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.
A good harness-room is an indispensable adjunct to every stable, and, where a number of hunters are kept, a saddle-room also is is necessary. These should be placed as centrally as possible to the whole group of stalls and loose-taxes. One of these rooms is often a suitable place for the stairs giving access to a man's room above, and to the range of lofts. There should always be a fireplace, which is best fitted with a small range containing a large boiler to supply the hot water, which is so often required in stable-work. By continuing this boiler round both sides, as well as at the back of the fire, a very large supply will be always available. In small establishments the harness-room sometimes adjoins the coach-house, and a slow-com bustion stove is placed in an open niche between the two. This may be sufficient to keep both places fairly warm and dry, but is of little use to give a supply of hot water or for cooking. A harness-room may also with convenience contain a washing-sink, unless there is a separate cleaning-room, when it is better there. The tap over the sink will often he of service if the yard-cock is temporarily stopped by frost or other causes. The walls of harness-rooms should if possible be boarded, both for dryness, and for the facility of securing pins, hooks, etc.
The furniture of a harness-room is now of infinite variety. Formerly it was entirely of wood. and tended often to be somewhat clumsy, but a combination of wood and iron has the advantage, both in strength, lightness, and appearance. Harness being almost entirely of leather, and much exposed to damp, both from the weather and the horse's body, requires when hung up to have the parts separated from each other, and open to a free circulation of air, in order to ensure rapid drying and to prevent mildew. It is impossible within the limits of our space to describe all the varieties of brackets for harness, saddles, collars, bridles, girths, whips, bits, reins, etc. Figs. 736, 737, 738, 739, and 740 will give some idea of the principles which guide the manufacture and use of such articles. A contrivance for airing the inside of a saddle before the harness-room fire is shown in Fig. 741. This when not in use will fold up, and can be hung against the wall. A saddle-and-harness-cleaning horse, which combines a press and drawers for horse-clothing and cleaning articles, with provision for opening out the saddle-horse to form a table, may be found very useful where space is confined.
Fig 736. Pad Bracket for Single Harness.
Fig. 738. - Saddle bracket fur Lady's Saddle.
Fig 739 -Collar holder.
There are also many other conveniences, if not requisites, for the harness-room, such as brush and sponge drainers, chamois-leather and brush boxes, wall-brackets to hold carriage-lamps when not in use, Ac.
In large establishments it may be found convenient to have a spare harness-room for the reception of articles not in daily use, as in the case of town or country houses occupied by the family in turn for a part only of the year. This will apply especially to country houses in which there may be a large influx of guests during the hunting season. Particular care should be taken of the warming of such a room, as leather and steel goods, when laid away, are very susceptible to damp. In regard to this, it may be borne in mind that stagnant air. even when warm, is more conducive to mildew than much colder air when freely circulated, and therefore that attention to ventilation is of great import-ance, both in a harness-room and coach-house.
The fodder or provender room is indispensable where a large number of horses are kept. It should be fitted with bins overhead for corn, etc., and a chaff-cutter. It is desirable that the corn-shoot and hay-shoot should discharge into this room instead of into the stable. These shoots are now made to measure the exact quantity of an ordinary feed for a horse. In large stables there may also well be an extra house for the storage of roots.
The coach-house need not be closely adjoining the harness-room, though in small establishments it may be convenient to place it so. In depth it should be about the same as the stables, i.e. eighteen feet in the clear. The length will depend upon the number and class of vehicles to be accommodated. Although few carriages even with lamps exceed seven feet in width, the doors should never be less than eight feet wide, and are better made nine feet or over. There is a great convenience in making the doors to slide, as when hung with hinges they are liable to be blown about by the wind. This can be accomplished by a little manipulation of the piers, and the sliding doors are generally hung with sheaves at the top to run along an iron bar. There should be small rollers at the bottom to reduce the friction. The floor may be laid with smooth flags, either natural or artificial, or concrete, but in this case especial care should be taken of the quality of the cement and sand used, as concrete may be very good or very bad according to the materials of which it is made. Asphalt is sometimes used, but is liable to become soft in extremely hot weather. Tiles are not desirable, from the risk of breakage. A coach-house should always have the means of being warmed. As before suited, in small places it sometimes adjoins the harness-room, and a slow-combustion stove is placed in a recess in the division wall between, but in larger places a separate means of heating by hot-water pipes will be necessary, and, as in the case of the harness-room, some provision should be made for ventilation.
Fig. 741. - Saddle airer.