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Importance of Ventilation in StablesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 8, 2011

Although many horse owners consider their animals to be companions or pets, design and construction of equine facilities needs to trend more toward livestock than residential design. Compared to our homes, stables have much more moisture, odor, mold, and dust in the air, not to mention the manure deposited within the facility.

The objective of ventilation is to provide fresh air to the horse, which is achieved by providing sufficient openings in the building so that fresh air can enter and stale air can exit. Ventilation is needed to remove heat from the stable in hot weather. In winter, the ventilation goal changes from heat removal to controlling moisture, odor, and ammonia that have built up in the more closed environment of the stable.

Ventilation is primarily driven by wind forces, so good ventilation is achieved by allowing wind to bring fresh air into the building, while drawing out stale air.

A permanent opening along both eaves that allows air entry into each stall will provide fresh air to each horse. Ridge openings are important for stale, warm, humid air to escape.

Good ventilation is ideally designed into the original stable plans. Simple steps might include:

  • Permanent openings at the eaves and ridge for winter moisture removal and summer heat relief. Breathable walls can offer diffuse air entry around the stable perimeter.
  • Windows and/or doors that allow fresh air to enter stalls.
  • Promote interior airflow and improved air quality with open partitions between stalls and no overhead hay storage.