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Can you build your own horse stable and how much does it cost?

Aug 18, 2023

If you've been contemplating the idea of giving your equine companion a comfortable home, below we go into some detail to outline the feasibility of building your own horse stable and provide information on design considerations and the associated costs.

Is it possible to build your own stable in NZ?

If you are DIY-handy, then yes! With the right council permissions, building materials, and know-how, building a horse stable can be a rewarding project. It can save you money and you can customise your horse shelter to suit your property and requirements.

Getting started: The legalities

Before you get started with sketches and ideas, remember there are local council regulations to consider.

  • Building Consents: Depending on the size and locality of your stable, you might need a building consent. Make sure to check with your local council to understand the specific requirements. New Zealand Building Consent Guide
  • Land Use Permissions: Ensure that your land zoning allows for the construction of stables. Some areas might have restrictions on building structures for livestock or might specify setbacks from property boundaries. 

Cost breakdown: What to expect

While costs can vary based on size, materials, and customisation, here's a basic breakdown for an average-sized stable (3.5m x 3.5m):

  • Foundations and Flooring -  $1,000-3,000: Concrete slabs are a common choice. Drainage is crucial; therefore, consider sloping floors and appropriate bedding.
  • Frame and Walls - $2,000-5,000: Timber is a popular material. Remember to consider ventilation and insulation, especially given New Zealand’s varying climates.
  • Roofing - $1,500-3,500: Durable roofing materials like corrugated iron or composite materials can be chosen.
  • Stall Partitions - $500-1,200 per stall: Choose sturdy materials that can withstand kicks and general wear and tear.
  • Doors and Windows - $500-1,500: Doors and windows allow for extra ventilation and natural light.
  • Electrical and Lighting - $1,000-2,500: Optional for late-night check-ins or early-morning feeds.
  • Miscellaneous Costs: These can include planning fees, contractor costs (if you're not doing it yourself), and additional features (like tack rooms, feed storage, etc.)

On the lower end, you might spend $6,500, but prices can escalate to $30,000 and more for a premium stable subject to size and features.

Saving tips:

  • DIY Where Possible: If you're handy with tools, this can save a significant chunk of your budget.
  • Source Locally: Transporting materials can add up. Check out local timber yards or salvage yards.
  • Plan Ahead: Thoroughly planning will prevent unexpected costs. Always factor in a contingency of around 10-15%.

Building your own horse stable in New Zealand is certainly possible and can be cost-effective compared to buying a pre-made one. While the experience is rewarding, it requires careful planning, understanding the legalities, and a fair budget. Remember always to put your horse's safety and comfort at the forefront of your decisions.

Some Useful Resources:

Disclaimer: Prices mentioned are estimates and can vary based on numerous factors. Always get multiple quotes and plan thoroughly before undertaking such a project.

Horse stable design - key considerations

Designing a horse stable is not just about building a basic shelter; it's about creating a comfortable, safe, and efficient environment for your horse. When it comes to key design features of a good horse stable, here's what you should consider:

  • Ventilation: This is paramount for the health of your horse. Proper ventilation ensures fresh air circulation, reducing moisture and preventing the buildup of harmful ammonia fumes from urine and manure.
  • Lighting: Natural sunlight is beneficial for horses. Incorporating windows and perhaps skylights can help. Additionally, ensure there's adequate artificial lighting for evening care, feeding, and checks.
  • Size of Stalls: The stall should be spacious enough for the horse to turn around, lie down, and stand up comfortably. For most average-sized horses, a 3.5m x 3.5m stall is suitable, but larger horses may require more space.
  • Sturdy Construction: Stables should be built using robust materials, capable of withstanding kicks and the general wear and tear that comes with housing horses.
  • Flooring: The flooring should be non-slip and easy to clean. While many opt for concrete due to its longevity and ease of cleaning, it's essential to cover it with appropriate bedding to provide comfort and absorb moisture.
  • Drainage: Effective drainage is vital, especially in wash areas, to prevent the buildup of water and subsequent muddy conditions. Ideally, slope concrete floors for better drainage.
  • Safe Electrical Systems: Any electrical systems, including lighting and outlets, should be installed out of reach of horses and protected from the elements. It's a good idea to use cages around light fixtures to prevent accidental breakage.
  • Feed and Water Systems: Automatic waterers can provide a consistent fresh water supply, but they should be checked regularly. Feed bins should be placed at a height that's comfortable for the horse and prevents rodents from accessing the food.
  • Door Design: Sliding doors are often preferred over swinging ones, as they save space and reduce potential obstructions in walkways.
  • Windows: If your design includes windows, they should be barred or covered with a sturdy mesh to prevent the horse from breaking through. They also provide additional ventilation.
  • Tack and Feed Storage: An efficiently designed stable often includes a separate area for storing feed, tack, and equipment. This area should be dry, cool, and rodent-proof.
  • Safety: Remove or pad any sharp edges or corners. Ensure that nails, hooks, or any other potential hazards are not within reach of the horse.
  • Fire Safety: Consider installing smoke detectors, keeping a fire extinguisher on hand, and having a clear evacuation plan. Avoid storing hay in the loft directly above the horses, as it's a fire risk.
  • Accessibility: Ensure that the stable is easily accessible for feed deliveries, waste removal, and in case of emergencies.
  • Fencing and Turnout Areas: Horses need exercise and grazing time. Adjacent paddocks or turnout areas with safe and secure fencing are essential.
  • Isolation Stalls: For larger stables or boarding facilities, having an isolation stall can be beneficial for new or sick horses to prevent the potential spread of disease.

Incorporating these key design features will provide a safe, comfortable, and functional environment for your horse, ensuring their well-being and making daily care routines more efficient for you.


Kitsets - a great option for your horse stable

While building a stable from scratch provides a personalised touch, opting for a kitset horse stable has become an increasingly popular choice in New Zealand. Horse stable kitsets are pre-designed, come with all the necessary components, and can be assembled with relative ease. The benefits of choosing a kitset include:

  • Simplified Process: Kitsets come with detailed instructions, removing the guesswork. Everything you need is included, which can streamline the building process.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Often, buying materials in bulk allows suppliers to offer kitsets at a more competitive price than if you were to source each material individually. The more comprehensive the kit, the better the potential savings.
  • Time Savings: Without the need to design from scratch, research material requirements, or find individual components, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to get your stable up and running.
  • Standardised Quality: Kitsets are typically designed to meet specific standards, ensuring a consistent level of quality. This takes away the worry of sourcing inferior or inappropriate materials.
  • Customisation Options: While kitsets come pre-designed, many suppliers offer customisation options, allowing you to tailor the stable to your specific needs or preferences without the complexity of a fully custom build.
  • Permanent and Portable Options: Kitset providers normally offer a range of horse stable options including permanent and portable building structures.
  • Reduced Waste: As these kits are designed to fit together perfectly, there's typically less waste in terms of off-cuts or surplus materials. This not only saves money but is also a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Easier Approval: Some kitset stables might have already been approved or certified by local councils, making the process of obtaining necessary consents or permissions smoother and faster.
  • Professional Support: Many kitset companies offer customer support, helping guide you through the assembly process. Some even provide installation services if you're not keen on the DIY approach.
  • Resale Value: If ever you decide to move or upgrade, some kitset stables are modular and can be disassembled and sold, potentially recouping some of your investment.

In Summary

Choosing a kitset horse stable offers a balanced blend of DIY convenience, cost-efficiency, and quality. While it may not have the same level of personal touch as building from scratch, the time and potential cost savings, combined with the benefits listed above, make it a compelling option for many horse owners in New Zealand.

When making your decision, weigh the pros and cons of both custom builds and kitsets, taking into account your budget, timeline, and desired features. Whatever route you choose, the comfort and safety of your equine companion should always be paramount.

Outpost Buildings is NZ’s leading provider of quality built kitset sheds for lifestyle property owners. We have an excellent range of purpose-designed horse shelters & stables - all built to last. Pricing starts at $6,875 including delivery for a portable small horse shelter.




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