Barn Upgrades for Horse Health

By Kim F. Miller

BarnManager is the Official Barn Management Software of US Equestrian.

If you are building a new barn or planning a remodel, one important factor to keep in mind is the importance of ventilation. Fresh, circulating air is the essential element veterinarians urge when planning barn upgrades that most affect our horse’s health and well-being. Designs and management strategies to reduce airborne dust and ammonia go hand-in-hand with prioritizing ventilation.

Minimizing injury risks and creating a suitable place for the veterinarian and other care providers to help your horse rank highly, too.


Even the most meticulously kept stable is loaded with tiny, respirable particles that impact our horses’ vulnerable respiratory systems. Forage is the healthiest diet foundation for most horses, but it’s also one of the biggest sources of these invisible bits of organic matter that trigger irritation and inflammation in the respiratory tract.

Photo courtesy of US Equestrian

Traditional bedding is right up there with hay as a source of organic dust. Ammonia is another inescapable element in the stable and it’s harmful — for your horse and for you.

Whatever the airborne particles consist of, ventilation keeps them moving along rather than settling in the horse’s breathing zone.

If you are building a new barn, you’ll want to maximize natural breezes by positioning the barn and the breezeways in their predominant path. Make those aisleways wide — ideally, at least 14 feet — to maximize airflow intake, and choose ceiling heights and air exits to harness the tendency of warm air to rise.

Installing more windows and/or doors is your best option in barn remodels and upgrades. The more places air can enter and exit, the better. Horses in stalls with two doors or windows, for example, benefit from living in an airflow corridor.

Continue reading on US Equestrian to learn more about how ambient temperature, fans, eliminating dust, flooring, safe spaces, and injury reduction are all important factors in barn building design.