Mr. John Scott’s Stables in Cheltenham 1843

Most racehorses at this time were kept in stalls but loose boxes were beginning to be used but mainly for foaling. In 1843, Mr. Scott of Cheltenham had stables built with rows of loose boxes. This magnificent building shows a completely new design with the loose boxes around the edge of a specifically designed house. They were twelve foot square with front and rear opening to the boxes, for cleaning and feeding with bars between the boxes so that the horses could all see each other. ‘The boxes are paved with hard bricks and drained. The central viewing area is as spotless as a house’s drawing room.’ Annals of Sporting & Fancy Gazette, July to Dec 1822, (p 151) The idea of the loose box was quite new as previously horses had to be accustomed to standing in stalls as this was the only accommodation available while they were travelling to the races. It was noticed that the practice of leaving horses loose was most beneficial, they could be fed a light diet of hay carrots and a few oats and they could remain in the boxes for up to two months maintaining excellent health without any other exercise. A horse tied in a stall with limited movement is going to require more exercise.