When you own a horse farm, dust is simply a reality. Horse owners know all too well that dust can get just about everywhere. Whether you’re in the arena, the barn, the trailer, or the stall, your horses are bound to “kick up a little dust”.

In most cases, it’s not a huge problem. If your barn is far away from your home, for example, you might not care about a dusty environment.

But, dust becomes a bigger issue if your barn or arena is close to where you live. Or, if you’re tired of dust getting into your car, your clothes, and just about everything else.

So, what can you do as a horse owner to combat dust on your property? Thankfully, there are steps you can take to manage it. It’s more than just a “cosmetic” problem. Getting rid of excess dust can benefit your horse’s health, as well as your own. With that in mind, let’s look at some manageable solutions for controlling dust on horse properties.

Why is Excess Dust Hazardous?

Dust isn’t just irritating. It doesn’t just cause more laundry to pile up. If it gets out of control on your property, it can cause issues for both you and your horses. Do you find yourself constantly itching your eyes in the barn? That can cause redness and irritation. If you get dirt or dust in your eyes, it could even cause temporary vision problems. Or, you might have an allergy attack that can ruin your contacts.

Allergy flare-ups are only half the battle. Too much dust in the air can create respiratory concerns for humans and animals alike. Hay dust and barn dust can both cause particles to release into the air. When they get in your horse’s airway (or yours), they can cause breathing problems.

Some signs your horses might be struggling with respiratory issues include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Signs of depression
  • Clear discharge in the nostrils or eyes

Not only can too much dust cause these problems in your horses, but it can lead to poor performances in the arena. Plus, if you’re carrying dust in with you from the barn or stalls, you could be exposing everyone in your house to the particles. If someone in your family struggles with allergies or respiratory issues like asthma, you could be putting them at risk.

Keep Things Ventilated

So, what can you do to control dust? First, keep things as ventilated as possible. You might think that’s easy for a barn that is exposed to outside elements every day. But, it might take more than that for proper, full ventilation.

For example, how much fresh air are you bringing into the stalls? Keep windows, doors, and air vents open whenever possible, even in the winter months. Even a small opening will allow stale air to get out. In the summer, ventilation also allows fresh, cool air to come in. In the winter, it removes dust, moisture, and other airborne pathogens that could make your horses sick.

It’s also a good idea to avoid using materials that “trap” dust. Carpet, for example, can trap a lot of dust, dirt, and allergens. You might not have carpet in the barn. But, if your home is near the barn and your floors are carpeted, you might want to rethink them. You could be bringing in dust only for it to get trapped in the floor.

Alternative flooring solutions like hardwood or tile are much better. They won’t trap dust, so you can keep things clean and keep air flowing in your home.

Keep Things Clean

Speaking of keeping things clean, it should be a top priority everywhere your horses go. Again, dust in a horse barn, arena, or stall is inevitable. But, space doesn’t have to be dirty to be dusty. There are plenty of things you can do to combat dust and keep a more organized property.

For example, choose a less-dusty bedding option for your horses. Pelleted bedding will trap less dust than hay. You can also go with rubber floor mats, which won’t collect much dust at all. Speaking of hay, it should be stored separately. Keep it in a different place than the stables. Hay is a major contributor to stall dust. By keeping it somewhere besides the barn loft, you’ll reduce the amount of dust in your barn and around your horses.

Make sure you keep your horses outside when you do a deep clean of their stalls. Cleaning and organizing regularly will keep them happy and healthy. But, it’s crucial to use the right products. Green cleaning products that are safe for animals will keep them from getting sick. Products that contain harmful chemicals or irritants can cause problems of their own. Consider using eco-friendly products in your home, too. They tend to be:

  • Less harsh on the skin
  • Less likely to trigger allergies
  • Cheaper than traditional cleaning products
  • Useful in helping items last longer

Once you’ve cleaned the stalls and given your horses time to have some fresh air, wait a bit longer. Cleaning and mucking out stalls can cause dust to kick up. You should let all of the dust settle before bringing your horses back in.

Dusty will always be a part of horse properties. But, there are ways to manage it. Keep these tips in common to keep your horses, yourself, and anyone on your property safer and healthier.

Leave a Reply