Enclosed Stalls Can Be Kept Cool
Like most animals, horses become stressed and uncomfortable when they get too hot. In fact, a fully-grown horse working hard in very hot conditions can lose up to four gallons of sweat an hour! A horse at rest won’t lose that much liquid, of course, but when it’s hot, your horse can suffer, especially in an enclosed stall. However, there are ways to help keep your horses cool and comfortable.
Like us humans, horses can acclimatize to hot conditions, but it can take three weeks or more in most cases to become fully acclimatized, and the hotter the environment, the longer full acclimatization will take. Rather than put your horse through a lengthy period of getting used to uncomfortable conditions, it is better to improve the conditions from the start.
Putting air conditioning into barns is one possibility, but the cost is likely to be prohibitive, making the whole idea impractical. A better solution could be the installation of a ceiling fan, or several ceiling fans, if the barn is a large one. Installation costs will be much lower, and ongoing costs will be much more affordable too.
Ceiling fans do not cool the air, of course. They circulate the air, helping to equalize hot and cooler spots. The circulation of air also encourages a sweating animal to experience evaporative cooling, and this is one of the means of cooling for horses. Most animals, such as dogs, for example, do not have sweat glands throughout their skin. Dogs pant in an attempt to stay cool in hot weather, which is a not very effective means of keeping cool. Horse sweat, just like we do.
Sweating involves the release of liquid from the body to the outside of the skin where it evaporates into the air. The process of evaporating, changing from a liquid to a gas, requires energy, and the energy is taken from the skin in the form of heat. This is why we sweat; it helps to keep us cool. When the air is still and not moving, it is difficult to maintain evaporative cooling, but when the air is moving, even if that air is hot, then evaporative cooling can take place much more readily.
Therefore, a ceiling fan can actually be a more effective means of keeping horses cool and comfortable, compared to air conditioning. It is a much more natural action that provides real relief for the animals. Ceiling fans are easy and inexpensive to install with subsequent low running costs. Of course, all ceiling fans are not alike; some ceiling fans are more efficient and more suitable than others.
The original Windmill Ceiling Fans Company produce fans in the original windmill design. This is a multi-bladed fan which operates much more efficiently than a three-blade, or even four-blade, fan. Its efficiency mean that it only needs to rotate at much slower revolutions that other fans, typically no more than 45 rpm – the same speed as an old 7-inch vinyl single record, if you’re old enough to remember that. Not only will a windmill ceiling fan keep your horses cool and comfortable, but they will blend right in with your barn decor too.
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