Anyone who keeps horses knows that these animals are expensive to maintain. They can easily get sick or injured, leading to costly vet bills. Providing a healthy environment is a sound investment. Besides ensuring that each animal has sufficient room, pay attention to other aspects of the infrastructure—including lighting and ventilation. Here’s a look at what experts say about getting this right.
Providing Fresh Air
Pennsylvania State University provides an in-depth review of the ventilation requirements for housing horses. Why is this important?
The accumulation of airborne contaminants can cause ill health:
- Mold (from excessive moisture)
- Waste products (ammonia from urine and pathogens from manure)
- Excessive dust from hay, bedding, and feed
It’s best to provide a mix outdoor and indoor air throughout the year. Equines can tolerate a wide range of temperature conditions, so there’s no need to make the building air-tight. Ventilation requires both the exchange of air from inside to outside and the distribution of fresh air throughout the stable. It’s not enough to have fans moving stale air around the facility or have a breeze blowing down the main aisle. Keep each stall well ventilated with fresh air.
Aim for four to eight air changes per hour. Proper building design encourages this rate of air exchange. Design your building with openings along the side wall and the roof to provide natural ventilation. This design helps warm, moist air escape and allows wind to bring in fresh air.
Lighting Your Stable
Audrey Pavia, writing for Stable Management, provides good advice for lighting an agricultural building. Like humans, horses thrive with natural sunlight. Plus, natural light cuts down on electricity costs. Incorporate side panels and skylights made of translucent acrylic or polycarbonate to allow light inside. If possible, position these panels so they aren’t hit by the midday sun (to prevent excessive heat buildup).
What about artificial lighting? Place supplemental lighting where it will help your team get their work done safely. For example, overhead lights are fine for sweeping and maintaining the barn. However, lighting from the side is more useful for tasks that involve for maintaining a horse’s feet or caring for an animal that is lying down.
More lighting tips:
- Choose ballasts that can withstand a range of temperatures.
- Don’t use incandescent lights since they are very hot and might start a fire.
- Choose LEDs for energy efficiency over the long term.
- Select bulbs with guards/cages so they are less likely to be broken.
- Place motion sensors for the lighting system where they won’t be activated by the animals.
When you keep these factors in mind, your equestrian architecture will provide the best environment for your livestock and your team.
Peak Steel has the right experience to design and fabricate high-quality, cost-effective stables for your horses. Explore our agricultural building portfolio here.