses; hence it is of paramount importance.
The most important activity under stable management is the care and upkeep of the horses. All horses have a feeding and exercise regimen. They are generally fed three times a day with concentrates or grains such as oats and barley, and twice a day with roughage or hay. The grain must be of good quality, mould, and pest free. Similarly, the hay must be fresh and dry, not smelly, or rotten. In case you did not know, horses need and drink a lot of water. They can drink up to 25-60 litres of water per day. Thus, it is essential that clean water be available to them at all times in their stables. Without adequate water, they tend to become dehydrated and develop colic (a bad bad thing for horses!).
Horses need to be groomed too. As they cannot be bathed every day, they are brushed or groomed. Grooming relaxes the horse and helps the groomer in keeping a close watch on any sores or injuries the animals may have developed. Grooming includes cleaning out the animals’ hooves, brushing out their tails and manes as well as keeping their eyes and nostrils clean. Horses, like humans need exercise. Exercise 3-4 times a week keeps them in good condition and free from illness. This can be done by riding or lunging them. Sometimes just leaving them loose in the riding arena or yard is great for their wellbeing. It does them a world of good to buck around and roll in the mud (check out our frolicking horses’ video in the Gallery section).
Each horse needs adequate space to stand upright in its stable and to lie down and turn comfortably when lying. For this the stables must be large enough, well ventilated, and clean. This is a critical part of stable design and management.
Mucking out the stables to remove wet litter must be undertaken several times a day. In fact, at CRC, this is done even at night! Stables must be safe, free of pests and vermin and a place where the horse can be left totally unsupervised. I am sure some of you must be wondering, “do the horses lie down at night on the cold and damp soil?” Not at all. Stable floors are lined with rubber mats and then with nice soft hay or wood shavings to make them cosy and comfortable for the horses. It is no wonder then that the horses spread themselves out whilst asleep.
Stable Management is a critical part of training at CRC. So, when you ride with us you get an opportunity to groom horses and assist in mucking out the stables. Now isn’t that a real riding experience!