Carl Hester’s UK Yards

29 Aug 2013, by harrisonlane in Blog

An Interview with NZ Equestrian Vanessa Way, on Carl Hester’s Yards in Gloucestershire, UK.

Carl Hester, MBE, purpose built his UK yards, stealing ideas and inspiration from many of the top yards he had visited over the years.  Since they are now home to many incredibly successful mounts and riders, such as 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Valegro, we figure he may have got one of two things right!  So when the opportunity presented itself to quiz New Zealand Equestrian Vanessa Way about her time there and the design and construction features of Carl’s yards, we couldn’t resist.  Here’s some of what we learned:



Carl Hesters's UK Yards

Carl Hester’s UK Yards in Gloucestershire

The stable boxes were all brick and approx. 4m x 4m but some were longer to fit the overall design of the building.  Haynets were attached to loops on the wall at night and the horses were fed on the floor in corners during the day.

The concrete floors had fitted rubber on top, doors were simply secured with basic hinges and lighting was just your regular light bulbs.

They did have automatic self-filling water bowls, and windows that could open in the back of each stable box for airflow and the comfort of the horses.  These were latched at night and in bad weather.



As with the stable boxes, the floor of the wash bay was concrete topped with rubber, with sloping rubber banks leading to open drainage at the back of the tieups.

Hot and cold running water was an important feature, the horses loved the hot water and the heat lamps, but unfortunately the cold water froze in England’s cold, yucky winter!

The cross ties were approx. 2m wide.

Valegro at Carl Hester's Yards

Valegro at Carl Hester’s Yards

The yard is quite open which meant the horses could always see other horses, and this kept them more than happy on a social level!

The mucking out gear was kept in a big hay and feed shed which had an attached laundry.

The groom’s flat was directly over the horses, which at times drove me crazy – as if you had a naughty noisy windsucker or kicking horse you were really conscious of them being there.  But it had other benefits, such as when you had problems like a horse getting cast, etc.


Tack Room

The tackroom was fully insulated, with wood panels and a little kitchen.  It had a window and two doors – one to the teaching studio and one to the tieups.



The set up was all very horse friendly.  I loved the tie ups as they made saddling up easy and efficient.  Hot water has spoilt Arvan for life as he does not do cold water washes any more.

Basically the building design meant you could stay under cover most of the time if the weather was bad, which was great!  The horse manure skip was deadly with the ramp and was my least favourite feature due to a couple of ice related falls.

Vanessa Way with NRM KH Arvan

Vanessa Way with NRM KH Arvan, photo courtesy of Fairfax Media

Our Summary

While it seems there are always a few things that could be improved on, we enjoyed learning a little more about how good stable design can improve the wellbeing and comfort of the horses as well as the people working with them.
If we can be of assistance in working some of these design features into your next equestrian project, do not hesitate to call.

Contact Laura Daly, Design Consultant & Director, Harrison Lane on 021 722 578

Email Laura:


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