Cold weather came early this year; and it will probably get even colder. It is important to ensure the horses stay nice and warm and cozy in the barn; however, more harm than good can come from an improperly heated barn.
First, ventilation must be taken into consideration. If the barn is closed up too tight, ammonia and bacterial odors can build up. This buildup of ammonia and bacteria can cause respiratory disorders.
Next, humidity must be taken into consideration. When the barn is closed up, humidity can build up and also cause bacteria to grow and nitrogen to accumulate. Nitrogen – an odorless gas – also causes respiratory disorders. Exhaust fans can help circulate the air in a humid barn.
Finally, temperature must be taken into consideration. Ideally for humans, the temperature should not be below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range can be expensive and can cause horses to shed prematurely, however. Taking horses out to an exercise area or pasture after keeping them in a warm, toasty barn all night is not a good idea when it is extremely cold outside.
The best way to keep horses warm during cold weather is to keep a barn temperature that is comfortable for the horses. Blanket the horses only if they need it. Barn workers should resist the urge to keep the barn toasty. They should wear protective winter wear instead.