By Anna Hellman

 The goal of ventilation is to provide fresh air to the horses in your barn. Proper ventilation must allow two things; air exchange and air distribution. The air exchange allows for fresh air to enter the barn while stale air also has the ability to escape. Fresh air must be able to reach all the stalls within the barn as well. It is much more natural for horses to be in a slightly colder but airy barn, compared to a cooped-up, airtight facility. Lacking proper ventilation will lead to a variety of preventable equine health issues. In addition, ventilation is a year-round requirement. It is not something that is necessary only in the summer or winter.2015-10-08 11.47.37

A stabled horse requires 1,600 square feet of air. Providing proper ventilation to the stabled horse can present challenges depending on the season of year. While ventilation challenges exist year-round, the challenges listed below seem to be more difficult to address during these specific seasons.

• Removing heat.
Proper ventilation allows the stale, hot air to exit the barn while bringing in cooler, fresh air. This is crucial during hot temperatures when your horses are already at risk for overheating.

• Removing moisture.
By breathing, the average horse gives off about 2 gallons of moisture daily. In the winter when barns are typically closed, removing moisture is a necessity. High moisture levels are can harmful to your horses. Excess moisture allows fungus and bacteria to easily flourish. Additionally, moisture can aggravate arthritis.
• Removing dust.
Dust must be removed to prevent respiratory issues like heaves. Dust is a larger issue in barns that have their stalls circulated around an indoor arena.
• Driving out ammonia.
Ammonia is infamous for having excessively negative impacts. Ammonia must be driven out of barns since it can harm a horse’s eyes and respiratory system.
• Removing odors and airborne pathogens
Through removing odors and airborne pathogens, you can create a healthier living environment for your horse. In addition, it also creates a better working condition for yourself and your employees.
We have established the reasons that good ventilation is necessary. In the next blog, we will look into the ways to create better ventilation in your barn through the use of natural and mechanical ventilation systems.
Cited Sources
Harris, Susan E., and The United States Pony Club, Inc. The United States Pony Clubs Manual of Horsemanship: Advanced Horsemanship HB-A Levels. 2nd ed. Danvers: John Wiley & Sons, 2014. Print.

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