Did this picture make you look twice? We certainly did a double take when we spotted the chocolate-box image on German showjumper Janne Friederike Meyer’s Insta feed.
This lovely grey horse in Switzerland certainly has the best view from a stable window we’ve ever seen. According to Janne, these lucky equines all have their own outside space as well.
In mountainous countries such as Switzerland, these two-tier barn systems are an inspired way of adapting to the surroundings and long ramps lead the horses up to the higher levels. But multi-storey stables are actually more common than you’d imagine.
1. A bird’s eye view
In Hong Kong, where the skyline is a sea of skyscrapers and space is at a premium — and comes at a hefty price — the city’s Happy Valley racehorses are stabled in a three-storey barn and a rubber matted runway leads up to their luxury air-conditioned accommodation, all with stunning cityscape views.
2. Up on the roof
When they were built in the 1970s, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s 63 state-of-the-art air-conditioned stalls, constructed in a massive concrete structure rising to 11 storeys, were the world’s first multi-storey stables. These revolutionary racing stables were built on the Shan Kwong Road, which leads directly to the racecourse below and is surrounded by high-rise apartments. The building even featured this rooftop exercise arena and lungeing yard, and the mafoos (stable hands) were all housed in the higher floors of the building. This was not the place for humans or equines with vertigo.
3. Double-decker stables
Back in the present day, Hong Kong’s Lei Mun riding school, tucked away on the eastern side of the island, is described as “a peaceful heaven for both horses and humans”. The 36 stables are set in a two-storey building on the side of a hill on just 4,000 m2 of land.
4. Equine oppulence
Over in Qatar, six-star horse accommodation is to be expected, but the multi-storey racing and breeding stables near the Souq Waqif in Doha are out of this world, with a grand marble entrance (complete with chandelier).
5. Watching the world go by
Closer to home, double-decker stabling is also nothing new. The London-based Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’s Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge is split over two storeys — The Blues and Royals are housed upstairs while The Life Guards are housed underneath.
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6. A room with a view
Historically, London’s horses were housed around a central courtyard and horses were driven up ramps to the first floor. In this picture from the 1920s, this grey had an outstanding view of St Paul’s Cathedral and the riverfront from his stables near Southwark Bridge. At this time, horses were still integral to the running of the docks and many stables existed close to the river. A decade or so earlier, part of what is now St Mary’s Hospital at Paddington was built by the railway as stables for the road delivery department and concrete ramps and galleries were added so up to 600 horses could be accommodated on the upper floors.
So, next time you’re out and about, stop and take a look above you — you never know where some high-rise horses might be spotted enjoying their bird’s eye views.