Keeping Stables Cool in Summer

Summer days bring welcome opportunities to enjoy an equestrian outdoor life and the sunshine and higher temperatures make the experience of horse management and care more enjoyable. The vagaries of the British weather inevitably mean that it won’t all be plain sailing and as temperatures could potentially rise above 28°, you may be faced with a challenge of keeping stables cool and horses comfortable.

In our blog, we examine how principles of good design can help make the task easier, and how the decisions you make at the concept stage will make life easier after your horses have taken up residence. We will also look at what you can do to maintain a cool temperature within the stable yard and how to create a comfortable environment as the mercury rises.


Keep your cool with intelligent stable design

Foresight goes a long way when you are designing your stable yard and Scotts’ expert equestrian design team has years of experience in maximising space and layout for best ergonomic and horse welfare results.

When you are planning a stable yard, the decisions you make at the concept stage will influence your capacity to keep stables cool in summer (and warm in winter).


stables in summerA helicopter view

Taking account of the available land and any planning restrictions, your stable yard should be positioned and orientated so that it offers adequate shelter and protection from the prevailing wind direction and direct light. If you have the space, think about a L-shaped or U-shaped yard that offers shelter and ensure that your build includes an adequate measure of overhang outside loose boxes so horses can benefit from the shade.

At the construction stage, think about how you can improve the environment with the addition of sensitive landscaping. Making room for large, leafy plants, trees and bushes will provide natural shade and reduce the ambient temperature in summer. Add a field shelter to your premises so horses can take cover on hot days.

Additional features to help keep stables cool in summer might include insulation, a sprinkler or misting system and roof vents that promote good airflow. Keep the floor dry to prevent slipping and bacterial growth.


Doors and windows

Build in adequate ventilation through your choice of doors and windows. A two-part door such as Scotts’ Newmarket stable door is fitted as standard to all loose boxes. You can also opt to improve ventilation with the inclusion of a rear top stable door which also provides an all-round view to improve socialisation and equine wellbeing. You could select a glazed rear top stable door and take advantage of the daylight even when the door is closed.

Each of Scotts loose boxes are fitted with a standard six-blade louvred laminated glass window in a galvanised frame to stimulate airflow when it’s hot. Add an optional galvanised grille and you can open the blades horizontally to 180° which really helps to bring the temperature down and keeps your stables cool.

Window options for temperature management also include the Scotts’ hopper window and grille. More traditional in style, the hopper is hinged on the lower edge opening outwards at the top. Fitted with toughened glass, Scotts can manufacture these windows at any size to suit your stable yard design and construction. Maximise airflow by opening windows, vents and door for cross-ventilation.


Roof design

Ventilation to help keep stables cool can be incorporated into the roof structure through the inclusion of ridge or cowl vents along the roof ridge. This enables warm aim to rise and escape, preventing the build-up of heat and moisture. Vents and openings above the height of horses’ heads are ideal as they help to avoid draughts. Stable roofs should provide at least 60-90cms of clear space above horses’ ears.


Internal stabling

Scotts has improved the functionality of its internal stables through its partnership with Germany-based family business Hau which manufactures high quality stable fronts and partitions. Stable partitions with the option of ventilation slots in the hardwood timber boards and U-shaped designs provide sight lines and increased airflow that will keep your horses calm and comfortable whatever the temperature.

Why not include a weathervane as a decorative accessory for your stable yard that will also provide a visual signal for changes in wind direction that might herald a heatwave?


Horses and heat

Horses are versatile and adaptable but when the heat is on, they rely on your care and vigilance. Here are some top tips to keep them cool in summer:

  1. Horses need around 55 litres of water a day and will drink more when it’s served at a comfortable temperature of 20°-25°.
  2. Use ice packs or cooling pads in places where horse can stand to cool down.
  3. Think about re-arranging horses’ turnout schedule so they spend time outdoors in the cooler evenings rather than at noon.
  4. Swap your usual rug for one that is lighter in colour with a looser weave to allow air to flow freely.
  5. Apply a sunblock to areas of pale skin on your horse’s skin to prevent sunburn.
  6. Introduce a fan into the stable to keep air circulating in hot weather but make sure it is positioned out of reach of your animals and doesn’t cause an annoying draught.
  7. Douse an overheated animal and don’t scrape off the excess moisture. The heat exchange between the horses skin and the water will reduce its temperature quickly.
  8. Provide a salt lick for horses that might be sweating more than usual to replace lost essential salts.
  9. Use cool bedding materials in summer that don’t retain heat such as straw. Avoid materials that might trap the heat and become too warm.
  10. Monitor your horses more closely when the temperature rises and check for signs of dehydration or heat stress such as heavy sweating, rapid breathing or extreme lethargy.


horses in stable

Style it out

When you are thinking about a new stable yard design or planning a refurbishment, there are so many factors to take into consideration. With horse welfare as your primary consideration, your design needs to promote your animal’s comfort and wellbeing whatever the weather conditions.

Scotts has over 50 years’ experience of designing, producing and installing equestrian buildings and has been manufacturing agricultural structures for over 100 years. Having worked with hundreds of equestrian clients, we know the common pitfalls and can help you to plan ahead to deliver your project with no stone unturned.

Contact our design team and we will talk you through our tried and tested process, supporting you at every step of the way from applying for planning permission to deciding on the accessories and finishing touches that will bring your stable yard project to fruition.

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