Proper ventilation in horse barns is an important aspect of maintaining your horse’s respiratory health. Especially during the winter months, it is tempting to close all windows and doors to keep the barn cozy and warm. That is a common mistake and a poorly ventilated barn is stuffed with moist air that’s rich in mold spores and ammonia toxins. Maintaining a steady air flow will help to maintain the air quality and avoid harmful dust and other particulates building up in the air. It will also keep ammonia fumes away from sensitive horse noses.
If the temperature inside your barn is more than 10 degrees higher than outside the barn or if condensation forms on the inside of the windows, your barn is not well-ventilated and more airflow is needed.
Barns are supposed to provide shelter from strong wind gusts and precipitation. While windows and doors should be closed during heavy rain/snow or winds, horses do not need protection from the cold air itself and are much sturdier than humans. Horses stay warm by eating and digesting quality hay and need sufficient forage to keep cozy, in addition to their winter coat. If they are clipped or don’t grow a natural winter coat, sheets and blankets are a better choice than sacrificing the air flow, even during colder temperatures.
Tanja Schnuderl is the Director of International Services with The Equine Expert LLC, a multi-discipline equine expert witness and consulting firm with expert equestrians offering legal expert witness and consulting services in court cases and legal matters. Tanja is an expert on Barn Management and Horse Behavior. She was the barn manager at several boarding facilities including a modern 20-stall boutique barn close to Washington DC and a private 8-stall training facility of a local FEI Dressage rider before taking over as Director of The South Carolina Equine Park, an established multi-discipline equine facility which hosts about 30 horse competitions each year. She has established her own equine appraisal company, Sigma Equine LLC. Tanja grew up in Germany and was a paralegal for many years. For more information on Tanja Schnuderl email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theequineexpert.com