Horizon Structures Presents Series: Basking In The Sun – Not for Everyone

by Nikki Alvin-Smith

Horse barn design for hot weather climates requires special consideration to ensure that equine residents are kept as comfortable as possible both day and night.

While siting your horse barn under the shade of established deciduous trees or high on a hill to catch the errant summer breeze is a great start, there are many structural aspects in the barn build that can enhance the opportunity to keep the interior of the building as cool as possible.

Hot Air Everywhere

Passive and mechanical means of ventilation should be incorporated into the barn structure to assuage the negative effects that ‘sitting’ hot air has on the horse’s ability to cool itself through evaporation and other innate cooling methods.

Passive ventilation may be in the form of gable venting, open soffits that allow airflow, roof ridge vents and cupolas.

The addition of mechanical means to aid the passage of airflow through fans placed in the cupola to draw warm air up through the building, commercial grade fans placed high on side walls or gable ends can also be incorporated. These products may be electrically driven or solar or battery powered.

Fans placed on stall grills may help move the air around at ground level but will not especially increase removal of hot air from the area where the horses reside.

Go With The Flow

Creation of active airflow passageways is essential in order to draw air into and through the building. This will help avoid stagnant air settling in the interior of the barn, that can become hazardous to horse health as it becomes laden with manure odors and the ammonia that may emanate from manure, dusty bedding particles in the stall and other poor air quality issues.

Fresh air can be drawn through the structure with the use of screened windows, extra-large doorways kept open, grilled full front stall doors versus partially grilled in the interior of the barn, grilled upper partitions to stall walls, Dutch doors that offer a second door to each stall and increased height of the structure with an open ceiling to the rafters and no loft.

A bank of windows usually placed above human or horse eye level, that allow the passive flow of fresh air called clerestory windows make a good addition to any barn situated in a hot climate. These windows are easy to incorporate in most barns, though some barn styles, such as the Monitor barn was actually developed in the first place to increase air flow via these fenestrated walls of windows.

Leading construction companies that build their structures nationwide, offer some super customization options for any style horse barn. For example, shedrow or L-Shaped stall barns can be designed with a wall of open grilled space above horse height, allowing breezes to flow across the horses’ backs when stabled.

The higher the interior height of the structure and the more open its interior design to the rafters, the more the hotter air in the building will do what it always does, rise. It is essential to have some way for that hot air to escape the confines of the structure. Otherwise, the exercise and expense in building the barn higher and going without a loft space is somewhat pointless in mitigating the heat buildup in the interior.

The roof can be insulated to help defray the effects of heat radiating on a metal or shingle roof, especially the former.

Remember the direction of the summer cross winds or summer breezes should be considered in the siting of the structure. While this is not always an option due to the confines of a particular site and access issues, it is well worth researching before you begin building if it is a viable option as it makes a world of difference in keeping the barn cool. Of course, this must also be weighed against the direction of the sun crossing the sky, and the winter wind directions with adverse weather issues like snowstorms.

Mitigate Direct Sunlight

The provision of natural light within a horse barn via stall windows and glass or plastic roof panels is a boon for working in a cheerful, light and hopefully airy environment. However, direct sunlight entering the stalls or structure can quickly heat the air in the interior space. Just as sitting in your car on a hot summer day will do.

Obviously there is no option to switch on the air-conditioner in your horse barn (or at least, it’s an expensive and unlikely option for most horse barn owners), so adding solar protection to the windows is a good idea.

The inclusion of an overhang in the design of the barn can also help keep the heat of the sun’s rays away from the interior of the stalls.

Color Me Cool

To use the analogy of sitting in a hot car again, have you noticed how much cooler your vehicle stays in hot weather if the exterior paint color is light in color and reflective, versus dark in color? Similarly, if the interior upholstery and surfaces are light in color versus dark? Looking ‘cool’ in a black colored outfit or vehicle may be fashionable but keeping ‘cool’ in black is harder than it seems! Desert dwellers such as folks that live in the Middle East are much aware of the benefits of light-colored clothing and buildings.

While insulating the barn will help keep the interior cooler during hot days, reflective color choices on the roof and the siding will also keep the barn at a more comfortable temperature. There are many more factors to consider in the color choice you make for your barn including trim color selection and where or if to break color on the sides of the structure etc. But light colors are a great way to go to help cool your barn interior.

It is not easy to manage horse care in any temperature extreme, whether the weather is very hot and humid or is bitterly cold. When you make an informed decision about your horse barn design and incorporate the right features in the beginning of the purchasing process, you and your horses will reap the benefits later.

While the structure designed to house horses in hot weather may have more openings or open sides, also remember the structure must be built to the right specifications to ensure there is no wind lift of roofs, or negative consequences with poor structural member design where heavily windowed walls are not braced correctly.

Don’t be shy to ask for advice from the barn builder you collaborate with on the barn building project. Seek a construction partner that offers flexible options in barn design, so you have a range of styles and budget options to choose from and one that has experience building horse barns in your region. This way you can find the perfect barn fit that will work for your unique situation.

It can and will make all the difference in keeping you ‘cool’.

PLEASE NOTE: AHP members ~ Please share this content without edit. Kindly include URL links included in article, Horizon Structures URL and author’s URL and byline wherever published. Please advise use so we can reciprocate share your publication/posts.

Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high res photos.

About Horizon Structures:  One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –

Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
Content Creator | PR Partner | Seasoned Writer | Brand Builder |
Major Marketer| Journalist|
Blogger| Ghostwriter|
PR Marketing Specialist/Strategist|
British American|
Grand Prix Dressage
Competitor/Coach/ Clinician|

Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.


Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Media Contact: NAS@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com
Tel: 607 434 4470

Photos are available on request.