This section is from the book "The Principles And Practice Of Modern House-Construction", by G. Lister Sutcliffe. Also available from Amazon: How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.
Some of the materials used in the construction of stables will be treated upon in the detailed description of the several parts. With regard to the walls and roof, there is no special material that is better than another; whatever most harmonizes with the dwelling-house, or is most charaeteristic of the locality, is suitable. Brick, stone, or even wood may be selected. Both stone and brick walla can be easily kept dry by building them with a hollow space in the centre. For the roof, slates are now generally the cheaper, tiles the more picturesque.
A good stable should be eighteen feet wide inside, and each stall should be six feet wide. The divisions of the stalls should be at least nine feet long, which will leave nine feet lor the passage behind the horses, or, if the stall-division is ten feet, as is better, the passage will be eight feet wide. A stable for carthorses may be sixteen feet wide, but the width of the stalls should not be less than six feet; narrower stalls are often made, but for large horses this width is indispensable. A good size for a loose-box is about twelve feet by ten, but boxes often vary much in size according to convenience in planning, or the caprice of the owner. The stable of olden time was a very dirty place, and amongst many stable attendants ideas and habits in consonance therewith too often still linger. In the modern stable, however, strict cleanliness is almost as much a desideratum as in a hospital ward. Everything should be clean, bright, and pleasing to the senses. The gentleman's horse is often a nervous and fidgety creature, and every part of the fittings should be so constructed as to reduce the possibility of his doing himself an injury to a minimum. There should be no sharp or projecting angles in the stall-divisions or manger.
The stall-divisions are usually fitted with cast-iron posts, which may be bolted to a stone block, or provided with a hollow base, which can be filled with and bedded in concrete, as shown in Fig. 728. A ball or other rounded top is best for safety, and a very pleasing effect may be produced by having the ball of polished brass. The divisions should be of wood, grooved and tongued, and l 1/2 to 2 inches thick, sliding into a grooved iron sill below, and a curved or ramped iron capping above. A portion of the sill should be fitted, as shown in Fig. 729, with a shifting-piece to allow the woodwork to slide in. for the convenience of replacing, when damaged; when the shifting-piece is replaced, it holds all secure. The divisions may be pitch-pine or oak, but a very handsome and strong division is sometimes made of teak, rubbed smooth and oiled. Many divisions have an intermediate rail, in which case the portion between this rail and the ramped upper rail may be of round iron bars, or iron trellis-work, which gives a much lighter appearance, and facilitates the circulation of air. It is better, however, that the parts immediately beside the horses' heads should be filled solid, so that the horses when feeding cannot Bee and possibly disturb each other. Another advantage of the central rail is that it may be made hollow to contain a sliding bar. which can be drawn out at night and the end secured to a staple or socket in the wall. This closes the passage behind, so that, if a horse breaks loose during the night, he will be safely confined to his own stall. A typical division is shown in Fig. 730, which also shows in section one of Musgrave's patent ventilators over the horse's head.
The divisions for loose-boxes are generally made of the same character as the stall-divisions, with boarding below and trellis-work above, which, in the same way as for the stalls, should be closed alongside the manger, etc The latch of the door should be made of such a form that the horse cannot by any means "nose" it open. Loose-box doors may also be made to slide, but the special advantage is not apparent. A simple method of forming a loose-box is by continuing one or both end stalls back to the wall, filling the space by a door and short length of stall-division. This is economical, but has the disadvantage of leaving no thoroughfare in the case of a continuous range.
Fig. 728. - "Self-fixing" Base for Cast Iron Stall pillar.
Fig. 729. -Stall-division with Shifting piece instill for taking out and replacing the Woodwork.
The lower parts of the walls of a stable are best lined with boarding, and the appearance is improved if this is secured into half-rails of iron at the top and bottom to match the divisions. In a high-class stable, a portion at least of the space above the boarding should be lined with glazed tiles, and the tiles should be continued to the same level above the mangers. The tiling is impervious to moisture, and being on that part of the wall upon which the hone breathes, or with which his body comes in contact, is easily kept clean and is not liable to decay. The wall-boarding below the tiles prevents the horse coming in contact with the rough surface of the wall, and is less easily damaged than plaster. The tiles are made of various colours, of which some light tint should be selected in preference to white. Dark tiles are not to be recommended. The upper part of the walls, if not tiled, may be plastered. Though more expensive, Keene's, or some other hard-setting cement, is for hygienic reasons to be preferred, but ordinary plaster can now be cheaply coated with Duresco or several other preparations, which admit of being washed or renewed at a comparatively slight cost.
Fig 730 - .Section through Stable and Hay-loft, knowing showing and Ventilation.
a. surface drain or gutter; b. stench-trap; c, glased pipe sewer; D, ventilation-pipe from sewer: E, patent waste-chamber of manger, with movable waste-pipe into the gutter. a. air-inlet; H. air-outlet grate; J, valve for regulating outlet of air; K. fool-air shaft. L, extract-cowl.