thumb|A horse in a box stall
A stable is a building in which livestock
, especially horse
s, are kept. It most commonly means a building that is divided into separate stall
s for individual animals and livestock. There are many different types of stables in use today; the American-style barn
, for instance, is a large barn with a door at each end and individual stalls inside or free-standing stables with top and bottom-opening doors. The term "stable" is also used to describe a group of animals kept by one owner, regardless of housing or location.
The exterior design of a stable can vary widely, based on climate, building materials, historical period and cultural styles of architecture. A wide range of building materials can be used, including masonry
(bricks or stone), wood and steel. Stables also range widely in size, from a small building housing one or two animals to facilities at agricultural show
s or race tracks
that can house hundreds of animals.
The stable is typically historically the second-oldest building type on the farm. The world’s oldest horse stables were discovered in the ancient city of Pi-Ramesses
, in Ancient Egypt
, and were established by Ramesses II
(c.1304-1213 BC). These stables covered approximately 182,986 square feet, had floors sloped for drainage, and could contain about 480 horses.
Free-standing stables began to be built from the 16th century. They were well built and placed near the house because these animals were highly valued and carefully maintained. They were once vital to the economy and an indicator of their owners' position in the community. Relatively few examples survive of complete interiors (i.e. with stalls, mangers and feed racks) from the mid-19th century or earlier.
Traditionally, stables in Great Britain
had a hayloft
on their first (i.e. upper) floor and a pitching door at the front. Doors and windows were symmetrically arranged. Their interiors were divided into stalls and usually included a large stall for a foaling mare
or sick horse. The floors were cobbled (or, later, bricked) and featured drainage channels. Outside steps to the first floor were common for farm hands to live in the building.
For horses, stables are often part of a larger complex which includes trainers, vets and farriers
The word ''stable'' is also used metonymically
to refer to the collection of horses that the building contains (for example, ''the college's stable includes a wide variety of breeds'') and even, by extension, metaphor
ically to refer to a group of people—often (but not exclusively) athletes—trained, coached, supervised or managed by the same person or organisation. For example, art galleries typically refer to the artists they represent as their stable of artists. Analogously, car enthusiast magazines sometimes speak of collectible cars in this way, referring to the cars in a collector's stable (most especially when the metaphor can play on the word association of pony car
Historically, the headquarters of a unit of cavalry
, not simply their horses' accommodation, was known as a "stable".
File:Elfvik farm 02.jpg|Traditional-style barn, built 1802, still used as a horse stable
File:Veoy-church-stable-Molde-No.jpg|A modest stable with a few stalls
File:Stable_in_Panama_-_20060721.jpg|A shed row-style stable at a riding club in Panama
File:Kloster Einsiedeln IMG 2778.JPG|Stables of the Einsiedeln Abbey, Switzerland
File:Stanfordredbarn.jpg|A horse stable, over 100 years old, still in use at Stanford University
File:Ergela međimurskog konja, Žabnik (Croatia) - boksovi.jpg|A row-style stable of the Žabnik Stud in Žabnik at Sveti Martin na Muri, Croatia
*Glossary of equestrian terms
: barns and stables
*Nativity of Jesus
Category:Buildings and structures used to confine animals