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Discussion on Heated barns bad for horse?

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Penny Wahlgren
New Member
Username: Pendanw

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Sunday, Oct 17, 2004 - 9:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've heard people say that having a horse in a heated barn can be bad for them but they don't clarify why. I'm considering boarding my horse outside and then using the indoor arena at times. I realize that the horse will have to be completely dry before putting him back outside. Is there anything else I should be worried about if I decide to pasture board him? Also would it be better if I decided to board him in a stall. The farm has in-floor heat and is cleaned daily. I haven't noticed the ventilation system but I'm sure it's perfect.

Thanks
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11366
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Oct 18, 2004 - 8:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Penny for a whole list of winter concerns including the concern with a closed heated barn see, Care for Horses Particular Situations & Procedures Wintertime: Caring for Horses in the Cold.
DrO
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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 499
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, Oct 18, 2004 - 4:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, Penny,
I have never seen a heated barn, but I guess they'd keep doors, windows and roof ventilation shut in order to keep the heat in, which would not make for a pleasant or healthy environment for a horse.
Now theoretically speaking, as, I say again, I have never seen a heated barn, is in-floor heating a really good idea ?
I've grown up with the idea of doing whatever possible to keep those hooves and legs cool.
Wouldn't a heated floor dry the hooves ? Wouldn't the heat make a wonderful environment for fungi, bacteria and such ? Or am I paranoid ? DrO ?
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 430
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004 - 1:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I know of some heated barns in the northern part of the mid-west, but I've never heard of one with a heated floor. Is it like the heated mats in kennels? Even tho' there are heated barns, I've always read and heard they were unhealthy for the horses for many different reasons.

Why not give your horse a partial clip job (the parts that are the most apt to get sweaty) and keep him outside and blanketed?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11367
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004 - 7:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Christos,
To be honest I don't know enough about the design of this thing to comment on the foot and legs issue and concerning the air and ventilation we cover it in the article referred to above.

So what would be an undesirable floor temperature from the horses stand point? Hmmm...we could only guess .... anything above normal body temperature is more likely to be undesirable. And yes, the warmth would promote the growth of microbes and mold spores.
DrO
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Helen Weedon
Member
Username: Cara2

Post Number: 93
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004 - 8:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

For goodness sake, horses have evolved over thousands of years to cope with the cold and wet -- its called fur!! I get so fed up with seeing stabled horses with huge duvet rugs on despite the fact they aren't clipped (a rug should replace what has been removed) and getting bucketfuls of hard feet "to keep them warm" despite the fact that they exist in a humid fug due to poor stable design. A nice thick bed and plenty of fibre is what they need and if necessary a light blanket. My horse's stable has 12 feet of headroom and the wall facing out to the weather is only 5 feet high so the ventilation is brilliant but she is always snug and warm. No coughs or snotty noses for us. Anyone who works in an overheated office will tell you how rapidly germs and stomach bugs sweep through the staff.
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Nadia F
Member
Username: Nadia

Post Number: 32
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004 - 9:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I used to be in a barn where the floor (concrete aisles) was heated (not exactly sure how it worked). The gas was turned on each winter and was on through early spring. But it was a very low heat - it made the barn about 45 degrees, maximum. It just took the chill out of really cold winters. The arena didn't have heat, though. You felt like you were riding in a freezer. Could this type of heat be harmful?
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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 245
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004 - 11:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My 2 worth here. I think barns are heated more for the comfort of humans than horses. The infloor heating is kind of a one shot deal before you lay the concrete. Radiant heat vs forced air heat. My biggest concern would be the ventilation system and just how efficient it is and cleanliness is important too. No more frozen water buckets to deal with either. The farrier will also appreciate a warm place to work also.
Penny is there a good shelter out in the pasture and is it cleaned on a regular basis? Good water supply that you don't have to worry about freezing? Good quality hay that is free of mold and dust?
If it were me in this situation, I would opt for the pasture board provided the outdoor requirements are met. At least you have the option of bringing your horse in when necessary.

Susan B.
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Colleen Goolsby
Member
Username: Goolsby

Post Number: 265
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004 - 2:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Penny
I would consider what your horse is accustomed to and try not to make any extreme changes. What are the conditions where he is boarded now? Mine are on pasture 24/7 all year with available shelter. As others have stated plenty of hay and water are important. As far as a stall, again, what is he accostum to. Mine have open stalls with straw bedding, but seldom us them during the winter.
Colleen
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Ella
Member
Username: Miamoo

Post Number: 53
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 - 8:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi all,

My 2 cents worth. At a local race track where racing began in February and extended through December (New England winters are very cold),a new facility was built that included a very large heated barn (to about 40 degrees). All the horsemen hurried to move into it for comfort and warmth. Before the first winter was out they were hurrying to move out because of all the sickness the horses were passing around. I don't know if it was because of the lack of fresh air in a place where they were trying to keep heat in or if the virus' just flourished because there was no sub 0 weather to kill them off, probably a combination of both, but it was not a place horsemen were pleased with.

I don't think a heated indoor ring is a problem - lucky you to ride warmer. Your horse would just have a tendancy to sweat more. A bit more work for you to cool the horse out.

Ella :-)
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