Keeping your stables well ventilated is essential when it comes to both the comfort and safety of your horse, and a stable without enough fresh air will need to be immediately addressed – no matter what the season or the temperature outside. A poorly ventilated stable can cause serious illnesses and in some cases can be catastrophic for your horse.
But many horse owners mistakenly assume their stable is well ventilated, without really knowing what this means. Think you might be one of them? Let’s take a look at why you need to take a good look at your ventilation, and how to improve your stable’s air flow.
What is Stable Ventilation, and Why Does it Matter?
Your horse needs fresh air, and a stable that lacks fresh air can lead to heaves, dust allergies and respiratory infections. Moisture gets into the stable when the horse sweats, and this air will go stale if it’s not removed and replaced.
Your ventilation will be slightly different depending on the season. In the summer, the priority should be ridding the stable of heat and allowing cool, fresh air to flow through. On seriously hot days, many horse owners opt to keep their horses in their stables to help them stay cool. This is only an option if your stable is well ventilated and noticeably cooler than the temperature outside.
In the winter, your priorities will change. While heat reduction is no longer necessary, it’s important that your stable is still well ventilated to prevent the build up of moisture, odours and ammonia – which can harm both horse and owner! In both summer and winter, respiratory diseases can occur as a result of poor ventilation – so don’t make the mistake of thinking ventilation doesn’t matter in the colder months.
How to Keep your Stable Well Ventilated
Luckily, keeping your stable well ventilated isn’t too difficult. But just because you have fresh air blowing into your equestrian building doesn’t mean that the ventilation is effective, as many stalls (specifically those inside American style barns) may be cut off from the cool air. An effective ventilation system must remove stale air and replace it evenly with fresh, cool air.
If possible, it’s worth installing ceiling fans in your stable. These will pull hot air towards the roof, remove it and make space for the cooler fresh air to enter. Ventilation cupolas can also be used, and these are usually less expensive than ceiling fans.
The Hunter Stables equestrian buildings can be installed with a porch around the stables. These provide shade just outside the stable which serves to cool the air down before it enters the stable. This allows you to keep your horses in on very hot days to keep them cool, and it has the added benefit of sheltering the stable from very heavy rain and wind during the winter.
Stable doors can also play a huge part in keeping your stables well ventilated. These will help let out hot and moist air during the summer, while keeping the warm air in during the winter. We recommend keeping your stable doors open when you can, at least for a few hours, and after a full muck out it’s always best to leave your stable door open for a while to allow fresh air back in.
We can also design our stables and shelters with windows. These can be opened during the summer months to let the hot air escape, and they’ll make the stable a lot nicer to be in for both you and your horse! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your requirements.
The Right Bedding
Finally, remember not to underestimate the importance of the right bedding. Every horse is different, and what works for some horses won’t suit others. Rubber matting is very popular as not only does it save on the cost of bedding, it means you can use a lot less standard bedding (or some people chose to use none at all!). This will massively reduce the dust that accumulates in your horse’s stable, which can keep your stable better ventilated.
Remember that no matter what bedding you use, the stables should be mucked out regularly to reduce the build up of mould, dust and other fumes.